Coffee Spills

What I hear and see and think about at the coffee shops I patronize.
Brisk. Fresh. Well-balanced. Occasional nutty and bittersweet overtones.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I knew him when

I've been seeing him for months at the coffee shop--always reading his notebook. So today I asked him what he was studying. Turns out it is his novel--his first, and he's checking and rereading before it is submitted. "What's it about?" I asked. "It's a suspense-mystery," he said. Probably not much mystery left by now--for him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Two styles of fathering

There are two stunning, well dressed fathers who come into the coffee shop in the morning before school each with a young, elementary school aged son. Both men are trim and buff, carefully groomed and have beautiful white hair, one being in his forties, the other maybe early fifties. But oh what a difference in their parenting style.

Dad #1 reads the Columbus Dispatch while his son fidgets, eats his muffin, and looks out the window. Dad doesn't converse, chit-chat or lecture. When he finishes the paper, and the boy most of his muffin, the father barks out an order: "Hurry up; brush your teeth." The little guy BRUSHES HIS TEETH AT THE TABLE! He spits the saliva onto the tray, and daddy and son leave.

Dad #2 and son talk sports--NBA, NFL, college--doesn't matter, it's mostly sports. But the little guy can hang in there with dad and not get lost in scores and charts. Occasionally I've even seen the dad going over spelling words with the boy and heard dad ask him what is on his agenda for the day.

Good dental hygiene is important and will put this boy on the path to good health. Learning how to banter about sports is a step towards male bonding and networking. But I must say, if I were a kid, I'd prefer dad #2.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


some horse sense. It was very dark and foggy when I left for the coffee shop this morning about 6 a.m. The schools were already announcing delays. I slowed to about 20 mph on the 35 mph street because it was like driving in pea soup.

But the biker-lady was at the coffee shop wearing her black hat, dark red coat, and black stretch pants with nothing reflective on her clothing, and only a little motion powered battery on her bicycle fender. She was munching her carrots and reading the newspaper, as I took these notes. She is probably about 50, or maybe just a skinny 45, and glared at me when I asked if she had biked there on such a foggy day.

Someday she'll be hit by a motorist who didn't see her along the side of the road. Maybe that motorist will be talking on her cell phone, or restraining a cranky child, or reaching for a cup of coffee as she moves along at 30-35 mph on city streets, wet, slick and dark. Then there will be cries of outrage from the safety experts.

They might be able to pass legislation on auto emissions, but it sure is hard to legislate common sense for joggers, bicyclers and motorcyclists who share the road with 2 ton vehicles.

Photo by Amy.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Prose Poem

This was an assignment for Poetry Thursday--write a prose poem. So here's the background, and it is cross-posted at Collecting my thoughts.

We had a mini-blizzard (really hit northwest and south of Columbus) with snow, then hours of sleet, and then more snow overnight. Most schools and many businesses closed. So going to the coffee shop Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. was a challenge just to back out of my drive-way; it was dark and cold and I had the streets to myself. I drafted this there, and rewrote and revised at home. The more I revised, the less prose-like it became. If you’re not a regular reader here, it’s just about a coffee shop on a snowy day. Now here’s the poem:

Come sit by the fire with me. Sit by the gas flames rising from fake logs. Warm us bright blaze in the dark by the pseudo-bricks as we tip Styrofoam cups with plastic lids, sip black brew browned with cream factory made. Animate brain cells, stir up stiff tongues tropical beans, red and bright when picked by dark hands, traveling on tankers guided by pale hands to bring us warmth and happy thoughts, brown after roasting in mills and bursting to dark beans, trucked by many hands along concrete interstates and asphalt by-ways to loading docks at dark coffee shops. Come sit by the fire with me in the dark, tasting warmth, watching the snow fall on icy lines--pity the bird toes--sending power to heat water piped and purified, dripping hot in the pot held by ethnic hands that fill my cup which warms my nose by the fire where we sit.

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