It is probably warm enough to head to Towl Park, but Archetype Coffee House calls and I must answer. The chai. It is all about the chai.
It's crowded but I find a place to sit. The people here fascinate me. As I'm waiting for my chai, a tall, lanky man with hair to his waist sidles up to the counter to get a coffee refill on his way out. He and I goggle at the pastries offered in the display case. He tells me that the pecan scones rock but that he's drawn to a maple cinnamon tart.
"Whadya think?" he asks. I ponder. I tell him that while the tart looks delicious, the hard crystal sugar on top of the scones would seal the deal for me. He nods solemnly, agrees. He purchases the pecan scone. It comes in a little bag. He opens it, takes out the scone and breaks off a generous chunk.
"For you, milady," he says. "For your sage advice."
I take the piece of scone and smile as my teeth sink into the hard crystal sugar topping.
"Good, yes?" he asks. I nod. Yes. Good. YES. Oh, yes! He smiles and takes his leave, giving me the peace sign. I take my chai and head for my table, humming happily as I inhale before tasting it. The smell of chai means many things to me. Woodsmoke in October. Evergreen trees in December. Mown lawns in July. The first sip of chai, if properly prepared, should burn just a bit. Chai has a sting to it. Nothing choke-worthy, but a nice, distinctive, peppery bite to be followed by a creamy smear of milkiness to sooth it.
The chai here is excellent. Just right. There is always a jumpy vibe here, too. Good minds at work. Lots of loud verbalizations.
"Do we have the hard database on that?"
"This is not a union problem."
"So, what did she say? TELL me."
"And then there's the cat. I can't stand her cat. I think it's a serial killer. A mouse serial killer."
"He reminds me of Bill Cosby before he was creepy. Like, I feel safe. But, maybe that safety is an illusion."
That's great! I'm really happy for you! Well, as happy as I can be and still be jealous."
"We often try to include the community on things. They are less likely to complain if they feel included."
"He's like a little boy. I've dated too many boys. I'm ready for a man now."
All of these conversations. One guy sits in the chair in the corner. He is sitting in the lotus position, ear buds in, eyes closed. He looks as if he is seeing nirvana behind his eye lids. I would love to know where he is right now.
A woman walks by me wearing a pink pussy hat. I smile broadly and wave to her. I ask her where she bought her hat. I want one.
"I ordered it off Amazon," she tells me. "Good luck finding one in this fucking red state."
I'm surprised. Nebraska is a red state, but Omaha is decidedly blue. In almost every election, Omaha and Lincoln go blue. It's those little rural towns that keep our state red. I make a note to look up pussy hats on Amazon.
The guy who was listening to his music and sitting in the lotus position unfurls like a cat and stretches. I try to imagine who he was listening to. Joni Mitchell? America? The Beatles? I watch as he stands and moves to put his jacket on to go. Finally, I summon up the courage to ask him.
"Hey," I say, in a friendly manner. "Who were you listening to? It seemed very calming."
He smiles at me. "I was listening to a speech by Dan Schneider," he tells me. I feel my returning smile freeze a little bit on my face, but then keep it there.
Takes all kinds, I think.