Well, that latin mocha was so great that I came back here to write today. Sans latin mocha. I figured (wisely) that this would be a nice place to just sit, people watch, and write. I come over the lunch hour, hoping that I will get lost in the crowd and I am right to do so. I blend in nicely. Plus, they keep the heat up high in here and that is a bonus.
It is nicely crowded here. Not packed. Just busy. Lots of people talking. The barista keeps calling out orders. The cinnamon roll latte is, by far, the most popular drink. There's a piano tucked off in the corner. Someone approaches. I wait in anticipation, but they sigh and walk away. Later, I approach, curious, and see that there is a notice on the piano NOT to play it. Too bad. This is a music conservatory. I'd like to see what the local talent is like.
The patrons mostly look to be young and well....sweetly hipsterish. The men are reed (pun intended) thin with brightly colored big scarves winding around their necks, dark pea coats, skinny jeans tucked into boots, wearing woolen caps on their heads. The women tend toward long gypsy skirts and boots (actually very similar to what I used to wear when I was in school in the late 70's, early 80's....), heavy woolen coats and ear muffs. A young girl of maybe ten years comes in carting a violin case. She has a Hermione Granger look about her, serious and brainy. She plops down on a bright blue sofa next to the piano and immediately puts her ear buds in her ears, closes her eyes, and is lost to the world.
Two young, pretty women sit at the table next to mine with cinnamon roll lattes, splitting a grilled cheese. Their hair is curled beautifully and so shiny that it looks tenderly shellacked. I remember shiny hair. It was a long time ago. A man in a suit stops at their table.
"Do I know you?" he asks, in a jovial way.
The girls squirm uneasily. "I don't think so," one of them answers politely.
"Sorry. You in particular look familiar," he says, pointing at the one who didn't speak. "Did we take that piano perfomance class with Dr. Lee?"
"No," she says, smiling politely, but clearly not interested. "My instrument is my voice."
"Well, you certainly have a lovely one," he quickly says, trying again to engage her. He is anxious to keep this conversation rolling.
"Sorry," she says more firmly, this time. "We really need to get back to work here."
There is an awkward pause. He realizes that the jig is up but clearly is not ready to throw the towel in just yet. Before he can think up a way to keep the conversation going, the two women turn to an open lap top and are suddenly very interested in the screen. Defeated, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a wallet. He takes a business card from it and places it on their table. They don't even glance at it.
"Just in case you ever want to talk or um...hang out or something," he says, pushing the card nearer to them. The girl looks at the card and smiles, but just a very small, unencouraging smile. "Thanks," she says.
He walks away. If he had a tail, it would be between his legs. I do feel badly for him. No one likes to be shot down. Can't blame him for trying.
But, it is clear that they DO know this guy or OF him, after all. "He is such a hound!" the girl he was trying to talk to says. "Apparently, he goes after anything that walks and is female. I was wondering when it would be our turn!"
The other girl grins. "Well, hey, it's Trump time now. He might get it into his head that he can do whatever he wants, so be wary."
The other girl shakes her head and says in a kewpie doll voice, "I know that sometimes I have to be put in my place when I get out of hand. Then some guy can just grab my kitty and let me know exactly where I stand." She purses her lips up in a mock model's pout.
They both burst out laughing, but I look down at the table in front of me. What a crappy mess we grown ups have thrown into these girl's lives.
I catch one of their eyes and ask them about the grilled cheese sandwich they've just eaten. I say that I heard it won an Omaha Best Of award in 2016. They are much friendlier with me, an obvious non-threat.
"It's just dreamy," one girl says and the other pipes up that it truly is sensational and so big that two people can easily share one. I nod and thank them, go back to my writing. When I look up again, their table is empty except for the suited guy's business card. It sits forlornly in the center of their table. I resolve to throw it into the trash when I leave. I'd hate to have him walk by and see the proof of his strike out. Best to always try to be careful with other's feelings.
I sit and savor the the warmth in this place for a while. The little girl with the violin case is retrieved by an elderly man who I suppose is her teacher.
"Did you practice as promised?" he asks her. She bobs her head up and down adamantly. I think she's probably telling the truth. She looks serious about her music.
Two older women come in and order cinnamon roll lattes and sit down together. One woman has a terrible cough and no penchant to cover her mouth. The woman she sits with clucks at her in a maternal manner. "You should have gotten tea instead," she tells her.
"No," the coughing woman says. "I needed a treat today." She goes into another coughing fit.
My cue to leave.