Scenes from a coffee shop

Most days, if possible, I leave the cubicle and go to Caribou Coffee at lunchtime, to get a break from staring at the same three walls.  Usually I take a book and my Moleskine journal with me, so I can write and pretend I’m not a corporate flunkie for awhile.  The women who work there know me by site and we’ve gotten to the point where I can just order “the usual,” an iced chai latte since I’m not much of a coffee drinker.

 

I usually sit at one of the high tables right by the window.  Today was gray, a typical Fall day in Pittsburgh.  But across the strip mall parking lot, the railroad tracks, and beyond the new condo development is the Allegheny River – regretfully out of sight, and on the other side of the river the trees on the hills are a riot of color, in yellows, browns, and reds.  The occasional green marks a tree that didn’t get the memo that winter is coming.

 

Inside Caribou is all greens and browns, with a big stone fireplace.  It reminds me of a hunting lodge, or at least the one I’m used to.  They even have a carpet, which is more than Starbucks can say.  Along with free wireless that doesn’t require a card or a subscription.  The tea is even more flavorful.  There’s none near where I live though, so the only time I’m here is when I work.

 

There are regulars there every day, and though I don’t know any of them personally, I recognize them immediately.  First there’s the guy with long red hair and a sparse goatee.  He wears glasses, a ballcap, and most days camo pants.  Oh, and tennis shoes (sneakers for all of you not from Pittsburgh).  I think he’s dating one of the girls, but I’m not sure.  He sits in one of the armchairs with a Macbook that has some kind of label on it – his name? A music group?

 

The second is a tall girl, athletic, I’d bet based on the fact that she wears Nike shirts a lot.  She always wears those shorts that come just past the knee, and tennis shoes.  Her hair is a light brown.  She uses a PC instead of a Mac and is always studying a huge stack of books.  I’ve no idea what the subject matter is, but I’d be willing to bet it’s medical-related since there’s a hospital nearby and a lot of the nurses come in here.

 

The last regular is a big long haired guy with dark stubble to match his black clothes.  He too seems quite familiar with the staff and I sometimes wonder if he is a manager or something, although I have no evidence for this.  He brings a leather binder every day that has a folded copy of the newspaper – folded so that the crossword puzzle is showing.  He usually brings his lunch with him and eats it there.  Sandwiches always; Subway usually.

 

I see these people every day and notice when they aren’t there.

 

It makes me wonder, what do they think of me?  Do they notice when I’m not there?

Scott