Do you ever get a word stuck in your head and you can't get rid of it? An unusual word that has no logical reason to be stuck in your head? I have had a word like that stuck for the past couple of days. Do you want to know what the word is? Svengali. Definitely not your everyday kind of word. How did it get there? Well you see we watch Seinfeld every night when we eat supper. The other night "The Wallet" (Season 4, Episode 5) was on. The one where Jerry's dad goes to the Back Doctor and claims somebody stole his wallet while he was getting x-rays done. A little way into the episode Elaine comes back from a vacation with her boyfriend/Psychiatrist and tells Jerry and George that she needs to break up with him because he is a Svengali, except she mispronounces it and calls him a Svenjolli. Jerry and George quickly call her out on the mispronunciation. So what is a Svengali? A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose. It might be kind of hard to work a Svengali into my Coffee Shop Chronicles, but it would be nice if I could. Maybe then I could get the word out of my head.
I arrived at the Coffee Shop at five minutes to nine.
I noticed right away that my usual table had become part of a very long row of tables and chairs around which sat many women, who just happened to be fellow employees from the retail store that I use to work at. They were having a quarterly staff meeting.
Head Order Taker (who I think is either one of the owners or the manager) was behind the register today. Usual Order Taker was now Drink Maker. I ordered a Chocolate Caramel Swirl muffin and my usual Chai Latte. "Warmed with Butter" was more of a statement today than a question. Good thing that is my usual anyway.
I wanted to keep a low profile, away from the table that held my former store friends, because if they spotted me I would be gathered into conversation with them. And as lovely as it would be to catch up with them, it would seriously cut into my observation/writing time and I was on a limited time schedule already since I had to leave by 10:45 to make an 11:00 haircut.
I decided to make myself a home next to Meredith's usual spot. That way if she came in maybe I could make my move and strike up a conversation with her.
Order Taker/Drink Maker brought me my Chai and I can tell that we are on the verge of a first name basis. As she set my Chai down she said "Here you go Sarah". Sarah being said very naturally.
The employee meeting was breaking up, they were heading to work, getting the store ready to open. Once all was clear, and still no Meredith in sight, I moved back to my usual table, much better to see and hear what was going on from there.
Mr. Talks A Lot was here again sitting in one of the booths along the wall. He seemed to be in another Mentor/Mentee relationship, this time he playing the role of the Mentee. I think he met his match for talking a lot, but his mentor was more engaging in her talk, requiring actual conversation. As opposed to just going on and on. I didn't see any glazed looks today.
The Chair Changer was back. A stack of papers on his table. He had earbuds in and an iPod on the table. I can't say he looked any tanner than two weeks ago, so maybe he was just sick last week and not in some exotic topical location as I had hoped for him.
It was kind of quiet at the Coffee Shop today.
In the Writing Group that I am in, we are reading through Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I just read the Chapter "Be An Animal", Natalie suggests that you walk with an animal walk and take in everything around you as prey. I said to the group I had a vision of me stalking around the Coffee Shop looking for somebody to pounce on. I guess I do do that in a subtle way. Every time the door opened today and the chime dinged I immediately pounced on them with my eyes and my ears. Hoping to get a story out of my prey.
At the Big Table a gathering was occurring. Two wheel chair bound participants, two able to walk participants and a gentleman with a cane came together. That is the wonderful thing about this place, tables and chairs are easily moved to accommodate large groups or those with special needs.
At the booth next to Mr. Talks A Lot there came what appeared to me a Big Sister/Little Sister relationship. It looked to be Little Sister's birthday and while she went to the bathroom the Big Sister went to the car and came back with a big bag of goodies. Brightly wrapped presents in shiny purple paper were laid out on the table along with some small stuffed animals to form a lovely grouping of presents. Once Little Sister came back she unwrapped the first present and inside was an adorable fuzzy white teddy bear which talked when she hugged it. The joy on Little Sister's face was so heartwarming. She named the bear Moondoe.
As I packed up my stuff I realized that I was surrounded by a wonderful representation of this world. Mentor/Mentee relationships talking about work, school, faith and life. Sharing joys and hardships.
Definitely no Svengalies.
Until next week...