Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Coffee Shop Chronicles No. 5

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...

18 comments:

  1. See, you did get to use the word--no Svengalis around! :-) I love Writing Down the Bones. Years ago I read it for myself, then used it in a class I taught. The students loved it, too. I think it opens us up to so many possibilities in writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like how you slid in Svengali !! Kinda quiet for a Tuesday!! We get Monday off for pres. Day...do you? That might be a mix up of new prey ....er....customers!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like your pouncing/prey analogy. And I add a new word to my vocab...that is if I can just find a way to remember it. Gosh, that pile of snow out the window is impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. well Sarah... you have me hooked on your coffee shop tales!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Really enjoy your coffee shop chronicles . , , I too learned a new word . . .

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I have Writing down the Bones on my 'to read' pile. Think I'll move it to the top. Loving your Coffeeshop Chronicles. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This made me chuckle - it's probably just as well that you didn't find a Svengali - now if you can just get the word out of your head :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. People watching is a fun past time...:)JP

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks like you had another good trip to the coffee shop. Much better than the Panera.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So glad to be back at the regular coffee shop!! I have the word thing frequently!! My word is Periapical - why I do not know. I heard it at the dentist office once and now it is stuck with me forever...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm already looking forward to the next instalment great writing...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ah, back in your usual spot! I love that you're now on first name basis with the order take/drink maker. Once again you have a very delicious muffin! How special that you were an observer to a birthday! Oh, by the way, you inspired me to write this morning in a doctor's waiting room. It was a pleasant way to pass the time! I'm not going to make the doctor's waiting room a habit though!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Not a word I'd want running around my head and if it starts ... well, it's all your fault! :-D What I noticed was that mountain of snow through the window. YIKES! Fun post, Sarah. I'm enjoying your Tuesday outings.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was waiting for Meredith to come in, maybe the snow kept her away this week. Lovely that you are on first name terms with the order taker now. Looking forward to your next instalment. x

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, wow that's a lot of snow! And I found myself wondering where Meredith was as well....see you next week!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sarah, you ARE a regular now. They may not know which muffin you'll order, but they know how you want it. And the Order Taker is using your name. You'll have to ask hers.
    I notice that this week you were stalking and capturing your "prey" with more than your eyes and ears - you were "shooting" them with your camera. That's you being Brave.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I may not comment often, but I had to stop and tell you how much I'm enjoying your series.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)