Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Coffee Shop Chronicles No. 18

Have you ever thought about Feng Shui in your home or in the places you go? If you are like me, probably not. I found it challenging to find a good definition of Feng Shui. Most of them were quite deep and complex. This was the simplest one I found: Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.

As I said I haven't ever really given Feng Shui much of a thought before, that is until the visit to this past week's coffee shop, which was a good example of bad Feng Shui. I was trying out a new place in the town just north of where I live. I have visited one other coffee shop in this town, you can read that story here.

I arrived at the coffee shop at ten minutes to ten on a sunny, pleasant Tuesday morning. I walked through the front door, located off of the town's main street. I was immediately greeted by the garbage can, the dirty plate and cup receptacle, and the order pick up area. There were a few people standing there waiting for their drinks so I was confused as to where I was supposed to go to place my order.

I had to literally stop and look around the small coffee shop area that was over cluttered with sets of wooden tables and chairs just to figure out where I needed to go to get in line to place my order. Finally I saw the small wooden sign hanging high above the order area and noticed a small group of women standing there. Of course as I wound my way through the maze of tables and chairs, the trio of women I was aiming towards walked away. Now I was really confused, was this the order line or not? It was, I think they just decided not to stay.

There was one woman in line ahead of me so I fell in behind her. Not needing to peruse the drink board because I always get the same thing, I turned my attention to the glass sweets case in front of me. There seemed to be only one of every sweet delight left in the case, since it was ten o'clock that really wasn't a surprise. The muffin offerings all seemed to weigh heavily on the healthy side of life  except for the lone double chocolate, cream cheese filled delicacy. None of the muffins were calling my name, then I noticed the lone chocolate chip scone. I was at first unsure if it was a scone because it was round instead of the traditional wedge shape. I decided to claim the scone.

My pickiness about presentation comes into play here. The order girl reaches into the sweets case pulls out the Saran wrapped scone on it's small, celadon green rimmed dessert plate and places it just like that on the counter in front of me. There was no napkin, no fork, just the scone in plastic wrap. My chai options were either a 16 oz. or a 20 oz. I guess I am back to drinking the Grande size permanently. The order girl was pleasant enough but I was so overwhelmed by everything else around me in the coffee shop that I never got a good handle of her as a character.

At the pick up area I was the only one waiting by this time. My chai was prepared quickly, but presented with no lid. I had to get that myself. Again, it is the little things that make a difference.

Chai and Saran wrapped scone in hand I looked around the mass of tables and chairs and thought to myself, there is no way I can stay in here and write. Even though there was a fairly large gathering of retirees at a grouping of tables in the back corner. I am sure they would have provided some good stories but at this point I was so befuddled that I doubt I could have focused enough to eavesdrop and record those stories.

I knew they had round wrought iron tables and chairs outside in front of the coffee shop, I had passed them on my way inside. When I had passed them they were all empty so that is where I decided to go. Back outside in the sunshine and open space I immediately began to feel more balanced. I became more confident that this writing session could be salvaged.

One outside table was occupied by a couple in their early 70's. I had a choice between three other tables. I chose to put one table between the couple and myself. Close enough to hear, but not crowding them either. I could tell from their conversation, well really her conversation, he might have said five words the whole time they were there, they were traveling, staying at one of the local hotels. She marveled at how yesterday afternoon when they checked into the hotel it had said Vacancy on the sign out front, yet when they came back from dinner last night the sign had said No Vacancy. How could that be on a Monday night a week after Labor Day? I am thinking "well because this town is a tourist haven, hence why you are here. It is still early September with beautiful weather and this tourist haven is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, and retirees like you love to travel in September".

Next she spotted a couple going into the restaurant across the street. She says to her husband "Did you see that couple going into the restaurant across the street? They are from our hotel." The husband says "How do you know that?" She says "because I saw them in the lobby last night". If you have ever seen the BBC television sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, this lady reminded me of Hyacinth the busy body main character.

Shortly there after Hyacinth and her husband left, maybe they went to the restaurant across the street to keep an eye on the couple from their hotel. They did head in that direction when they left.

I wondered what I was going to write about after they left. I was now alone in the cluster of wrought iron and there was very little foot traffic that ventured down to this end of the main street. I was sorely tempted at this point to give up on trying to write a Coffee Shop Chronicle. I was instead ready to get out my journal and work on some homework for the journaling class I am currently enrolled in.

Just as I was reaching for my Raspberry Fizz Vera Bradley Messenger Bag to retrieve my journaling notebook up walked my next story. They were like a pair of mismatched book ends. Both with the same short, spiky haircut, but one blond, tall and bigger boned than her dark-haired, petite counterpart. They were probably close to my age, mid forties. They were dressed in stylish athletic apparel and from their slight windedness I concluded they had just finished their morning walk.

The dark-haired one says to her friend "What time is your mom meeting us?" Just then a dark blue Subaru Outback comes whipping into the angled parking space in front of us. The undercarriage of the Subaru splattered in dried mud. I could tell this story had promise.

Subaru Mom pops out of her car and hugs are exchanged between the three women. Brief hellos are said then they go inside to order. Now the telling moment, would they stay inside after they got their drinks or would they come back out to the wrought iron wonderland.

My prayers were answered, the next thing I know Subaru Mom is walking back out the door with a small to-go cup of coffee. Then it gets even better she choses the table just east of mine. Obviously she had no worries about being too close to others.

Soon Blond Daughter and her dark-haired friend were back as well. They had barely sat down when Blond Daughter had a grand announcement. Although as time went on I gathered that everything Blond Daughter had to say was a grand announcement. Anyway back to the grand proclamation. Apparently Blond Daughter's youngest child, who I concluded was a high school junior, had finally agreed to look at the college that Blond Daughter really wants her to go to. Blond Daughter says "I just want her to have the very best education that money can buy". Can you say hello debt!

Unfortunately Blond Daughter's bubble was quickly burst when Subaru Mom already knew all about it since her granddaughter had texted her on the matter. Apparently the granddaughter had agreed to look at the school to appease her mom. Well, Blond Daughter knows she will just love it when she visits. So she is already plotting where and how to get loans to pay for this best possible education. Subaru Mom says to her daughter "You better watch your pennies". No nonsense advice , which I am certain will not be followed.

On to the next grand announcement since the first one fell a little flat. Blond Daughter wants to get a foreign exchange student for her daughter for her senior year. Kind of like wanting to get her daughter a puppy, which she also talked about. This announcement was again not met with the enthusiasm Blond Daughter was hoping for from Subaru Mom.

Next came the final grand announcement for the morning. Blond Daughter and dark-haired friend had gone to a meditative yoga class the night before. They had to sit in the same pose, without moving or talking for thirty minutes. Blond Daughter was so proud that she made it thirty three minutes. I had a hard time believing this since she had not stopped talking the whole time they had been sitting next to me. Maybe she was just bottled up from the night before.

As part of their meditation they had to visualize hands gently holding and lifting their lungs. Which both of them said they could actually see and feel. For the final part of the meditation they had to imagine pushing breath down into their pelvic bowl. Neither one of them knew where their pelvic bowl was. The dark-haired friend thought it was the female part that starts with a V. As you can see from the above image that I found on the internet that is not quite correct.

Shortly there after the three of them wrapped up their grand announcement laden conversation, ready to go their separate ways. Subaru Mom needed to get gas and the other two were going home.

I am certainly glad that the Feng Shui was bad inside the coffee shop so that I was forced to go outside. I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of those grand announcements.


Beverly said...

Sarah, you really do get to witness the most amazing times with these coffee drinkers! I'm literally laughing out loud at Blond Daughter and her grand announcements, and all those wrought iron tables and chairs. Thank you for the morning laugh, as I'm drinking my coffee at my iMac, inside. :-)

Nina said...

Smiling here and enjoying your gift of writing ... and I totally agree with you on the bad feng shui of the coffe shop :-) Your photos are lovely, the touch of vintage is brilliant, Sarah... and your note book with the type writer cover in your first image is a keeper!

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

I am laughing here at my computer, Hyacinth I can't believe you get that in the US ! Love your notebook, I have notebook envy over here. Would love to have coffee with you one day I think there would be a lot of eye rolling.

Unknown said...

I am smiling ear to ear. Wondering what Hyacinth, Subaru mom, and blond daughter would say if they read this? Probably wouldn't enjoy the humor of the situation as much as we do. Your humorous detailed account once again entertains us, leaving us laughing out loud.

cheryl Crotty said...

Ah yes, the Feng Shui thing...although I have never studied it I do have a sense of it in my own life...things do need to feel right in their placement in order for me to be comfortable...I work from left to right and for some unknown reason I like that feeling when I'm out I would have felt the same as you in that coffee shop..
So glad you got to go outside in the sunshine where life always feels good and that you were aware of the conversations around you..sounds like your morning really turned out quite interesting after all.

Bonnie said...

oh my goodness,,,,,,this was so entertaining,,,,,,I laughed out loud several times,,,,,hubby thinks I am going mental LOL.... I admire you gift of writing so much,,,,, thanks for sharing your gift with us!!

Anonymous said...

Sarah, this might be your best one to date. I read this in bed this morning on my iPhone and was laughing so hard over the grand announcements and the pelvic bowl that I was afraid I'd wake up the baby in the apartment next door whose bedroom shares a wall with mine. It was a happy way to start a Sunday morning!

Nicki said...

Feng Shui is so important - I think it is more of an intuitive thing that our subconscious zeros in on and the rest of our psyche tags along. Except for the image I have that 'blond daughter' is more likely oblivious to that around her- I almost felt sorry for her. Dang that Subaru mom! :)

Cathy H. said...

Oh, you have me laughing! I love the names you give the characters and I mean CHARACTERS in your stories! So glad your coffee shop chronicle was not stifled by the confusion of the shop itself.

Unknown said...

Hahahahahahaha - you just made my lunch that much more fun!
I laughed out loud reading of the mom/daughter duo and your painted the perfect mental image for me!

Ida said...

So I want to know do you ever feel "guilty" listening in to these converstations? Sometimes I listen to people talking and on occasion have even let them know I was "eaves dropping" if they say something that I just can't pass up commenting on. For the most part though I feel weird about it. I was just wondering if you ever feel the same. Sounds like you hear some interesting stuff that way though.

Unknown said...

So happy to be back to catch this CSC. What a doozie!! Xo

Lynne said...

Entertaining . . . for sure.
I wonder if "the three" read the
Coffee Shop Chronicles . . .
I was impressed with their 33 minutes of "getting in touch with their pelvic bowl yoga!"
Such a fun read Sarah . . .

Michelle B said...

I think you should design coffee shop interiors. :) I have been to many yoga classes and I am not sure I have ever been told to 'push my breath down into my pelvic bowl', maybe I wasn't paying attention. I love the processing on your wrought iron wonderland image. Glad you stayed to write.

Donna Hopkins said...

It will be difficult for me to sit quietly in my yoga class from now on -as I will surely think of your pelvic bowl story and giggle. Your willingness to immerse yourself in the environment, listen and write - these are your passions and it shows in your writing. Another engaging installment in the chronicles.

Anonymous said...

So much excitement for one morning!

Carol said...

I liked the part about Hyacinth and her hubby - being one half of a retired, sixty-something couple who travels - I think I may have met them...maybe even been them on one or two occasions. Made me chuckle!

Unknown said...

This was really fun! I enjoyed your/our visit immensely. I was so glad the day I read about Feng of those things I thought that only I had imagined. I hate to admit it, but I also enjoy 'overhearing' conversations in public (when I'm not trying to concentrate or do my job). It's interesting how other people think, eh?