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Ode to a Coffee Shop Laptop
A bunch of weird guys are sitting at the table two over from mine, talking about nonsense as a Tim Horton’s employee faithfully wipes down the windows and the display case full of trophies, proclamations and of course several symbols of horrid Valentine’s Day clichés. Hugging teddy bears, singing cupid dolls, heart confetti...you name it. The employee now sprays and wipes the front of the display case with all the doughnuts and muffins in it as two preppy teenage girls manoeuvre around her in attempt to see its contents. I wonder if my coffee is at drinkable temperature yet...
No, it is not! (Says my scorched-for-life tongue)
Yes it is... (Growls my tired, overworked brain)
I like the atmosphere here. I know no one, and consequently could be anyone. I pick my persona carefully. I decide upon the ‘Artsy University Student’. I look casually down at myself, as if to adjust my boot zipper (Artsy University Student would never double check what she’s wearing, she knows she looks good) and decide that I could pull it off. Knee-high suede boots, curled hair pinned back just so under my black barrette. Plus we are within walking distance of the University. I also remember putting on extra eyeliner this morning, a detail that makes all the difference. I’d always considered myself a terrible actress, cracking up every time it was my turn to speak, however hear speech is unnecessary so I am able to play my role sufficiently.
The strange guys are now talking about babies and how bizarre they are. I guess they have a point: pink, wrinkly little masses that upon first glance look anything but ‘cute’. Then one notices their soft and unblemished skin, the innocence behind closed eyelids, the shy beginnings of hair tufts upon their scalp, and of course their nose. Oh baby nose, you adorable little nub of cartilage and flesh that one can’t help but find irresistibly lovable. Until the baby starts to cry, then it’s a whole new ballgame.
Oh, what’s this? Now my weird guys are leaving talking about someone named Kyle. I know 3 Kyles-no-4. I have just realized that one of them had the biggest white-boy fro I’ve ever seen. Awesome.
Two old ladies in matching home-knit wool barrettes looking like they just jumped out of a Len’s Mill Store catalogue, and have been here ever since I walked in, continue a gripping conversation about how unappreciative their grandchildren are and how one’s son would have been so much better off with-now they are giving me and Artsy University Student an agitated stare. If looks could kill...
I now study a- after a sip of my now perfect-temperature French vanilla I might add- man with a navy, polyester GARMENT RESERVATION SPECIES jacket on. He has (after what looked like 6 pure seconds of intense thought) ordered a “caramel thingy” and the employee seems to have perfect comprehension of this crude description of a beverage. I guess being next to a high school you must get a lot of “caramel thingies”. On the other hand she looks like she should be in school. She can’t be a day over 18. Dropout? Maybe. Just Short? More probable. Although I admire her courage in getting a lip piercing. Very fierce. Poor short people, having to get loops of metal poked through the fat of their lip just to be taken seriously.
The two elderly women are now whispering together, making it troublesome to decipher their conversation without making it look obvious that Artsy University Student is eavesdropping. I’m pretty sure they are talking about me; at least, the venomous looks they keep shooting in my direction are a bit of a strong indicator.
Now slightly uncomfortable. I feel like GARMENT RESERVATION SPECIES jacket guy is looking at me too. And the employees seem to be giving me the vibe that as soon as my medium French Vanilla is done, I’d better get out of there and make room for new (and probably better spending) customers. But then again, would Artsy University student order a French Vanilla? She would probably order something more sophisticated like a latté or maybe she needs the energy so she takes it black.
But wait! The overworked and underpaid workers need not worry! A silver Chevy minivan pulls up outside, the window rolls down-Oh dear God no.
Artsy University Student disappears almost as spontaneously as she was created. My mother, honking deafeningly and waving at me from outside makes to get out of the car which I visibly prevent her from doing, so as to prevent further self-humiliation. I hope the cut-throat pantomime was enough of a sign.
The smirks of the older women, GARMENT RESERVATION SPECIES jacket guy and the employees I had so dutifully studied as distinctly and devotedly as the scarlet burning upon each of my cheeks as I pack you up and rush out to the awaiting vehicle.
“Hey honey, how was school? Were you waiting long?” my mother asks me as I wrench the door open,
“Nope. Not at all.”