The title is misleading. I have not made daily observations for 96 days in a row. Maybe I should.
I’m doing an exercise in awareness and non-fiction writing. I’m writing what I see. I’m letting words flow. In one of her books, Natalie Goldberg tells a story that involves her and her friend sitting in a restaurant or cafe together, each writing in their respective journals.
I didn’t bring my journal, so today, I’m sharing it on the blog.
The coffee shop always plays music I like, soft and emotive.
I had an Irish cream mocha. The sugary aftertaste lingers on my tongue. I actually don’t like the aftertaste of coffee. Does anyone? I recently started drinking mainly decaf and find that my energy level isn’t as wonky and maybe I don’t love coffee as much as I used to.
Is that heresy? Blasphemy?
I’m still always down for a trip to the coffeeshop, though. Please never don’t invite me to that.
Every Wednesday, a group of older gentlemen meets at the big table in the middle of the room. One of them was one of my teachers in high school, and though he’s always polite, I’m never sure if he recognizes me. I wonder how long their Weekly Wednesday Coffee Meeting has been taking place. It seems like they’ve known each other for decades it. They always have something to say, and seem okay when no one is saying much of anything.
There is another group in here today, a trio. All women. Two of them have laptops and seemed content to work mostly silently side-by-side. They may be colleagues, or friends from long ago. They seem kind and attentive to one another.
My friends and I used to meet in the coffee shop, back when we were all friends. Life happens. We do things and say things we can’t take back, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by. All of us will never meet together in this coffee shop ever again.
People go in and out with their drinks and their food. All the while I’m writing my story or thinking about how my school project feels subpar and wondering what my life is going to be like five years from now, 10, 20. Will I be happy? Will I live that long?
I took a break to read for a few minutes. How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K. M. Jackson. It’s a light read with deeper themes. Jackson’s MC is a Black artist who
is obsessed with learns that Keanu Reeves is getting married in 90 days. I needed something less tender to read. My heart is reeling from many things, and truth be told I listen to a lot of sad music and read a lot of sad books.
One of the women is giving a Wisconsin goodbye. That is to say, she’s put her coat on and most of her stuff away and is standing up but keeps talking to her friends. Her coat is a dark yellow, not mustard, but like an autumn gold. I want to wear cute yellow things. I have on sweatpants and a shawl over a shirt with no bra. It’s not exactly fashion week in the Northwoods but still. Also I’m about to go to the gym. It’s not like I want to wear makeup for that.
I do still have friends that I meet at one of the few coffee shops in the area. We are blessed with new businesses popping up. Seeing local residents succeed in their endeavors is heartwarming and should be inspiring, but sometimes it makes me tired. I want so many things that it’s hard to pin down which one I want the most because the one I actually want isn’t necessarily the most frugal.
But there is much to look forward to. Grad school graduation is approaching, in the fall I’m starting my English bachelor’s, and summer is in sight. I like to tell people that Wisconsin is my favorite in the summertime.
Summer tourists will walk across these floors, the same ones I walked across as a teenager, and never know what this place means to me. To us. To the people I can’t speak for but whose memories I am in. Whose memories I share.
A coffee shop has the singular ability to provide isolation and company at the same time.
But now I’m making myself weepy. And I’m determined to have a productive day. A successful day, as defined not by the amount of work I do but how much effort I put in. So it’s time to go.
The coffee shop will be here for me another day.