In the weeks since I left employment at AT&T, I have spent what an inordinate amount of time in coffee shops. Most of this is due to my laziness. I’d rather get out of bed at the crack of dawn-thirty and catch a ride in a nice heated automobile and let Brett drive in the carpool lane than wait an hour to take extra-long to get to the same destination by train / walk / bike or whatever combination suits the weather of the day.
When I do this, I end up wherever I need to be about 2 hours before anything opens at 9 AM. So, where can a person stay warm, entertained and inspired for two hours beginning at 7 AM? The coffee shop is frequently the only choice.
For a few months, I hung out in a Starbucks in a high-end suburban area… to my vast discomfort.
Waves of superbly dressed business people in shades of grey, black, and beige shuffling to the counter, ordering their Venti Nonfat Half-Caff Caramel Macchiatos and bagels for a quick carb, sugar, and caffeine rush. They speak only with one another. They only smile if someone they know makes a joke. The baristas try to be friendly and upbeat, but are steadily beaten down by the flow of supercilious pretension.
There is one blonde with brightly colored coats, shoes, and handbags who frequents this location. Like a ray of relieving sunshine breaking through the clouds. She looked at me like I was from Mars the day I thanked her for her nonconformity.
Now that I’m working more or less full-time here in East Atlanta, I’ve become semi-regular at a different coffee house. The Perk in Glenwood Park is obviously where I belong. Everyone who walks in the place – though most are still dressed for a business or business-casual work environment – looks like they woke up on the right side of the bed. The customers wear vibrant colors and patterns, green hound’s-tooth and traffic-stopping yellow.
And we dance.
Unlike the unobtrusively mellow and bland Starbucks soundtrack the Perk plays something a little more eclectic, a little more… well… Perky.
Today, while I stood third in line at the counter, “Funky Town” came on overhead. I felt my knees start to pop, my hips jumping from side to side. Who can help but dance when “Funky Town” is playing? I then caught sight of the woman in line behind me, (looking anything but bland in her cowboy boots and long embroidered skirt) who was dancing more than I was. We grinned at each other when we both noticed that the businessman in front of me in line was also dancing. His laptop bag making disco moves over his shoulder.
At last. I’ve found the coffeehouse where I belong….