My Coffee Shop on a Long Weekend

My Coffee Shop on a Long Weekend

IMG-20130430-01190.jpgMy blog is feeling a little neglected the past month or two. Apparently, this is what happens post-retirement, when we go back to working and start making a living to pay the bills.

Sad, I agree.

This weekend has been a welcome dose of downtime. I’ve spent it pretending I don’t own a car and have done my share of walking.

I even found time to visit my coffee shop not only once, but THREE full-morning’s in a row.

The first morning, I asked my barista, “has it been busy?”, thinking to myself, ‘it’s a long weekend, likely a slow day.’

She replied, “It’s been quite busy,” rubbing the sweat from her brow, “you see, Birds and Beans customer’s do not stray far from the coffee shop,” raising her hands to demonstrate a small radius, “not even on beautiful long weekends.”

Touché, is all I could muster for a reply.

Are your shoes some sort of plastic?

Are your shoes some sort of plastic?

IMG-20130414-01161.jpg It has been way too many weeks since I’ve made time to spend a few hours at my coffee shop and to share a blog post.

Today has not disappointed.

I brought my new book “Lean In”, bought myself a muffin and coffee and found my favourite chair in the back of the shop.

I was quietly reading, when a woman appeared out of nowhere. She stopped in front of me and looked down at my feet and declared, “I really like your shoes. Are they made of plastic or something?”

Not letting me answer, she continued, “I have never seen shoes like that before. They must have cost a bundle.”

I wasn’t sure if she wanted an answer or just wanted to tell me what was running through her mind so I smiled at her.

Turns out she just wanted me to listen as she sat down in the chair beside me and continued on a new train of thought.

Advice, and maybe advice I simply needed to hear from a complete stranger, “You have to listen to your heart. No matter what your mind is thinking, your mind and heart are intertwined,” and she demonstrated with her ring covered fingers.

She wasn’t done, “I like this place, it’s like coming home. You can put your feet up and just relax. Talk to people or just be by yourself.”

She liked talking to people, this was obvious as she sat there sharing thoughts and snippets of her life with me. It was a mostly one-sided conversation and I can count the words I said on my left hand.

She decidedly informed me, “You have a beautiful spirit and a wonderful heart and a beautiful smile, I bet you have a lot of close friends and a really good job”

Then distracted, she looked over at my phone that was blinking, “You should really get your phone, I bet someone is trying to get a hold of you.”

I nodded at her but she wasn’t satisfied until I reached for my phone. She stood up, smiled and said “You have a great afternoon.”

She disappeared as quickly as she’d appeared taking her many rings with her.

Act 3 – On Reading Material

I am happy to say, “Living History” is complete!  My only regret is that I did not pick it up sooner…9 years sooner.  Who can say how it may or may not have impacted my life, but what I do know is regardless of political allegiances, Hillary’s book was worth each minute and hour I spent reading.

With her book out of the way and after two autobiographies, I was looking for something a little more……fiction to read. 

Good thing my coffee shop acquaintance who had me demonstrating my inner clutz, spilling water and essentially tripping over myself as I tried my best to keep composed and adult about my utter childishness.

It was the second time we’d had a verbal conversation.  He was making fun of my choice of reading material and with great fervor, kindly suggested the next book I should read.

He promised me that I was “not going to be disappointed” and if I was, “you can come slap me on the side of my face.” 

And he demonstrated on the left side of his face, “Right here, you can slap me right here,”

He stopped, tipped his head down and to the side, looking at me shyly he said “..not too hard.  Just a little bit, but not too hard.”

“I promise you, everyone I have suggested this series to has LOVED it, nobody was disappointed and so far none of them have come to slap me on the face.”

He took a breath, “But if you don’t like it,” he reiterated, “my offer stands and you can come find me and slap me on the face and you’ll be the first one to do that.”

On his suggestion, the other day I picked up “Game of Thrones”. 

Let’s see how I like it 😉

The Toronto Blizzard…

The Toronto Blizzard…

IMG-20130208-01056.jpgThere’s a blizzard happening in Toronto. No the army hasn’t been called in…yet!

After my work laptop ran out of battery and my boss negotiated with me NOT to drive in to work; I decided the best way to fill the wintery afternoon would be a walk in the winter wonderland.

Deciding that I was able to survive many summer walks to the coffee shop, I might as well attempt it during a blizzard.

What I can confirm about Toronto blizzards is:

1. Men in sidewalk snowplows really are gentlemen. I swear he knew where I was going and went out of his way to make sure my path was cleared. Thank you.

2. Snow, and lots of it, gives people something to talk about. They laugh, they smile and they talk to complete strangers! We need more snow days.

3. Just because it’s a snow day doesn’t mean you can take up space in the coffee shop. “People treat that chair at the front of the coffee shop like it’s their living room or something. Now I am going to have to go find another perch or so the exasperated grumpy old man loudly told the barista when he saw me sitting in what I can imagine must be his regular Friday afternoon reading spot. This could have been Horrible Joe but he was too Horrible for me to bother asking 🙂

The Second Act….to clutz of the day

The second act, as funny as the first? Well sort of, you be the judge. Perhaps it is more about myself and less about him, but either way, it is turning out to be a good story, at least in my head.

I am a curious person, meet me and you’ll know. If there is something to be found out, I will find it. I’ve tried to send my curiousity to a corner to sit and be ignored, but in the end it wins out.

I had to find out. Off I went to the coffee shop.

I wasn’t certain I’d recognize him, he is good looking but there wasn’t anything remarkable that would easily distinguish him from a crowd of other good looking men. If I had to choose him from a line-up of European soccer players, trust me, I wasn’t sure I’d pick the right one.

There I stood, chatting on the phone with a good friend waiting for my drink when a hand thrust in front of me. Looking down was a fist full of …. serviettes. I didn’t need to spot him because he spotted me. And true to his obvious good nature, was providing me with the tools needed to clean up my own mess this time!

Thoughtful! LOL

I smiled, mouthed “Thank YOU!” and took the wad of serviettes and continued talking to my friend.

He turned around to walk away and that is, my friends, when I recognized him.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a line-up of soccer players by mug shots but I could by his body and I bet you are dying to know why!

I knew him! I’ve known him for at least a year. I didn’t know anything about him necessarily during the year, but I recognized him and not because of his good looks. I recognized him by his backside (you best be busting a gut right now in laughter, because I am!!). A year ago I had pointed him out to a few close friends – declaring “He’s HOT!” But that is where it stayed. He’s been my secret crush for over a year and now it’s him who’s making me blush everytime I turn around.

Did we chat?

Ofcourse. And being true to my nature I know more about him than he does about me :).

By the end he gave in and declared “I feel like this is an interview!” and then proceeded to treat it as such.

What do I know? Enough for now. If anything I have met a new friend who shares my love of books, travel, history and humour.

Clutz of the day award goes to…

Clutz of the day award goes to…

IMG-20130127-01053.jpgMoi!

I accept it while gracefully falling over myself as I stumble across the stage.

It’s Sunday. I love Sunday’s. I get to spend them by myself doing things I want to do without feeling guilty.

One of those things I love doing is drinking a coffee in a crowded coffee shop while reading a book.

When I arrived the shop was full. I figured I’d order my drink and hopefully by the time it was ready, I’d have a seat.

I noticed this one particular gentlemanly good looking man hovering around and caught him looking in my direction. Now believe it or not, I am super shy when it comes to men I think are remotely attractive. And even more shy and clutzy when I assume they might be watching me.

I turned my back, usual procedure for me when I don’t know what to do, am I really +30 and still acting 12 :). Yes I am.

I waited for my drink to be made and I noticed a table had emptied.

It wasn’t the usual normal two person table, it was the giant wheelchair accessible table. I had no shame, I really wanted to spend a solid hour reading my book and if that was my table, then that was my destiny for an hour.

I rushed over to secure my spot, got myself settled. Coffee to my right, glass of water to my left and my book in front of me. I was ready.

cosmo for blogEverything was going to plan when I decided a nice sip of water would be a great idea and that’s when my nervous clutz came for a visit.

My cup of water flipped on it’s side and water was all over the table, my book, the magazine that had been left by someone else, my pants, my coat and my purse.

I was so embarrassed and froze staring soaking wet at the little pond on the table in front of me. Not daring to turn around to see who might have caught my embarrassment.

I stood up and started brushing the waterfall of water off my pants.

I turned to go get some serviettes and there he stood, his arm extended holding a fist full of serviettes.

“Here you are”.

“Thank you,” I responded my face going beat red, “Not only am I hogging the biggest table here, I’ve managed to make a mess!”

He started helping me soak up the water.

“Yes well, you are at the handicap table, but that seems reasonable with your situation. Don’t worry, nobody else noticed, you’re ok.” he responded.

I lamented my wet book.

“Well you didn’t buy it yet did you?”

“Oh I bought it, it’s mine and it’s now drenched.”

“What book are you reading?”

“Hillary Clinton’s, Living History.”

“And is this your Cosmopolitan as well?”

I laughed nervously and replied truthfully, “No”

“Well I was going to say that would be pretty ironic that you’d be reading both about Hillary and The Sex He Wants…But Do You?”.

I couldn’t hold my laughter.

“You are welcome to share my giant table,” I offered

“That would be great, I am waiting for someone but in the mean time, I’ll take you up on your offer,” and he disappeared.

That was curious I thought but within minutes he was back with a replacement cup of water.

Now he was just out doing himself!

Good looking, generous, clever and hilarious all in one.

The Unsuspecting Coffee Shop Philanthropist

Ya’ll know how much I like my coffee shop. How proud I am of my personal “account” at my coffee shop. It’s the little things that make me extremely happy!

Over the holiday’s I had the luxury of vising my shop on weekdays and it is the weekday’s that are the most exciting at the coffee shop.

On this particular Thursday morning, I arrived at the shop, excited for my weekday visit.

I was the second in line. The lady in front of me was giddy. She was bringing her friend out for a coffee and she was using her account. I can’t say for certain, but I like to believe the reason she was taking her friend out for coffee was for the simple fact that she had an account! Everyone who has an account wants to show it off, trust me 🙂

The lady behind the counter rings up the order deducts from the account and says, “Ma’am you owe $1.30.”

The woman looked at the barista confused.

“You don’t have enough on your account ma’am; you still owe us $1.30.”

Hmmmm, the lady looks down at her breakfast cookie that she’d just taken a bite from and looks up, “That’s too bad, I would suggest giving back my breakfast cookie but I just took a bite.” She looked disappointed. After another few months she comes up with a great idea, “Well can you make my drink a small instead of a medium?”

“Sure,” responds the barista and she changes the order, “however now you owe us .54 cents.”

“Could I just pay you next time I am in?” the lady asks.

“Unfortunately, no.”

Being second in line, wondering how long this was going to last, I started to sift through my wallet, I was sure I had $1.30, even .54 cents to cover the cost. In my opinion a small fee to pay in order to get my own drink a little quicker.

The lady twisted and turned, looked up and down in her discomfort of not knowing what to do. She then came up with a grand idea and spun around to face me. She looked in my eyes then down to my hands that were rummaging around in my wallet and she declared, “You read my mind, I was just going to ask you to pay for my coffee.”

You’d think she’d stop there but no, there was more on her mind.

“It’s your day. It’s your day to pay-it-forward. This is meant to be. Everyone needs to pay-it-forward and this is your day!!” She said with such enthusiasm.

I gritted my teeth, smiled at this most bizarre woman. I had exactly $1.30 and I really didn’t want more change in my wallet, I handed the barista the exact change and said, “Just make her the medium drink.”

The lady turned to me again and asked my name.

Why does she need my name, I thought but I blurted it out anyhow. “It’s Dawnafaye.”

“Dawna,” big pause, “HAY,?” she declared.

“No, it’s Dawna……..FAYE,” and I made sure to enunciate the Faye as best I could.

“Ohhhhhhh, Dawnafaye!!!!”

She turned to her friend and announced, “What an unusual name, have you heard of such and oddddd name!!!”

I stood there shocked; did I really just pay for this ladies coffee?!