Observationally Speaking

The normal girl likes to wear inside out sweatpants, a worn out look on her face in the early throws of weekday snowy mornings that slowly evolves into features very similar to Helena Bonham Carter in the play of eerie appealing odd and (bad?) girl next door. “I’m an actress,” she says, and doesn’t flirt with anyone while saying it, or ever really. Occasionally you’ll catch her staring off into space. She plays the same Nirvana CDs every day, sometimes turning on the New Rock station.

An older-than-I’ve-ever seen guy, balding, overweight and definitely not TV ugly has returned after some sort of hiatus. I assume a back injury, and hope not from a heart attack. I’m not sure why I hope that, or if it’s even worse than a back injury. I suppose I’ll be old some day. He plays the station that claims, over and over, “We play anything” which essentially means you’ll never hear anything you like and all of the songs that you may have been able to listen to reminiscently laughing at your youth are destroyed when realizing that “Girls Rock Your Boys” is still a very horrible stain on the face of American musical reality even twenty or thirty years later. He comes over to talk computers with me, sits down, I switch tabs so that he doesn’t see me writing this, and we chat about wireless Internet as he tells me that the local guys who supply most of the WiFi to coffee shops have apparently gone out of business. Another customer joins us and he’s off to work.

Occasionally a blonde girl, approximately my age, is in. I see her hanging out here and at the other locations more often than I see her working. She looks very average as far as her clothes go, and her hairstyle is typical, no piercings or tattoos. But the look on her face is of ultra-cool. She doesn’t seek out attention, but it follows her. She’s naturally cool, almost intimidatingly so, and one of a cartoon hand full of people I’ve seen like that in my life. NPR News reminds me of a world outside my own neighborhood.

The owner occasionally stops in, or his wife, to stock shelves. She’ll open the doors even in the frost biting clench of winter’s lock jaw, to let the smoke pour out while her little girl marks waxy color over paper books full of little ponies or dolls made of cabbage patches. It’s annoying but tolerable in one of the few smoker friendly coffee shops in the city.

Other baristas come and go, more granola and typical of what you’d expect from the place. The strange, the alternative, they don’t stick out in this day and age. Normal is the new absurd, even while normal is the same old monotony. People are finding new ways to be different, or they just are different without reducing themselves to broadcast it from their personal fashions.

Organic black tea and the subtle hint of a turkish and domestic blend play with the arsenic rolling down into my lungs and the morning creeps slowly further from sunrise. It’s biting out, but the blue skies and abundant sun fool me through the giant glass windowwalls.

Up Next: Prophecy?