Time and Rain and all the Breakfast Burritos in Texas
Every one of these manage et trois mixer dancers falling from the sky is desperate to prove the law of gravity correct. Lone oxygen and it’s hydrogen coupling, the three of them spinning condensed into rain and cleaning away whatever grime this city has collected over the winter. Men and women 20-somethings, a demographic as of yesterday that I no longer can say I’m participating in, type away on MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Paintings of bees give my coffee cup a hint of “this is why I come here” as opposed to the cheaper coffee shop across the street. It’s cleaner, the people are very friendly and they have better food. Their WiFi actually works. But something in mind has chosen the mishmash of poorly painted, chipping and splotchy maroon walls, the peeling gold-painted and brown windowsills (seeping lead, no doubt), and the dirty couch in the corner which doubles as a stage when bands take the time to roll through.
A man with a Bic-shaved head and beard to tickle his chest hairs asks the waitress if she watched the Daily Show last night.
“Oh I don’t watch TV,” she says apologetically, but with the air of teensy-bit-I’m-superior that anyone who says that with a lick of truth behind them often does. She’s a very cute and kind woman, though, it’s just an observation I’ve noticed about those humans who find television to be a waste of time. I’m among them, though it’s a bad habit I do occasionally splurge in when none of my other bad habits are available to be partaken. She came into the room from the coffee bar to bring me a veggie breakfast burrito. Breakfast burritos are a cornerstone of the Austinian morning, as ubiquitous as the morning paper, coffee and cigarettes, and painful awakenings into rush hour traffic, these things can be found anywhere. Corner stores and coffee shops, of course, but I swear even lawyers offices and the laundromat will have some sort of breakfast burrito dispensing method. I had inquired as to how long the fine things would be on sale today, as typically when I arrive around 10am at this place, they’re all sold out already. Today the tray is choke full and I realize it’s my chance.
“How long do you guys sell these?”
“Oh until noon,” she announces, and then drops the decibels in her voice to just below a whisper, “but after that you can get one for free.” She compliments my hoodie, a bright green thing which sports an image of a bicycle touting it’s low miles per gallon, fills up my bee adorned coffee cup and doesn’t mention anything about my snotty running nose as I retreat to a small, wobbly table covered in broken flecks of old pottery adhered to the thing in swirling and starry patterns.
The bald and bearded man continues to talk to her about how Jon Stewart tore some financial advisers career apart last night on the Daily Show. I smile a bit, a firm believer that Jon Stewart is one of the great men of our time and my disdain for all people involved in the creation and destruction of this house of cards we call our economy shining through. He’s enthusiastic to the point of his shiny smooth dome going a bit red, though he seems a very level headed gentleman, and he’s very easily my kind of person: in fact, anyone sitting at a coffee shop reading the paper at 11am on a Friday morning is my kind of person, I’d assume.
Bare in mind that retired Republicans are not particularly the average guest at a coffee shop not bearing the name Starbucks or McDonalds. Something about having a 45 year old tattooed man in a cycling hat and chain wallet deliver your coffee that keeps that type of riff raff away, to be sure.
Conversations go back and forth, over cell phones, through the glass framing the back porch, where it’s much too cold to sit today but a smoker can not be daunted, and a young smoker can ignore just about anything. No dogs are allowed. The music is slow, ambient and My Morning Jacket. Outside it’s still beating down, the clouds over Texas, having not formed more than a bucketful of rain in the past 8 months or so, have now broken the seal and are letting loose their mighty bladders, spraying down the city of Austin, God cleaning the streets just before the great music, film and Internet festival SXSW prepares its arrival.
Somewhere out there a South African woman is brushing her hair, or packing her black backpack full of computer cables and headphones and the days agenda. She’ll be visiting the coffee shop across the street, enjoying her own eavesdropping and interactions. A street away can be a good and far distance sometimes, one that a couple living in an RV can possibly use now and then. At the end of the day though, the rain and time will have washed away whatever problems that old mobile home might have stirred, or at least thinned their grime if not completely soaking out the stains. Time and rain are, let’s hope, good like that.