Eavesdropping at a Coffee Shop

 

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I never know how this experience will go until I step into the room. Today the coffee shop is so full of people and conversation that I can’t even hear the equivalent of college crooners spouting their poor renditions of hits from the 90’s. The off-white subway tile reflects the too bright canned lighting and the shelves are lined with nothing but different sizes of their cups complete with logo. And yet, other than being deaf for the next few hours from the experience, I am in heaven. What better place can I ask for while Busting Through Writer’s Block?

I am under dressed for the occasion. In worn jeans and a nerdy gamer t-shirt, I am the least of the briefcase touting, iPad wrangling, business masses. I try to seek the dimmest of corners, but alas, even those have bright can lights and I am right below one. Glowing like an angel it hides the wickedness underneath. I am here to eavesdrop. Oh yes friends! I, Bee, am taking my own advice and seeking out new material for my stagnant writer’s block. A block brought on by my latest adventure. Getting fired can go two ways and I will not let the beast of writer’s block consume me while I am still standing.

So I will start with how I typically go about this. In my article about Busting Through Writer’s Block, I mentioned several things that could be done from where I am sitting now. I went to a coffee shop, check. Now I can work on character descriptions and eavesdrop to my heart’s content. Minus the poor hearing as the room grows louder. Seriously! Is this where offices do business now?

I spot a man who looks like a famous actor pacing back and forth in front of the long counter waiting. His wind jacket and jeans nearly too warm for the humid, yet stormy day around me. As he gets closer I see that he is not the actor I thought he was. Alas! There goes some selfie potential right out the door after he takes up his order. Now on to the baristo that served me. His gentle and uncertain nature dawns on me even as I wait in line. Blonde hair swept to the side, he has a chin strap of shadow growing and is handsome for his young hipster age. After I order, I did notice his lack of experience indicating he was new to the register and I note his name tag. It happens to be the same name as one of my blonde characters in my novels and he is endeared to me.

I pushed the potential to become my muse out on Twitter yesterday and sorry my friend Ethan, but you are it. Alas! Our time was too short as you took my order and asked Alexa next to you for help ringing up my order. I was too busy noting the irony of asking Alexa something that I forgot to glance even a small bit at his eye color. It is an aspect lost to me and left to my imagination. I will go out on a limb then, and call them pale blue. He has the coloring for it. This dear reader, is why I sit for longer periods of time when doing this exercise. To learn how to describe a character better.

On to eavesdropping. YES! The fun part right? Usually yes. In a way. 99% of our conversations throughout the day are actually quite mundane. They border on boring. So how are we to find those gems? Well in front of me is a couple. She is the boss and he the employee is my guess. They are going over what to expect from the position he was just hired to. None of that is thrilling. Just a schedule planned out. But what struck me was the conversation of complications in pregnancy. I cringe because the job I was released from without remorse was my dream job. Maternal Fetal nurse. I thrive for complications of pregnancy. I am the face you never wish to meet. But when you do, I strive to create a silver lining on the darkness surrounding you.

Because of this, I stick closer to their conversation. It moves on. Nothing but mundane scheduling. But I begin to note the highly agitated manner of the woman. Thin, blonde, and well put together, she has her hair tucked behind her ears by now. Her eyebrows arched and darkened to shy of severe, her mood begins to play in my mind. It has potential and possibility here. When her phone rings during the meeting she slides it to ignore with some impatient expletives. (Polite, business kind such as ‘Are you serious?’ and things like that.) But it makes me realise that this woman is not to be trifled with. She is not to be crossed. And now I have to wonder if she is type A personality, or so used to being an alpha female it spills from her every movement. It is admirable, fearsome, and at times too much.

Next, there is a man right beside me I envy. Sure he is handsome and I could use that to my romance-novel writing advantage. But what I envy are his noise cancelling headphones. Please may I borrow them just for a minute? I don’t care if they are bright blue and clash with everything around me. Just. For. One. Minute. Kill this overstimulation around me. This man too has potential. Wearing cut off jeans cut with scissors and no socks with his tennis shoes it causes me to wonder how he lives. Is he a blogger like me? Is he looking for work like me? Maybe even a gamer like me? One day I might be brave enough to actually strike up a conversation with these muses around me.

I’ve now been in the coffee shop for half an hour. I am thinking that my drink was perfectly sized but wishing I got the whipped cream.

Another man sits down where the previous just left. This one has no headset, and comfortably leaves his Apple laptop sitting as he wanders to get more coffee. Seeing as I am writing from my very outdated chrome book, he might want to get nervous. Kidding friends, kidding. I admitted to being a gamer. My suped up, high performance laptop is sitting happily at home where it can rest before I beat on it again while I fail to game well. (Bee should have a YouTube channel called How to Fail at Gaming.) It’s kind of a known laugh around my inner circle.

I was glad dear readers to take you along with me to the coffee shop today. One of many adventures I plan to bring you along on. I might be still stumped by the comma, but I am never without words. My grammar is deplorable, and so is my wicked sense of humour. I am happy for the moment to give you a peek into how I start out my NaNoWriMo events. Come November 1st, I will be often haunting local coffee establishments in search of better writing material and practice. Like this blog, I am here to practice. And if you wish to join me, just ask.

 

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