Tuesday, September 20, 2005

the starbucks chronicles

I went to Starbucks yesterday after work (I could begin so many stories this way) and settled in for a cozy hour and a half of reading and writing/staring at my computer screen/wondering how to make Chapter 17 500 words shorter. Last week was kind of hectic, and I was anxious to get back into my groove, also known as my rut.

On Sunday I had lunch with my former WriteGirl mentee, a kick-ass 19-year-old named Jenn. In the year-and-a-few-months since I’d seen her, she’d saved coral reefs in Australia, investigated ancient ruins in Ecuador and become a certified lifeguard. Next up: Israeli army training and a month of work in an AIDS clinic in Tanzania. I have no doubt that she’ll discover a cure for AIDS while she’s there.

I was feeling both inspired an exhausted just hearing about her plans. I told her I was going to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia in October, and suddenly it sounded like I said, “I’m going to Burbank in October!”

“Oh, you’ll love Hong Kong,” Jenn assured me.

Anyway, the exhaustion was a reminder that, while the travel bug does bite once every couple of years (and the travel bug looks a lot like B, who is a way better traveler and planner than I am), I really, really like to hang out at coffee shops with a book in hand. But hey, I mix it up. This afternoon I plan to be at the Coffee Table in Silver Lake, and I might order something besides the veggie burrito. Although the veggie burrito is pretty irresistible. They put white rice in it, which you wouldn’t think would work, but it does.

So, at the Westwood-and-Missouri Starbucks—which tends to attract a wilder crowd than the Westwood-and-Olympic Starbucks—this Rastafarian skater dude sits down at the table behind me.

“Hey,” he says. I turn around. “Do you like reggae music?”

I am reminded of the time in seventh grade when I wrapped my hair in red, yellow, green and black thread and was asked what reggae bands I listened to and had to admit that I was poseur; I just thought thread-wrapped braids looked cool on my white-girl head. That was also the year that I wore three pairs of socks at a time erupting out of my generic brand Keds.

“Yeah, I like reggae,” I said, “but I don’t, like, know it.”

“You should come to this club on Saturday.” He handed me a bright yellow postcard with some funky calligraphy on it.

“Thanks,” I said. I knew I would be at my friend Cara’s wedding on Saturday, rockin’ out at the West Hills Sheraton, but I congratulated myself on at least looking like the kind of person a DJ might want at his club.

I went back to my reading and, a few minutes later, the guy psst-ed me again. “Hey,” he said, “You should really come. We’re trying to get some older people there.”

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