October 23, 2016

The Coffeehouse at Chestnut and Pine - A Short Story

- This is a truthful story about my weekend afternoon outing to a coffeehouse in Burlington, Wisconsin. -

Strapping my purse cautiously over my shoulder, I began my trek up Chestnut Street. I clutched my laptop to my chest to shield myself from the bitter autumn wind as I scurried across the road. My favorite coffee shop and I would be reunited in a matter of seconds.

Upon entering the coffeehouse, I was greeted by a barista. An apron covered her yellow shirt, and strands of her strawberry blonde hair mischievously escaped the captivity of her denim ball cap, falling whimsically around her face. “Hello!” she said, rapidly cleaning espresso machines and restocking cups. I returned her greeting and stood at the front of the empty line, contemplating my order. I was in the mood for something warm and sweet; anything but a mocha. Their mochas left a strange taste in my mouth.

The lovely barista complimented my periwinkle hair. I told her about my hair dyeing struggles, and how it was originally supposed to be purple. She told me she liked the hue and informed me of the time she tried to dye her naturally platinum hair blue, resulting in a not-so-lovely green color. She pointed at my khaki green anorak for reference.

After thanking the woman for my latte, I proceeded to look for a seat close to an outlet. It was time for me to write another blog post, and my computer would be of no use if it wasn’t charged. I wandered into the cozy, turquoise side room of the coffeehouse and chose a spot at the empty dinner table. I plugged in my laptop to a nearby outlet, hung my jacket over the back of my chair, and constructed my workspace for the night. Drinking my four dollars and seventy-seven cents worth of caramel-laced coffee, I opened my computer and began typing. The sound of clinking mugs and light chatter soothed my ears.

I watched as a group of men flowed in and out of the coffee shop, carrying various instruments and pieces of equipment. I assumed they were performers due to their attire. They wore stylish haircuts, button-down shirts, and tapered jeans to expose their fashion-forward footwear; it was the classic coffeehouse performer look.

To the left of me was a wall of windows looking out onto Pine Street. I watched as the people, cold hands in pockets, eagerly ran to their warm destinations. Some even found refuge in the coffee shop. Just as a mother and her baby walked past, the band started their sound check. My ears were flooded with the sound of guitar, accompanied by the odd shake of a tambourine.

Feeling secluded in the side room, I migrated to the main hall. I chose a wobbly table to the left of the stage and reestablished my makeshift workspace. Around me were four students, two middle-aged women, a family trio, and an elderly couple conversing with a woman who appeared to be their health consultant. I felt the judgemental eyes of the chattering, middle-aged women inspecting me as I typed away. Had they never seen a girl with blue hair before?

The three band members opened up a briefcase that would soon be transformed into their merchandise stand. They took turns rearranging the CDs, pins, and t-shirts in efforts to make the stand look appealing, leading to the eclipse of most of the thoughtfully stringed lights that had decorated the inside of the briefcase.

Waiting for the band allowed me plenty of time to look around. I had been to this coffee shop several times before, but new pieces of artwork were constantly appearing. On one wall, there was a collection called the ‘Barista Exhibit’. The collection was composed of several drawings, paintings, and photographs, ranging from a Caribbean sunset to lifelike skeleton sketches. There were a few abstract paintings that I couldn’t quite make out. Maybe that was the point.

The sound director lowered the lights and the band took their places onstage. They were called Kia Andersen and the Pickups. The guitarist began to strum, and the bassist and cajon/foot tambourine player soon followed. Their first song was a soothing number called ‘Monster Ballads’. By the time their set had finally started, the majority of the crowd had left. Myself and a man in his late fifties were the only people to applaud their first melody.

The band played a couple numbers and paused for a drink when from behind me, a man yelled, “Play some music, dammit!”. His demand was followed by a series of laughs. The audience was soon informed that the chuckling man was the bow-tied bassist’s father. The band member told us about their relation and introduced the crowd to the man’s female counterpart, his wife. The bassist told us about the couple’s recent wedding and stated, “If those crazy kids can find love, then maybe we can too.”

As the set went on and the sun went down, the crowd repopulated; this time, much livelier. The acoustic guitarist performed two songs by himself while the bassist lovingly heckled him from the crowd, where he sat with his family. The soloist announced that the band would be taking a 10-minute break, and I took that time to order myself a roasted veggie flatbread. The meal was composed of roasted peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, and supernal slices of mozzarella. It was my favorite item on the menu.

After a quick intermission and a rubbing of the bassist’s father’s bald head, the band resumed their set. At around 8:00pm, my dad arrived to keep me company. He thoroughly enjoyed the band’s music, and got a kick out of all their antics. I had a feeling he would like them.

During a slower number, the bassist’s parents rose from their seats and began dancing. The band played a handful of songs before calling it a night. By the end of the set, the band received the spirited applause they deserved.

October 8, 2016

How To Be Alone

Hello, my loves! I hope you're doing well.

2016 - although it's had it's good times - has been a very difficult year for me. The year started off with a bang, but as time went on I decided to do a bit of quality control. This was mostly regarding the people with whom I associated myself with. I decided to focus more on the quality of my confidants rather than the quantity of them, and that led to the termination of most of my friendships and the loss of my first ever love. Although these changes were for the better, I was still in a whole lot of pain. I now had no one to turn to when I was sad, and no one to count on when I needed cheering up. I was completely and utterly alone, and this made the majority of my year very crappy.

After the demise of all my relationships, I tried to fill the holes in my heart by giving my time to anyone who would notice me. It was almost as if I was bumming cigarettes off of people, but instead of looking for a nicotine fix, I was looking for affirmation. I was looking for someone to make me feel worthy and attractive, and like I actually mattered in society. It was just as toxic, but in different ways.

I knew deep down that this horrible, depressing period of alone time was a necessary detour on my journey through life. It was my chance to rediscover myself and learn who I was as an individual, without anyone by my side and/or unconsciously influencing my decisions. Even though I knew what had to be done, it took me a long time before I was willing to accept it.

Although I'm a very independent person, I hate being alone when it's not by choice. I hate having no one to talk to or spend time with, and that's what my life was for a very long time. From my period of desolation, however, I learned some valuable lessons.

This was the biggest mistake I made when it came to finding true happiness. Whenever I was having a crappy day, I always trusted that I'd have someone to turn to, whether was a friend or a significant other. But what happens when you have neither friends, nor  a significant other? You mentally crash. In order to be truly happy, you need to cheer yourself  up. Be your own rock and support system. Think of boyfriends and girlfriends as luxuries, not as necessities.

Yes, having good weather, a great hair day, and an awesome sandwich for lunch can be ultimate mood boosts, but you shouldn't rely on everything going right for you to look back on your day and say you had a good one. Choose to be happy. Choose not  to let any crappy incidents ruin your charmed day on this kickass planet.

I cannot stress this enough. I'm a strong believer in auras and energies, and I can tell you with the utmost certainty that positive energies attract positive people. When you are genuinely happy,  it glows throughout your entire being. It may take you a while to get to that point,  but once you are comfortable with being your own entity,  you are then ready to develop healthy relationships. The right people will gravitate towards you. It's like moths to a flame, baby!

I am happy to report that I have now found myself and discovered that I am kind of awesome. I am no longer a lonely girl, desperate for love and reassurance. I have learned to be content with just myself, and I don't think I've ever been happier with my life or the people in it.

That's it for today's post! I hope this has helped you in some way, shape, or form. Being alone sucks, but trust me when I say it's a necessary part of life. Just remember, you always have me! I love all of you, and if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here. If you would like to contact me, click on the "Contact" tab at the top of this page. I'd be more than happy to talk to you! You always have a friend in me.

Until next time,
Jordan x