It’s a tranquil Monday night at a Whiteaker neighborhood coffee shop. Outside, a bundled up bicyclist pedals silently by, his scarf fluttering in the damp 40 degree air. A bright and nearly-full moon shines down from a clear, cloudless sky while a train slowly thunders by a block away.
Inside, the sound of reggae music plays — loud enough to drown out the general din of the café, even loud enough to make dancing seem appropriate – which one barista does from behind the counter. Tall and lanky with shaggy auburn hair and a ruddy complexion, he sways along to Toots and The Maytals while absentmindedly sipping an iced drink.
The chattering sound of coffee beans pouring into a brown paper bag interrupts a groovy baseline. A second barista is preparing to grind some beans. He’s broad shouldered and woodsy looking, with a full brown beard, thick eyebrows and a serene countenance. He dumps the beans into an industrial coffee grinder and flips the switch.
Meanwhile, a young couple has come to the counter inquiring about some goodies on display. Still bouncing to the beat of the music, Barista No. 1 animatedly recommends their vegan peanut butter bar.
“It’s probably the most decadent thing you can order…soooo good!” he says.
Not far from the counter sits a middle aged man wearing loose jeans held up with suspenders over a white polo shirt. He meditatively sips from a white porcelain mug with his eyes closed, foot tapping along to “Jamaica Ska” by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. A train’s whistle calls out lazily into the foggy night, waking him from his reverie. He closes the open window next to his table and sits down to enjoy a seedy looking bagel. More beans clatter toward their destruction behind the counter.
“If she wants to do that to herself for her senior year of college…” A young twenty something woman with a pale blonde pixie cut gossips loudly on the far side of the cafe. She is with a fellow college student; the music competes with their high-pitched gabbing.
The bagel-eating man glances at them with an expression of annoyance as she proceeds to itemize what she ate that day: a mango, two avocados and a bowl of Cheerios.
It’s break time for Barista No. 1 and he’s sitting on a stool at the counter, noshing on a slice of cheese pizza, shoulders shimmying along to a new beat. His eyes scan the room briefly.
“She’s like, the most impressive lady,” says College Student No. 1. She’s changed the subject of conversation has changed without missing a breath.