Sunday, March 27, 2011

Buzz Kill

For today's post I headed to a Starbucks in Cleveland Heights (on the corner of Mayfield and Lee to be exact).  On my way there, I drove past two local businesses of note: a veterinary hospital called "Just Cats" (how incredibly limiting), and "Bangs Salon" (I wonder if they suffered a severe revenue loss during the years when bangs were unfashionable...  Apparently they survived.).

I feed the parking meter and enter what appears to be a "dead" Starbucks. My barista (who's cute in a goofy class clown kind of way) takes my order in what he calls his "Kermit the Frog voice."  Surprisingly, it's an uncanny impression - good enough to make me laugh.  I should mention that laughing is my favorite activity, hands down.  If a man can make me laugh with his wit and a creative use of the English language he's well on his way to making me fall for him.

I cozy up to a table by the door.  This is a great spot, as I have a direct line of sight should any good-looking, witty men enter the Starbucks.  I chose this spot not only for this reason, but because there is a gentleman sitting right behind me who could have potential.  He's chosen the most comfy chair in the joint - the big cushy kind that even looks inviting.  However, he's also sitting facing the wall so I have no idea what his face looks like.  The back of his head is nice and makes me wonder if the front is as attractive.  I hope he will either turn around or leave so I can make an accurate assessment (and steal his chair).  On a side note, the music is a little funky.  It's nothing that I recognize and I don't think I particularly care for it.

I determine that most of the traffic in this Starbucks is the on-the-go crowd.  Very few people linger.  They seem to grab their coffees/lattes/baked goodies and go.  It's ok.  Perhaps a witty hottie will stop in to grab and go.  I observe people from all walks of life coming and going in this Starbucks, and I realize that Starbucks has quickly become quite the cultural center of our neighborhoods.  I love this.  Two older men come in together chatting about the events of the moment.  They say hello to me - probably because I'm sitting by the door.  What, am I the "Starbucks Greeter?"  They must be regulars as the baristas seem to know them.  Then, the funniest thing happens.  They each take a newspaper and sit on opposite sides of the Starbucks... like they don't even know each other.  I'm perplexed.

A young lady clearly on her way to the gym enters and I'm a little thrown by her.  This is not the granola chick I expected.  She is carrying a lovely Coach bag, wearing running shoes and running pants (the kind you know are running pants because they're like a second-skin).  All well and good, but sadly, she has caked her face with make-up that makes her look as if she's not going to the gym but rather West 6th instead.  She's also spent far too much time creating the world's most perfect ponytail.  This is why I don't go to the gym and prefer to run outside.  I refuse to doll myself up to work out.  It's just not right.  She's probably not even a runner, but thought the gear was"super cute" and spent way too much money to impress the meat heads at Urban Active.  However, she still looks cute... bitch.  Another woman walks in to grab and go.  She is wearing an orange Harley Davidson jacket, navy blue and red velour pants and a black winter hat with a fuzzy ball on top.  I am suddenly uplifted.  My life could be much worse.  I could be wearing that.

In the meantime, at a table just on the fringes of earshot, there are two ladies engaged in a conversation.  I struggle to eavesdrop over the funky music and only hear a few pieces of their conversation.  Those words/phrases include: "Therapist," "She says I'm smart," "Diaphragm," "Sex," and "Strangle."  Oh boy.  My mind wanders and now I want to hear more of their conversation.  I start to giggle to myself, which turns into a literal LOL.  I quickly stifle my laughter - which if you know me at all, you know is incredibly difficult.

Oh, by the way, I've given up hope of ever seeing the face of the man behind me.  He hasn't turned around nor gotten up to leave.  He's either completely engrossed in what he's doing, or he's dead.  But now I don't care.  An attractive man in his late 40's walks in the door.  He smiles at me.  I'm intrigued.  He's a little "mature" for my taste but whatever, I can work with this for now.  I smile back.  He orders his coffee and smiles again.  He "fixes" his coffee and smiles yet again.  I casually smile back.  He walks towards the door (which is conveniently where I'm sitting) says "have a nice day" and leaves.  Damn.  Well, there's my ego boost for the day... or so I thought.

Like a ray of light in the darkness, I see a breath of fresh air walking through the parking lot and he enters the Starbucks.  Because I’m directly in his line of sight, we make eye contact and he smiles.  He is dressed very appropriately for a chilly, yet sunny Sunday afternoon – casual, but not too casual, jeans in a perfect hue, and a ¾-length wool coat. He has perfectly messy hair that I could easily run my fingers through and I'm positive he's not just cute but witty as well.  Having not seen a lot of action today in Starbucks, I start to wonder if he’s a mirage.  Could it be?  Have I possibly found love with my latte?  He smiles at me – this is not a smile that intrigues me, but a smile that makes me tingly – and validates that the blond highlights I paid a small fortune for yesterday are indeed eye-catching, and were infact a good idea.  He orders two coffees – bad sign.  I think (i.e. hope) that the second cup of coffee is not for a female companion but instead for his mother... who is an invalid... who he sees on Sundays to bring her coffee since she can't leave the house.  How sweet of him - how amazingly thoughtful!  He waits for his two coffees and turns slightly, giving me a second glance and a smile.  I give him a casual half-smile in return.  He turns back towards the counter.
Just then an attractive girl walks in.  She saunters right up to him, puts her arm around his waist and leans in to give him a kiss on the cheek… buzz kill.  They leave together holding hands and he smiles at me on his way out.  Bastard.  Men who are attached should not physically be able to smile at anyone who has a vagina.
With that it's time to go.  My cup is empty and my meter is timing out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Not alone... and feeling surprisingly hopeful

Feeling sassy and cute with my second-day "going out" hair (ladies you know what I'm talkin' about... the kind of hair that looks tousled and voluminous - like you didn't sleep alone last night!  Don't worry Mom and Dad, Chloe the dog is the only one I cuddled with), I enter a surprisingly crowded Starbucks in Willoughby.  Of course I order my usual: Grande Non-fat Caramel Macchiato - I am a creature of habit.   

My macchiato and I find a quaint table for two with Frank Sinatra (love my coffee with a shot of rat pack).  My initial scan reveals a cute girl with her laptop and many text books (boy I wish we had wireless when I was in college!), couples who look like they've just come from church, and a few older gentlemen reading their newspapers.  Slim pickin's today in the cute 30-something guy market!  But I have sassy hair, good reading material and a great latte so I'm cool.

A blond bombshell walks in with her "don't you hate that I woke up looking this good" look, and suddenly I'm not feeling cute nor sassy.  "This is why I'm single," I think... because girls like that ruin it for the rest of us.  But am I really single because girls like that exist, or because of the way I feel about myself when I see them?  Probably the later, I'm assuming... note to self: I might not look like that, but I look natural and that's a good thing.  No joke, no sooner had I come to this new revelation and Aretha Franklin belts out "You make me feel like a natural woman."  How apropo.

Just when I think I'm not going to observe anything interesting, I realize that a blind date is taking place right before my very eyes at the table about 8 feet away.  They are approximately in their late 40's.  I don't overhear how they met but my guess is - that seems to be the default these days.  He is wearing a sweatshirt (wtf?) and she is wearing a very nice sparkly top (probably not right for Starbucks but she more than likely bought it specifically for this date in her excitement - I've been there).  They're exchanging the usual chit-chat (family, jobs, etc.) and she is soooo not into him.  In fact, she looks a tad disappointed.  She goes to the restroom and doesn't come back for 10 minutes.  Not a good sign buddy.  I've been to this Starbucks, many times, and there's never ever a long line in the women's room.  It's not a concert, it's Starbucks. 

When she returns, she says she needs to get going and he asks to see her again.  Her response: "ummmm... I don't know, maybe.  But thanks for the coffee." I think I just heard his heart snap in two.  He gets up and shakes her hand... a HAND SHAKE?  Wow, this is worse than I thought!  And of course, he shocks her with such a strong bolt of static electricity that I heard it.  Yikes!  He then makes a ridiculously cheesy comment about her being electrifying... Dude... Really?  This is why you're single.  She nervously laughs and looks at me like, "help!"  I shoot her a knowing smile from behind my macchiato, because again, I've so been there.  And I realize I'm not alone.  There are millions of great single women everywhere.  With this insight and new sense of hopefulness, I head to the mall to treat myself to some fabulous goodies from Victoria's Secret.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Welcome to "Single Girl Seeks Love and a Latte"

I'm a 30 year-old single gal who's been searching for a hobby (and a hubby) for quite some time.  I've been saying to friends and family for years that I could likely meet my future husband if I let fate take over… fate could put him in line at my local Starbucks for all I know.  However, what are the chances of that really happening?  And what are the pickin's like at the local coffee shops here around Cleveland anyway?  I've decided to take my cute little netbook (and maybe a friend from time to time) and visit a different coffee joint every Sunday around town to see what kind of men I'll find there (hey, others have church, I have chai).  Maybe I'll find love.  Maybe I’ll just discover a great latte.  Regardless, I think I might have stumbled onto my new hobby.