Out of sheer laziness I headed out to the Arabica in downtown Willoughby today. It’s been a long week partaking in evening activities (most of which included cocktails, spirits or beer) and I had no desire to venture any further. However, I enjoy downtown Willoughby – it’s cute and quaint. I haven't hung out at the Arabica for some time so I'm not sure what to expect.
I first glance in the window before I enter. I’m not sure why, it’s not like I’m going to get back in my car and go somewhere else if I don’t like what I see. To the right of the door there’s an older woman sitting by herself drinking her coffee. She is wearing a black barrett and a scarf that's a replica of piano keys. It's not cold outside today and it would never be cold enough for me to ever wear a scarf like that. However, she appears to be enjoying her Sunday morning to herself much like I hope to. I imagine that back in her day this would have been just the place she would have come to listen to poetry and click her fingers in approval. Yeah man.
I love that when you're inside of this Arabica you can see the back of the old “Willoughby Hardware” sign embedded in the glass block above the door. Pictures of historic Willoughby and Willoughby Hardware grace the walls of this charming hang out. They are playing Coldplay when I enter and I immediately feel at home and relaxed.
I approach the counter and take note of a little girl chatting it up with the barista. She can't see over the counter and he leans as far over as possible so he can hear her. She looks to be about 5 years old and as I move closer I find myself being jealous of her outgoing nature. She’s carrying on a conversation with the cute barista asking him what pastry he recommends and which is his favorite… damn… wish I had thought that (note to self for next week). I smile at this adorable exchange and look around for anyone that appears to be her parent. I see no one. This is unfortunate, as I would like to ask if they would mind renting her out to be my new wingwoman. She pays for her pastry with cash, and after collecting her change and cupcake the little lady walks out of the Arabica... alone. I suppress my urge to run to the window to see if she gets into a pink Power Wheels Jeep that I'm certain is parallel parked out front.
The bartista is attractive in a laid back "I look like I work in a coffee shop" kind of way. He’s got spiky hair, glasses and has the the sexy scruffy thing working very well for him. However, he also has a lisp… though slight, it’s there. I always wonder when I hear someone with a lisp if their parents just couldn’t get them into a speech therapist. Do they look back and wonder if they’ve done their child a huge disservice in life… because they should, and they have. I order a small non-fat café mocha (trying to do a better job of working on my girlish figure, you know). The cute lispy barista takes my order and I gaze into the pastry display case as I wait - longing for what I know I can't have.
The chick barista takes the order of the group of girls in line behind me and I'm taken aback, as she has the same speech impediment as the hottie barista. Are they related or is it just incredibly coincidental?
I take my café mocha (which ended up not being great) and bottle of Nirvana water and find a seat. There’s one desirable looking dude in the joint. Of course, I choose to sit at the table right in front of him. The moment I sit down I realize this was a mistake. Now my back is to him and the only way I can catch a glance is to completely turn my body around. Which is then not a glance, but an all out stare. Oh well.
There’s a younger guy and girl sitting at the table across from me. She is working on a laptop and he is reading textbooks. They are nearly silent as they study. Back in college I use to have to study by myself in silence. I could never concentrate and was easily distracted by others if I tried to study in groups. At one point, I received the nickname “Queen of Diversion” because though I would have every intention of studying, I would do everything but that when I was with friends. I wonder if they're a couple... a boring couple, it appears.
New music has come on and I like it. I'm not sure who it is, but it’s a chick with some angry tenderness in her voice. She has clearly been wronged and while she would love to get back at him you can tell she’s really very hurt. I think about how true that is. No matter how “well” a relationship ends, no matter how neutral it seems to be when both parties walk away, no matter how adult you want to be about the situation, there’s always sadness that turns to anger... and deep down, you hope the other person is still alone just out of spite. I dig this chick. She speaks to me.
I look up from my mocha and notice a guy walking in. He's a little thin for me. I like a little more meat than this. But, he smiles at me as he walks up to the counter to place his order with the lispy twins. He gets his mocha, and goes to sit down… with another man… and they hold hands across the table. Ok, so I totally misjudged that one. I bet that little girl would have known they were together as soon as he walked in. She would have told me this in advance before I even bothered to return the smile.
Unfortunately there's not much going on and the scene’s thinning out - much like the hair of the guy who just came in. I figure it's time to go. I pack up and head towards the door. Sitting to the right is an attractive man I couldn't see from where I was sitting. He's probably in his late thirties/early forties. He's working on a laptop and watches me approach the door. I feel his stare so I glance his way. He smiles and gives a little wave. I smile and give a subtle low wave in return. I hadn't planned on this. Now what? He's sitting and I'm the one in motion. Do I go over and say hello? All this time I've been hoping the be the receiver of the "hello" and the walk-over, not the initiator, so I leave. *sigh.* As I wait for the signal to cross the street I look back... and he's still staring. Well now what? I can't go back in there! Maybe like a scene out of a chick flick he'll run out of the coffee shop to ask if he can buy me another mocha. This is quickly becoming the longest, most awkward wait for the "walk" signal ever. I'm finally able to cross the street and I strut as cute as I possibly can. I get in my car and look towards the Arabica. Still there... still staring. I drive away and head home. I should have taken a clue from the outgoing little girl and chatted it up. What if...
I've spent enough time on this side of town over the past few weeks. I think next week I'll head west and hope for a more lively adventure.