It is the most amazing day in Cleveland of 2011 thus far (about 80 degrees, sunny and just all-around beautiful). The drive to the Lakewood Caribou on Detroit was very nice, except for the fishy smell wafting off Lake Erie (eew) that signifies spring is here! While this smell is temporary, it lingers until about mid May.
I smile while driving the familiar streets of Lakewood. Having lived not too far away in West Park for a short while, I drive past my old stomping grounds (i.e. bars, taverns, Johnny Malloy's). I think most young adults (Do I even still qualify as part of that group? Gawd, I hope so!) in Cleveland live in this area for some period of time after college… it’s like a rite of passage. It's an active community. There are people walking dogs, walking kids, going for a run... and when you’ve had a winter like we had here in Cleveland, you long for these beautiful days to finally come around.
This caribou has a good vibe. It’s cozy, the baristas are friendly and the drinks are usually very good. Today was no exception - my non-fat turtle mocha was fab. I take my seat at a rather wobbly table and look forward to some relaxing time with myself. I recognize the music to be Mat Kearney… very mellow.
In the comfy chairs by the fireplace (which is obviously not lit on a warm day like today) two men are reading. One is reading a textbook. I can’t tell the subject from where I’m sitting, but all I see are lots of words... boring! The other, who looks kind of like a grizzly bear, is reading the business section of The Plain Dealer. Upon further inspection, I realize that he’s reading it out loud. He’s also wearing a black winter stocking cap – which troubles me on a gorgeous day like today. Clearly he's not all there. And apparently, I stared too long because he looks directly at me... woopsies!
There are three guys approximately in their late twenties sitting not far from me. They glanced at me as I sat down, but I don't find them attractive so I don't bother to glance in return. They're also apparently pretty restless, as they moved throughout the Caribou during my stay. When I first sat down they were two tables away. Then they got up and sat outside on the patio for a bit, now they’re back inside at their original table… aaaaand they’ve just moved to the other side of the shop. Weird. Pick a damn seat already… who are you the three bears? This seat’s too hard, this seat’s too sunny, this one’s just right… oh wait, it’s not. And they move again. Now they're at their fifth table in the amount of time I’ve been here.
I see a table of four people, one girl and three guys. One of the guys is very talkative. In fact, he's the only one talking for quite sometime. He appears very into himself. When I tune everything out and concentrate on their conversation (yes, I know I'm a habitual eavesdropper), I realize this guy's is in fact a wedding DJ. The young guy with him appears to be his assistant or a DJ in training, and they're talking with a engaged couple. The DJ looks like he tried so very hard to look trendy for this meeting. He's wearing a white newsboy cap (which, whenever I see one I think of Oliver. "Please sir, can I have some more?") and a gold blazer (perhaps he works for Century 21 Realty on the side). He’s talking about the best songs for certain pieces of the reception… and he’s talking way too much in my opinion. Based on what he's suggesting (a lot of Black Eyed Peas, Usher, and Bruno Mars), I think about how horrible the music is going to be at their wedding. I’ve been here for about 30 minutes and he's just now asked them what kind of music THEY like. I can foresee this catastrophe of a reception. This guy’s going to be the center of attention with campy jokes and inappropriate interjections during dinner. Sigh… that poor couple. I hope they didn't sign a contract.
On the opposite side of the shop are two men playing cards. There’s a few generations between them and this makes me smile. It's a charming sight, really. I usually hate playing cards, but I find myself wanting to join them as they are genuinely enjoying each other’s company - smiling, laughing and carrying on.
I look outside on this lovely day and see a hairy man crossing the street who looks like a wookiee in an orange t-shirt. He crosses the street a few times and I wonder where he's going - I hope he's not craving Caribou coffee because he kind of freaks me out. I expect to see a trash can that resembles r2d2 follow him down the street. Luckily he keeps walking and I don't see him again. Spring hath sprung dude, it's time to shed the fur.
Hello - hottie spotted at 2:00 outside on the patio! Tall, handsome, nicely put together and the perfect shades. He walks out of view and I somewhat croon my neck to see where he went. A bright ray of sun light shines down and I see mecca. A table of good-looking 30 something men! It’s like I’ve stumble upon the weekly council meeting of eligible bachelors, where I imagine they discuss such topics like where to meet women, how to not come across as a douche bag when approaching women, and how to fulfill all of our womanly desires. If only there was such a council, the world (at least our world as women) would be a much happier place. Before I can think about how to spark some attention from this group, the council meeting adjourns and the men start to part ways. Damn… I have to be quicker on my feet.
I notice that many of the young women coming and going in the Caribou have sassy hair. I remember the days of being young, rolling out of bed after a night of drinking and still looking fab. When does the cruel reality hit us as we get older?... when you no longer even think about leaving the house without showering and applying mascara, lip gloss, and a retinol treatment. These young Lakewood women are like spring – fresh and lively. Bitches.
While I’ve somewhat struck out yet again this week in the guy department, I realize this little experiment isn’t just about attractive guys in coffee shops. I’m beginning to feel like I'm archiving the happenings of our modern cultural centers. Someday, my blog will be discovered by historians as data floating around in space... and they will use it to study the social habits of our time (ok, so that's a bit much). Simply, I'm a people-watcher, and this blog is a great outlet.
Looking outside at the beautiful day, I wonder why I'm spending all this time indoors. I see two runners run past the window, and I long to be with them. Time to hit the road so I can hit the pavement.