Thursday, January 3, 2008

A bad surprise

My favorite coffee shop is the one on the square. I love the "regulars" who greet each other with big smiles and even bigger slaps on the back. I love the old, worn, blackened-with-age counter and the courthouse rising above my table at the window.

But then there was the upstart, the place where my daughter and I always run into the kids her age--in baggy pants and extremely painful-looking piercings and hair like a hat that hides their eyes and their intentions.

Did you notice I said "was"? I went over there today because I'd had some errands in that part of town and I wanted to get some work done outside our house.

I saw a truck at the curb. There was a microwave and an ice cream freezer on the back, boxes of cups and paper goods on the ground beside the back tires. I thought they must be restocking.

Then I opened the door and stood there, for probably ten seconds. No one spoke, though there were probably ten people, pulling down posters and paintings and fixtures, packing away more paper goods, pushing chairs and tables to one side.

Finally, a guy said, "We're closed."

I still stood there because the girl and I had stopped at that shop several times in the past three weeks. The square was traffic-riddled, and she's particularly fond of this shop's coffee. The place had been filled, each time. I needed a large table to work on line edits. I had to juggle pages until one opened up. We needed a large table for her to haunt Facebook and me to work. Again, we had to wait.

When a Starbucks opened nearby last fall, we worried about this shop. Goodness knows, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling at a glimpse of that handsome green sign through traffic, but this place is part of our short past here. The girl started studying there when she moved in at school. It's in her first memories of our new home, of her new life as an adult.

All that went through my head, and finally, I backed out, thinking of the one young woman who happened to work most often when I was there--and then she came out.

I asked if they were quitting. She said that she and the others who'd worked there had been assured they were not, just a week ago. She said, "They lied."

What a bad time to lie.

I wish her and all the others who worked there good luck in finding new jobs, and I hope my girl and her friends and all those kids in baggy pants and strange pins and shiny, but unmanageable hair, find a new place to drink coffee and play board games and study.


Elaine Williams said...

HI Anna: Sorry to hear about your little coffee shop, I wish I had one like that here where I live! I finally figured out how to link you to my page, so it's done. You're linked. Don't you feel special? :-) Elaine

Jen said...

Oh, I so hate to hear about the coffee shop, Anna. It's hard to see an independent go under because you know it's someone's dreams and investment and hard work. Makes me sad.

Anna Adams said...

Elaine--I do feel special! Thanks for linking to me. I did love the coffee shop. Luckily for me, we still have my favorite, but I feel really bad for the folks who worked there. What an awful start to the new year.

Jen, I agree with you. Not sure if I mentioned this in the post, but the shop's owner is managing the Starbuck's nearby. You know that's as bitter as a coffee bean. I drove past the old place yesterday. Someone inside was mopping, back and forth, slowly, a silent dirge.

Anna Adams said...

Good grief, Elaine! I thought I'd linked to you two months ago. But you're not there! I'll go fix that right now! If this thing sported emoticons, I'd put in a nice red face!