Finding Common Ground(s) in Hipsterland
Something about the time change had me toe-up last week. I mean that literally. I napped a lot (more than usual), plus I had a cold. Between the cold and the snow and the napping, I was sort of a mess. By the time Saturday rolled around, I just needed a few minutes of fresh air, and to stop watching The Office on Netflix for a hot minute, so I went down to a local coffee place to treat myself and maybe write a little.
I had only been in this place once before to get someone else a latte, and hadn't really taken it in I guess. Did i say it was a coffee place? Actually, they say they are a "lifestyle design shop and specialty coffee bar." But do they have hot chocolate?
It is the kind of trendy place that gets away with not putting money into a building by saying that it appreciates the deconstructed nature of the bricks. Industrial chic is what I think they call it. Whomever "they" is. This is the kind of place that seems to be required on every corner in Brooklyn now as a rebellion against the bigger chain places. They charge more, and you wait longer, and in the end, no matter what anyone says to the contrary, it all tastes the same to me.
The dress code in these micro brew/coffee experience type places is a big ol' middle finger to the beautiful culture: make yourself intentionally slightly less beautiful with oversized glasses, maybe some kind of big scarf – extra points for a shawl or poncho – and a turn of the century boot that someone in Ireland probably wore on a ship to the US to escape the potato famine. The more your hair is in your face, falling out of a loose Katnis Evergreen braid, the better.
If you’re a man and you look eversoslightly homeless, you earn a bonus round. It obviously goes without saying that if you’re wearing tight jeans with the cuffs rolled up, low top Chuck Taylor's, a collarless Amish field shirt, a waistcoat, a women’s cold war-era camo canvas jacket, and someone's great-grandfather's pocket watch, you are actually the mayor of this place. You will be bowed to, and maybe have your ironic scull ring kissed.
I’ve been here less than the amount of time it takes to sing happy birthday twice (I know, because I do it in my head to keep myself from running out of the door), and I hate everyone and everything. I outwardly hate the overpriced trendy merchandise, which I absolutely secretly love and want all of. I hate the gaggle of college freshmen boys that are all dressed exactly the same, and look so uncomfortable, and who are being as loud and obnoxious as any other gaggle of college freshmen boys. So many patchy handlebar mustaches. I hate that this place doesn’t have decaf lattes, but they can do something called an “ole”, which, as it turns out, is Spanish for “lukewarm coffee in a mug with a tiny finger hole, with slightly warmer milk bubbles poured on top.”
I start regretting not just going to DeFazio's instead. They understand my mood based on the gauge of hoodie I'm wearing that day.
As I go to order my drink, I kind of want to hate the lady who takes my order and the guy next to her whose face and tight-ish plaid shirt say he’s young, but greying hair and beard make me wonder how grey my beard would be if I ran a coffee place like this.
Annoyingly, they turn out to be very nice and explain things to me when I ask with a stinky side eye, “So like, what’s the point of the obsessive pouring water over the coffee grounds?”
Kindly, and somewhat enthusiastically, they tell me how each bean needs to be cut in a certain way, to a certain ground-diameter, and that way the special water heated to a special temperature lets the coffee really bloom – giving a rich and smooth flavor. Or something. The blank stare looking back at them must have said it all, because plaid shirt guy said, “Yeah I know…seems like a lot. We’re just excited about what we do.”
Oh, wait! I get that!
I feel like I spend half my day explaining why I do this dumb blog when it gives me such indigestion. I feel like I’m cutting my beans in a jet engine and pouring 100.6 degree purified water over them in a filter made of children’s laughter, but it’s possible that everyone just thinks that it tastes like lukewarm coffee in a mug with a tiny finger hole with slightly warmer milk bubbles poured on top.
And I don’t care. I’m really excited about what I do.
I sort of want to sit the slightly homeless looking coffee place owner guy down and ask if he went through a trial and error period. Did he have a hard time with his vision like I am? Did he make coffee anyway even if he wasn’t really sure how? Or did he wait until he had all the answers and was an expert? How did he make a business out of something creative? How much Chinese food did he eat when he was depressed about things not going the way he wanted?
Did he need an agent? What did he say when everyone said that there were enough coffee places in town? Or that the townies here might not *quite* get the sensual experience of buying overpriced lotions and things with birds printed on them?
How do you get people to pay you to be really excited about what you do?
Asking myself these questions as I sip my lukewarm coffee in a mug with a tiny finger hole with slightly warmer milk bubbles poured on top, I've stopped hating on everyone in there. For some reason, this place is where they go to feel at home. That's pretty awesome. Maybe I'll write a book that feels that way for someone too. I hope that person is sporting an ironic beard and a women's camo jacket.
I ended up liking my Ole, by the way. And I mentally apologize to the Hipsters nearby for all of the terrible things I thought about them. I think I'm just mad that I don't have the motor skills to pull of that sort of dead inside/"I spent 3 hours doing this look to look like I don't care" makeup. Plus, I can't find my oversized fake glasses so I'm looking pretty weird with nothing obscuring my face.
I'm going to just keep working on being excited about what I do, and maybe get a scone.
Oh for Christ's sake...if not for my sake...for Christ's sake.