Wednesday, January 20, 2010

sights and sounds in a coffee shop

It's a new place. I've never been here before. I drove by on my way home and had to stop in, from the outside it looked spacious and warm, and people in there looked friendly. I found a table off to the side, not quite in a corner but at least not in at the center of everyone's vision field. i like being in the periphery, where you're there just enough and not too much. I listen to the music playing in the shop. It sounds familiar. I've heard it somewhere. Isn't this Louis Armstrong? Where have I heard this before? Where have I seen this before? These large windows that let you see through everything, this tilting rocking chair in the corner, this soft and bony androgynous face? did they just call her with a boy's name? even the albino coffee drinker looks up from his cup of coffee, the gypsie lady stares out from the dim corner with her charcoaled eyes and hair dyed black so often it's becoming plastic. 3103 is the address. this is a new meeting place for the misfits. a place where you can roll the odds and ends of your self into a ball and strangers can play with it like a cat. a soft, purring, skinny cat. man with a feminine touch.

look at her/him. you can see, he/she is married. she wears a thin wedding band on her finger. who is he married to? ah, another walks in. they greet. they smile warmly at each other. they sit. it is another woman/man. both are painfully beautiful. i'm sitting in a very conspicuous place pretending to be inconspicuous. i wonder, what are they talking about? are they listening to Lous Amrstrong scatting along and wondering where they'd heard this before. they can't be. they're talking. short phrases, accentuated by slight extensions of heads, small smiles, wide smiles, vocalized laughter. i had come to this coffee shop intending to study, but they have captured me, this neither man or woman pair. perhaps they're exlovers. perhaps they're friends who will soon be lovers. they are beautiful, their attention focused entirely on each other. there is a certain magnetism vortexing between them and it easily pulls me in as if i am inconsequential space matter disappearing forever into a black hole.

i could fall in love with one such as these. i could.


  1. Not sure if you wrote this after you got home or inside the coffee shop, but I'll go with the latter guess. Once I brought with me my Moleskine into a coffee shop, sat down, observed and scribbled down my subjective feelings and guesses of the whole scene, including the people around me. After that episode was over, my mind got a bit tired. Yet the most amazing thing is the words that were written down. I feel like if people could write fast enough while thinking, observing, and listening, they will be quite surprised at their own perspectives while staring at their thoughts in the form of words on paper.

    But tired or amazed, I think writing in a coffee shop is a terrific experience to have. I like this entry because I could picture the scene around the writer... and the writer herself.

    For some reason, among your entries, those in English make me feel warmest... or closest. To me the way you present your thoughts and emotions (or speaking more loosely, the way you are) is different in English than in Vietnamese. I'm not sure how, but at some point maybe I'll be able to understand it. Or at least, develop some kind of theory myself :)

  2. Dear Lila Thanh,

    I agree, and I concur. :)