I swore that 2013 would be the year of "Enjoying the Decline." The timing was pretty good, because my Wyoming expedition, a crazy 3 month work schedule covering security gigs for a friend of mine, and the completion of writing the book "Enjoy the Decline" all came to a close in early January. Now with adequate funds, hopefully an increase in future sales, and a supportive and much appreciated readership, I can for the first time in my life "enjoy" life by not working and taking a full year off.
Just one problem.
You ever try to just "not work?"
Especially after 20 years of non-stop work, and go go go, and project after project? It's impossible to turn off.
This is a problem "to have" admittedly, but it doesn't make it any easier to resolve the problem. I've tried playing World of War Craft and have succeeded in leveling up my character. I force myself to sleep in till 8AM. I run, I work out, anything to keep the mind focused, but in the end, everyday, my "chores" are done by noon and there's still 10 hours to kill in the day.
Thus I decided to do something I would normally have never considered - explore the "coffee shop culture" by visiting a new coffee shop in Minneapolis everyday.
This is not out of boredom, but rather curiosity and a bit of recouping youth (it's also an exercise in discipline to see if I can force myself to visit a culture I stick out like a sore thumb in) Without going into a long geographic lesson, there is an area to the south west of downtown Minneapolis that houses the hip "uptown" area and to the south of that is a long swath of a neighborhood with old homes. This area of MInneapolis is covered in a canopy of trees and pockmarked by small little shops and stores, notably restaurants, coffee stores, record shops, and bicycle repair joints. While I've driven through it, I've never participated in it by walking into these stores, patronizing them, or seeing what the culture is like. In my college days this is where are the "kids" hung out or "went to get coffee." I was too busy with school and work to ever "attend." But now I have the time and ability to observe this culture. Not that these reconnaissance missions will be my best writing, but just a break from economics and lighter fare.
I've visited two coffee shops and already I can tell you every stereotype and prejudice you've ever had about "liberal coffee-goers" is correct. My first coffee shop was a run down hovel. The art up on the wall was crap. The male patrons were weak and effeminate. All of them looked like Seth Rogen with their beards. Some were congregating in another room talking about "setting up a commune" or something akin to that. The barista's were two young ladies, not a molecule of make up on them, and they were dressed in the color of coffee - drab brown. The music was nothing I've ever heard and it was horrible. It wasn't because it was "new age," I don't mind that. It was just poor musicians playing bad music. I was the only one with a Microsoft operating system.
The second coffee shop I'm in right now. This is a bit more cozy, it was obviously built on the side of an old brick building as an afterthought, so it is long and narrow, and the wall is adorned with decent art, but also old license plates from different states. The music is better, and the clientele is a bit more interesting. I am still the only person here with a Microsoft operating system, but there are two couples with their quiet and well-behaved children. The men are again effeminate. And there is a middle aged woman taking notes on a paper notepad. I don't know what she is doing, but I surmise it isn't calculus or an engineering project. It would be hypocritical of me to mock her (or anybody else here) if they fashion themselves "writers," but that's what I'm going to do anyway. I will give this middle aged woman credit though, she is dressed and done up better than all of her 20 something female counterparts. There is also a hipster guy looking shopping for skinny jeans on his Apple computer. I'm not making it up because Die Hipster took a picture of such a phenomenon. It just dawned on me I'm probably the first person to ever carry a gun into this store...matter of fact, that could be said about all the coffee stores I presume
The staff is actually a lot better, not that the first coffee store had poor service, they're just a bit classier. Two younger fellas, but they are dressed sharply (one with a bow tie) and seem a bit more personable. I didn't interview them about their lives however.
And just like that it's 11AM. An hour left to do grocery shopping and then, again, I will be done with my chores around noon.