You’re in Athens, GA. The streets are narrow and crowded, and you’re driving your “great college car,” dubbed so by your friends because the power locks don’t work and the clear coat is chipping, which really is a great college car. It’s sturdy (except for the front bumper) and reliable, and cute enough. And it’s name is Batman the Dragon, so there.
So, you’re driving, and you drive right past the little coffee shop you’ve heard so much about. And you turn around.
That sounds simple, turning around, but it isn’t. You get honked at as you circle in a market parking lot, and you end up driving behind the building, but you get out okay, no worse for wear other than a bit of stress. You see this coffee shop, so quaint and warm looking, and then you see the tiny, minuscule, ridiculously small driveway that you’ll have to traverse in order to get to their parking lot.
So you steal yourself, take a deep breath, and you and batman the dragon squeeze into the tiny gravel back lot, packed with other “great college cars” belonging to kids just like you, meeting a friend, doing their homework, or getting their caffeine fix (sometimes all three). You find a spot (after much frustrating maneuvering), and step out of the car, clutching a novel like it will protect you, because, if you’re honest, you’re a little nervous.
You’ve never been to 2 Story Coffee House before, and you’re by yourself, and to be quite frank, even though you are technically a Sophomore, going into new places alone brings back the panicky feeling of the first day of freshman year.
But you take a deep breath, walk up the stairs to the back door, past an intellectual looking couple who is SO judging you for your deer-in-the-headlights expression, and inside, where the coffee smell hits you.
You’d like to believe that the coffee smell eases your anxiety, but it’s not so. The coffee house appears to have been a home in a former life, and is a bit convoluted, filled with rooms and stairs and students, who, like the couple outdoors, you are SURE can see your fear.
But another deep breath, and you step up to the counter, where a reassuringly friendly coffee guy and an obvious regular advise you to just try the coffee this time, nothing too fancy. So you do. And then you answer “both” when the nice coffee guy asks if you want cream or milk, and he has to repeat himself because you were expecting cream or sugar…
and then you stand there, expecting to be handed coffee until the same nice guys tells you that if you find a place to sit he’ll bring you your coffee when it’s ready.
So you wander about five feet away, really too scared to go much farther, not sure if there are rules for what rooms are for who or what uses. But you find a small table, and, even though you have to pee very badly, you wait, because you don’t want to miss it when your coffee is ready.
Finally your coffee comes, and you go to the bathroom, but it’s full, so you sugar your coffee instead, spilling in the process, fumbling, flustered.
Finally you’re settled at a table with your coffee, and your reading assignment for creative writing (your favorite class), and you let the coffee smell and the beautiful words on the page and the pleasantly familiar 90’s music playing in the background lull you back into a sense of contentment.
It’s alright. You have coffee, and confidence, and you are strong. A coffee house is nothing to be afraid of. You can handle this.
And then you realize that other people feel this way too, flustered and awkward, the first time they go new places by themselves. Some even avoid sitting alone at a cafe at all costs just for this reason. So then you feel a little proud, because you did it. All alone.
And then you blog about it.
And go back to your assignment, and write the best damn piece your creative writing professor has ever seen.
if you enjoyed my little Athens adventure you may also like my friend at http://almostathenian.wordpress.com/