9 AM, Coffee Shop: Slice of Life 6/31 #sol17

slice of life

I’m going old school this morning. Unplugged. It’s just me and my notebook. I turn my phone off. I keep my laptop in my bag.

I’m sitting in the local coffee shop, which looks and sounds exactly like a coffee shop should. Exposed stone walls, hardwood floor, mismatched tables and chairs and china cups. There is local honey for sale and handmade soaps and art by local artists. Photos, sketches, paintings, all with optimistic price tags. $295.00 for a pastel drawing of a deer with flat, black-button eyes. The artist has added a 50% off sticker, and then, in larger letters, “OR MAKE OFFER.”


There is light jazz playing. I wish it were Jack Johnson. Nothing says indie coffee shop to me quite like Jack Johnson.

The coffee isn’t special, but it is good. Hot, extra foamy just the way I like it.

I eavesdrop, like I always do in a coffee shop.  There is a woman wearing a baseball cap and cowboy boots and she’s talking ranchy stuff–hitching trailers to pick-up trucks and birthing calves.

Everyone who comes in has to talk about the weather. It’s spitting snow, and the wind is picking up. Wyoming weather, I call it, because as far as I can tell, the wind is always at gale force in Wyoming. The forecast is for winds at a steady 30 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. The front door blows open at one point and blasts us with cold air. An old man who’s never taken off his coat and hunting cap shuffles to close it, muttering under his breath about ghosts in these old buildings.

My notebook captures it all.


unatatended children.jpeg


35 responses to “9 AM, Coffee Shop: Slice of Life 6/31 #sol17”

  1. I love going old school once in awhile. This was beautifully captured first in your notebook and also here. I felt like I was sitting right beside you eavesdropping on all that was happening around you in the coffee shop. I love your last line too.

  2. Love this characterizations in this post. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about my schedule this year is that I have one morning where I don’t teach the first period, so I get up & leave the house at my regular time and head for a coffee shop instead. Maybe I’ll have to do more listening next time …

    • How delightful! I love starting my day off at the coffee shop with a little writing. (I also loved having a first period planning period! I needed just a bit more easing into my day before I was “on”!)

  3. It’s funny how one coffee shop can be like another. If I didn’t live in Chicago, I’d swear I’ve been in this coffee shop. You capture it well, the local honey for sale, light jazz, and the mismatched tables. I enjoyed the subtle humor (or at least, I found it funny). My favorite part was the half priced art or make an offer. LOL.

    • It really is funny to me too! I live in western South Dakota, where country music is on permanent blare in every public place and cowboys seem to be the main decorating theme, yet every indie coffee shop I go to could be moved to just about any other place in the country and fit right in!

  4. I felt like I was right there with you! It’s funny how coffee shops are all so different yet the same. I’d love to read more about the old man muttering about ghosts. I think there’s a story idea there…

    • Eavesdropping in coffee shops is one of my favorite things to do! I think my writing students think I’m joking when I say that. But there’s something magical about listening in on other people’s conversations when you’re a writer.

  5. Love the description you gave in your post! Agree with many others that we felt like we were right there with you! I also LOVE Jack Johnson and agree he would have added to the ambiance of the place!! 🙂 Got a good giggle from the picture for the unattended children! Lol.

  6. This slice is a great inspiration for going “old school” because of all that you were able to capture. I felt as though I was sitting right there with you.

  7. Oh, I love this. Your first photo and the description of the price on the art – priceless. It paints a picture perfectly of the artist who values her work, yet needs the money. And, the weather. I think you are having what is coming our way tomorrow. Seriously though, we could just write “weather stories” all week long in eavesdropping people and their talk. Why is it our culture to navigate to weather talk all the time. So interesting. Thank you for painting this picture, Elisabeth. I felt like I was there. 🙂

    • So many people I didn’t know stopped by and interrupted my writing to talk about the weather, LOL. And then shuffled along to the next table to interrupt that person and talk to THEM about the weather too. And in the middle of it, I got a text from my mom…about the weather. It was awesome!

  8. I don’t even like the taste of coffee, but your post has me wishing I did. I’m missing a great deal of atmosphere by not requesting an independent coffee shop (or at least yours) – thank you for painting this picture for a non-coffee shop person like me.

  9. We have that wind here too today, and clouds, sometimes a peek at the sun, then more clouds are blown in. Your shop is not a surprise, but sounds nice. I like that they have local art and honey, always wish I had lots of money so I could help those hopeful artists. Thanks for the peek!

    • I always covet the art in coffee shops too–even the kind of ugly stuff. There’s such hope and bravado in a person who makes something ugly and then offers it to others for the price of my monthly grocery bill!

  10. Local coffee shops are the best. I especially loved your comment about Jack Johnson. One of our kindergarten teachers plays Jack Johnson, everyday, during Writing Workshop. He must emit some strong creative vibes.

    • I don’t like vocal music when I write, but somehow I can always write to Jack Johnson. He’s definitely a favorite at my house. Love that your K teacher is exposing young writers to him early–AND love even more that they are doing Writing Workshop in K. That gives me hope!

  11. Like several others, I love those local coffee shops! You capture it so beautifully, right down to the black button eyes and the half price or make offer sticker. Perfect!

  12. I love the optimistic price tags. One day, Ms. Ellington, you and I need to have a coffee together. In real life. It could be your jazzy haven safe from the blustery winds or my West coast place with wide wood benches to stretch out and get dry from the rain. One day . . .

    • Every time I drive through Wyoming and have to stop for a break, I’m nearly blown over by the winds. Sunny days, cloudy days, winter, summer, doesn’t seem to matter. I *loathe* the wind.

  13. What a wonderful picture you painted, I’m right beside you wondering about that man who didn’t take his coat off. And that wind! Thank goodness for the warm coffee!

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