Episode 1: The Bean Coffeehouse & Eatery

I am excited to be embarking on a fun new creative journey – especially one that involves both conversation and coffee, storytelling and sipping.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from my first visit to a coffee shop with the purpose of listening – read eavesdropping – to the sounds, seeing the sights, and engaging in the environment that is coffee shop so that I could turn around and write about this experience. But I was pleasantly surprised with this inaugural outing.

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It’s a Sunday afternoon and I am still unfamiliar with what the lunch crowd looks like here in Gunnison, so I waited it out and arrived at The Bean Coffeehouse & Eatery – I chose this as the location of my first post since it has the same name as my favorite coffee shop in Vermillion – around 3:30. I am immediately greeted by two cute baristas behind the counter. They both say hello cheerfully as if on cue. I quickly realize that I am the only person in the building. No wonder they both greeted me the second I walked in the door. I ask them if they’re still open, suddenly less confident and excited about the first run at this project. They respond back to me in unison once again “yes, just slow”.

I choose the long table by the window, drop my bag, and go up to the counter to order my dark roast and white chocolate macadamia cookie. As I sign for my purchase, I notice Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson is playing on the radio and I regain excitement as this is one of my favorite songs and it’s the perfect way to start The Flannelogues.

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A man, about sixty, walks in and orders a small cappuccino. He takes his cup to go and sits on the bench outside, on the opposite side of the window from me. He takes one sip and walks across the street.

A few minutes go by with no activity and I look around the building, taking it all in.

A large, long-haired, college-aged man who seems to know the baristas walks up to the counter and instantly engages them in conversation. Yes, give me something good! I think to myself. He chats them up about the hangover he’s nursing and how he has the shakes as a souvenir from his escapades the night before. They talk about breweries and distilleries in the area as The Sound of Sunshine plays and I can’t help but think that this is an accurate portrait of summer in a tourist town.

A middle aged woman enters, and asks for a blonde latte and the baristas don’t know exactly what she is ordering. Upon further questioning, they decipher her drink order and she enjoys it at the counter while flipping through a magazine.

The Sound of Sunshine ends and I smile as Stubborn Love by the Lumineers is the song that follows. The Lumineers are my favorite group and I sing along in my head.

Hangover man finally leaves – apparently he didn’t know the baristas because they both asked each other how they knew him – and in walks a cute young couple. The woman walks straight back to the restroom while the gentleman orders a drink with an extra shot claiming that it’s been a long day. The girlfriend returns, orders her drink, and walks to the shelving unit behind me to peruse the local handmade goods on display.

I peer outside the window just as a man on a bike rides past. He has a leashed dog in each hand and is not holding onto the handlebars. What a sight to see!

The couple leave after perusing the shop for a few minutes and after he realizes his drink isn’t iced. He whined about it a little, but proceeded to walk out the door reassuring the baristas that it was OK as they offered to make him a new drink AKA pour his over ice.

After just an hour at The Bean, I’m alone again aside from the baristas. I decide to pack up and go since this project is based on conversation and stories, and in an empty coffee shop there is an obvious lack of both. As I pack up a man who looks slightly older than me walks in and grabs a table along the wall. He is new to town too. I can tell because he asked for the WiFi password just like me. Only newbies ask for the WiFi passwords in towns this small, regulars just know.

I grab my bag, hand my mug to one of the baristas and say goodbye. This is episode one of The Flannelogues.

-JD

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