come together, right now, over coffee.

Ezequiel and I arrived at Mochas! around 12:30 p.m. I ordered a Green Goddess smoothie, a coconut macaroon, and sat at the first booth by the window. Every time that I’ve been to Mochas! it’s been busy – like no seating available busy – and that was the case again today. According to my administrative assistant, Brenda, Mochas! is the place to be. Her granddaughter swears by this place – and you can always trust a 17 year old girl when it comes to cute coffee shops, right?

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Ezequiel got to work right away reading a book about Asian American college students for his position as Assistant Hall Director at the University of Portland. I waited for my smoothie before settling in and observing the happenings around me.

There are three pairs and three solos at Mochas! this afternoon. For the pairs, we have two girls at the table in the center of the shop eating lunch and chatting quietly to one another, a couple two booths back from us that arrived at the same time we did with backpacks and books, and work sprawled across the table, and the last pair is a cute young couple. I assume they’re in high school or are in their early college years. They share drinks and conversation, but have no work in front of them.

The three solos are all working on something. A young blonde sits on the couch along the wall with her coffee on the end table next to her and a computer on her lap. An older man sits at a two-top along the back wall with his computer open, books open, and headphones in. The third is a young man, I assume to be in his late twenties. He sits at the two-top to the left of the booth that Ezequiel and I occupy. He sips his coffee slowly and barely looks up from his phone. He is either really into social media, is reading a great article, or is busy responding to emails. I don’t think it’s the latter.

One of the baristas shouts a drink order “Shot in the Dark!” and then proceeds to sing the lyrics “and you’re too late” and I can’t help but laugh to myself.

Three more people walk in and join the couple two booths back. There’s now five in that small booth and I think about how uncomfortable they must be as I have my legs sprawled out on the bench I’m in and my back against the window – ahhh! This is the life!

The five in the booth are talking loudly now but I can’t make out anything that they’re saying.

A barista brings a bagel out to the girl sitting on the couch but it wasn’t hers, and she realizes it belongs to one of the girls from the five in the booth group. The girl who the bagel belongs to is now sharing her experience taking Spanish classes loudly enough for the whole cafe to hear.

The baristas are talking about spring weddings and a slow love song plays on the radio.

A man in a hat and a flannel walks in carrying the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. He walks back out with a car seat and no baby, and I’m really confused. Do I get up and search for this child? Is there a daycare here? Does he own the place? What’s happening? I turn to look out the window after him in time to see he and a woman putting the child in the car seat. There must be a back door or something. I’m still confused. They get in a car and drive away leaving me with so many questions.

A young woman walking a dog catches my eye now. I see way more dogs here than I do in Vermillion…weird.

American Pie now plays on the radio and I sing along and Ezequiel laughs at me a little.

The hippiest camper van that I have ever seen rolls up to the drive-through window and I am ecstatic. I just love camper vans…and hippies.

A man who looks like he just strolled off the golf course walks up and orders an ice cream cone, and I am reminded of my summers in Northern Michigan. Tourist towns don’t change whether you’re in Michigan or Colorado. You still see the same demographic of people.

A young man in a beanie, ripped jeans, and a wire wrapped stone necklace walks in and joins the five in a booth group forcing them to pull up a two-top from the center of the room. They’re talking about religion so I’m not sure if they’re meeting for class or church or if they’re just a deeply philosophical bunch of people.

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The cute couple in the back leaves and they’re replaced by an old man with a white beard who orders a cup of chocolate ice cream and takes the booth directly behind me.

A guy with camo shorts and a checkered button up shirt rides his skateboard outside. He ties his dog to the bench by the door, comes in for a drip coffee, and leaves.

I decide to order a veggie sandwich for lunch and am told that Joel is a nice name by the cashier!

OK, I lied earlier. I am now looking at the cutest little boy ever. He is wearing a fleece hoodie with bears on it and he is climbing on chairs at the empty table next to me while his parents order at the counter. He keeps coming up to me and pointing at his wrist and saying “hurt”, so I ask him what happened and he repeats “hurt” over and over to me. His father comes over and tells me that he was poked by a cactus a month ago and has been whining about it since. I laugh and tell the little boy that it will feel better soon. The dad scoops up the little boy and take him with him so that he doesn’t have to keep coming over and bothering us…little does he know that they’re not a bother at all. They leave and I wave at my new pal through the window.

The old man behind me is now listening to something about Donald Trump on his tablet…without headphones…I do not want to hear this. Byyyyyyeeee!

Come Together by The Beatles plays and I think about my annoyance toward the man behind me. I try to let it go. No harm Joel, come together!

I start reading my new book – it’s one of the inspirations for writing this blog actually – and let myself sink into it.

Sweet Home Alabama is now playing and it feels like summer in this quiet coffee shop.

I continue reading allowing myself to stop only to listen to the songs playing on the radio and the sound of beans being ground or smoothies being blended. Brown Eyed Girl plays followed by Running Down a Dream.

I finish chapter one of my book and decide it’s time to move. Ezequiel and I leave Mochas! and head back to the apartment. This is episode three of The Flannelogues.

-JD

a cup on campus

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It’s Hump Day – and it sure does feel like it.

Today was my second day of student staff training and I couldn’t be more proud of my team. We are still working out some kinks, and putting the finishing – more like ongoing – touches on our conference preparation items so it’s been a little slow going.

Good thing there is a new cafe on campus – it’s also a bar, so that’s a huge plus!

I was in dire need of some coffee after today’s work day was done so I thought I would go check out the ICE Lab Cafe and see what it was all about. I invited some of my student staff to join me in hopes that some good conversation would arise so that I could write this post. It was a good thing that they came with, because there were only two other people in the cafe who were tucked in the corner, and that would not have made for a great story.

We arrived around 4:15pm and grabbed seats at the bar. It was a warm one today, so we all ordered iced coffees.

I used this opportunity to get to know my student staff on a more personal level – seeing each other outside of training means we can be a bit more relaxed. We chatted about sports, working out (two of them were headed to the gym after), travel, coffee preferences, and local drinks. We struck up conversation with the people behind the bar and asked them about their menu, what their favorite drinks were, and an assortment of other random questions.

We found out that all of the ingredients used in the small menu at the ICE Lab are locally grown. The drinks are from local breweries and distilleries, and the cafe as a whole is built and designed by local artists, entrepreneurs, and campus partners. The bar stools were hand crafted by a local artisan. The wall above the bar is apparently made out of wood taken from a climbing wall or some sort of gym floor or other recreational equipment. The ICE stands for Innovation, Creation, and Entrepreneurship. How freaking cool?!

After a short stay at the cafe and all of our drinks had been finished we split ways for the evening. I still had work to do and I didn’t want to take up all of my students’ night, but I did enjoy the company, and it was nice to end our day in such a positive and relaxing manner.

I am looking forward to stopping by again in hopes that more people will be there and I can get some good content for another post. I am also dying to try something from their food menu too!

More to come from the ICE Lab Cafe. This is episode two of The Flannelogues.

-JD

love at first sip

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