Coffee Break Anyone?

I used to be a smoker but like most Americans, I quit for health reasons. I don’t miss smelling like an ashtray but I miss that time alone.

In truth, I ended up trading one habit for another, now my habit is coffee. This gave me back that quiet time to reflect and be alone, or time chatting with a close friend. I believe what we call a ‘coffee break’ is more of a state of mind. We use coffee and smoking as a way to excuse ourselves from work, or whatever the daily drudgery is.  It’s think time, or relax time, or get out of the cubical time. Maybe for mothers it’s their get away from the kids time or grown up time. Many times, I see mothers sitting with their kids while they have their coffee, making it quality family time.

Any day of the week you can walk into a coffee-house and see droves of people lining up to get their fix. Some sit and stay a while but some rush in and rush back out to meet whatever deadline is pressing on them. In my local coffee house we have a young lady that spends an entire day people watching and knitting. You can run in at anytime and see her in the same spot knitting and chatting with whichever local happens to sit across from her.

During the afternoon you’ll find small groups of people in a business meeting. I’ve seen employee interviews take place, and once even overheard a couple planning their divorce and custody arrangements. Evening time is more of a happy hour, where friends gather after work for a break before going home. Often you’ll find a group discussing their favorite novels in book clubs.

Most days every seat is taken with readers holding open books or writers with open laptops. I often wonder what they’re writing. What comes into their imaginations while taking in the wafting aroma of fresh ground coffee and toasting pastries? I think the man in the corner is writing about an underwater adventures or cowboys and Indians? The woman next to him is working on stories of the broken-hearted? Maybe the mother across the room is journaling her fight to keep cancer at bay and the man next to her is an ex-soldier documenting his time overseas.  Any one of these people could be a scholar studying law or technology, researching ways to save the world or at least make it easier to live in.

All of this happens around me while I enjoy my coffee break. Their tasks could be as varying at the drinks they order.  How about a venti, grande, tall, Frappuchinno with a floating shot of espresso, or a decaf, soy, non-fat, pumpkin, cinnamon, mocha. Do you like tea? Green tea, black or passion? Add lemonade to that?

My personal favorite is a triple, grande, skinny, vanilla latte. It’s my thinking drink, my break away from the tedium drink, and my way to relax drink.

17 thoughts on “Coffee Break Anyone?

  • I was right there with you! Hands around my cup, steam tickling and warming the bottom of my nose, while I watched and wondered.

    This was a great article Dayner! Kudos!

    • Thank you! That means a lot coming from such an excellent writer like you.

      I’m off to smell the roses… 🙂

  • Now I want a coffee and a cigarette. I had the wonderful opportunity of living in Spain for a year, where they smoked in their coffee shops. Simply the best combination ever. The best writing I’ve ever cranked out happened in those coffee shops.

    Now, of course, I’m too old for either nicotine or large amounts of caffeine. But I do love me some decaf mochas! They relax me, even if my 4yo is head-butting me while I drink them. It’s an association thing.

    • Decaf! OMG, my friend Jennifer is a coffee Nazi. If someone in the drive-thru ahead of her orders a decaf coffee she screams at them through the window. “Why are you wasting my time with decaf–move along! Some of us need REAL coffee!”
      Yes, that’s a true story. I have had to sink to the floor boards many times to hide in shame. 🙂 LOL

      Spain sounds lovely *sigh* so does a cigarette…
      I quiet when I got pregnant. Of course, if I tried to smoke now it would only make me sick.

      • I laughed out loud when I read the part about your coffee Nazi friend. You tell her I’d love more than anything to drink a real coffee but it makes me barf. I am old and my body is broken. Believe it or not, the CHOCOLATE in my mocha is barely tolerable. And I’m only in my 30s! Old age is not going to be nice to me. And neither will you, since you hate old ladies! LMAO.

      • Yeah, those 40’s aren’t real nice either. Everything starts to sag and droop. Even little things like eyelids, jawlines, and that turkey thing under your neck! Not to mention HEARTBURN.

      • I’m sure you’re right, Kirsten.
        What’s that old saying (pun intended) ‘you are what you hate’…something like that 🙂

      • Ah yes, Dayner, I came upon this in my Buddhism research – the world is your mirror!

  • Great article! You could have been at our local Starbucks. Your descriptions match many of the locals I see (except the knitter) when I take Mom for coffee every Tuesday and Thursday. I mostly watch her watching people there. We both have decaf (yes, I’m sorry Nazi friend of Dayner), but at 61 and 87, we can’t do regular coffee after noon. I loved your imagined topics for each of the writers there. Very nice work Dayner!

  • I like to write at the coffee shop, pen and notepad in hand. Nothing like the sweet aroma of coffee to get the brain juices flowing.

  • GREAT article, Dayner! Congratulations! I’m not as much of a coffee shoppe person as I used to be because I work from home and my breaks are usually to the beach.

    But I love me some good Port City Java iced coffee when it’s hot, which it probably will be here in another couple of weeks.

    I do always wonder what people are writing on their laptops in coffee shops though.

    • We used to have a couple of really great little mom & pop coffee houses here but Starbucks killed them all.
      Do you all have Peet’s on the East Coast? They have the best tea. I love the Jasmine Lime Tea Cooler-yummy! It’s great on a hot summer day.

      • Yes to Peet’s in Boston, but not down here. We are Port City Java and proud of it…

        but I gotta admit jasmine lime tea cooler sounds pretty good.

  • I love your essay! Excellent!! I especially love how you stop and think about what the others are doing in the coffeehouse. I do the same thing! Sometimes I write characters out of them…

    You know, I used to write in the coffeehouse and then it got to be too distracting. But I went yesterday and was able to sit and write for about 15 min and actually got something decent (what I posted yestetday). Maybe I should go back!!

    Congrats again on getting pub’d!

  • How did I miss this post? Lovely essay, Dayner.

    I’m not a coffee drinker (or smoker) and I can’t stand the smell of coffee, so I don’t spend much time in coffee shops, but I do love to people watch. What writer doesn’t? Too bad there aren’t more tea shops.

    • Thank you!

      Most teas shops serve coffee too, I guess there’s no way to escape the smell.

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