Little Shop of Solitude… Sometimes

An exercise in Wallflowering
(originally journalled in March 2018)

A place I’d like to have to myself… but alas that’s not the case. It seems everyone wants to be here. At least all of Vinings’ finest Lululemon-wearing soccer moms want to.

This is part coffee shop, part bookstore… together making a whole lot of cuteness… quaintness… a perfect write-space… if it actually had more spaces to write.
This place is small.
We are easily deceived by the photos on Instagram making this place look as if you can carve out a corner of your own and bask in its bibliophilic glory. But no. It’s like the Tabot’s next door is a house with a sunroom and they converted said sunroom into to a studio apartment where the kitchen, dining room, and lounging space are all one big room divided only by purposeful furniture.
That is Read Shop. It is that small.

There is a “living room” style seating arrangement made up of vintage leather furniture and a marble coffee table with tiered surfaces. It’s the largest seating area in the room, yet close and intimate.
When I arrived, there were two women seated in the chairs and the empty sofa was the only available place for me to “set up shop.”
The other spaces I could use for work would be one of the two bar-and-stools combos by the windows… which were already taken.
I sit my bag on the sofa and the women attempt to lower the volume of their conversation. I feel like such an intruder.

“What’s on your agenda today?” The cheery barista, Justin, asks everyone who walks in.
(he didn’t ask me)
So far a yoga instructor, a student, a corporate type dude, and a programmer/graphic designer willingly verbally dump the contents of their day on the counter for Justin’s pleasure as they wait for their coffee.

Justin seems to know everyone that walks in. Maybe not by name, but I can tell they are “regulars.”
He gave me a loyalty card along with two extra punches as an incentive for my return.
That sort of made up for not asking me about my agenda.
The yoga girl and the student were people of color so I can’t claim that it was “just me.”

This place tries to be a peaceful place to read or work.
If you’re able to drown out the Chatty Cathy’s you’re good to go.
This is clearly the hangout spot for the aforementioned Lululemon Ladies.
Given the sparse square footage of this place, I’m in their conversations whether I want to be or not.
I’d be rich if a dime appeared every time I heard the word “like.”
Even their hair flips are audible.
It appears they’ll be staying here for a while. And I can tell they were here way before me.

I’m beginning to believe the books are part of the decor and the fact that you can buy them is just a bonus.
Book sales cannot be this place’s reason for living.
Coffee and connection is its reason for living.
That alone makes me forgive the Lululemons for squatting.
It probably would be the same anywhere else… it just that we are so close to each other in this room.
Maybe we should be friends?

It sounds like I’m complaining. I’m not. I am merely observing.
The longer I sit here the longer this begins to feel like home.
Like I am sitting in the living room of my own condo, listening to some eclectic jazz, sipping coffee, and letting prose flow from my brain to my fingertips.
Contrary to what you may believe… I actually like it here.
I like the coziness of it.
When folks start clearing out, it is all mine… save for the quick pass thrus of patrons getting their coffee to go.
I’m just sitting on my sofa writing while “Bae” is in the kitchen.

This is not a “get some serious work done” write-space.
This is a “chill, sip coffee, read, muse in your journal, and let your brain breathe” write-space.
This solidifies that I need a table and chair for serious work.
This is also not a place that I would want to “meet” someone for a serious reason like a new project or contract negotiation… But I would meet a friend here to talk and connect.

It’s also not a place you want to go to on an empty stomach.
You come here after breakfast for your second cup of coffee while perusing your latest literary gem.

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