The Coffee House Affair

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
a guy meets a girl in the coffee house. its a complete blunder on the part of the guy as to how he gets noticed. the guy falls for the girl. but life is not as easy as it should be. is it?

Submitted: December 28, 2007

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Submitted: December 28, 2007



The Coffee House Affair

Word has it, “A lot can happen over coffee”. All it takes is two cups of CafFrappe, Enrique Iglesias singing on the jukebox and two strangers. And in my case… well, also not knowing what you’re doing, which is btw the way of life for me.

I am the kind of guy who wants to live life impromptu. Maybe because I don’t want to sit, planning it out, contemplating my brains over it, meanwhile missing all the action out there, or maybe I like the stuff thrown at me. These are two very different situations, given a little perspective.

I love humor. That’s like my lifeline. I can’t stay comfortable in my body, mind & soul if I don’t say something funny. And it isn’t deliberate. I just happen to do it. But generally I end up with my foot in my mouth. And for the very same reason I’m not an out and out “outgoing” person. Let’s put it this way... I m the right guy, at the right place, at the right time... but with the wrong line……….! And that’s how I keep having a “DVu” of having my foot in my mouth.

Not being gregarious couldn’t suppress my love for coffee anyways. Despite my self instilled mild anthropophobia, I‘m always game for a cup of coffee. It’s the ultimate drink... hands down. And now that I am writing, I might as well need it too.

Anyways, it’s cool to have a hangout place. Like Chandler & gang have “Central Perk”, Nemo & his father have the Great Barrier Reef, magicians have the box filled with water or maybe like the dead man has the rope. It makes sense when you try to describe people by their hangouts. In my case it’s a bit different but it does make sense, on a parallel intellect. Lots of people, music and coffee. It’s like having a party where people mind there own business while leaving their uptight self out of the frame and try to relax and enjoy and fight over who’s not going to pay for the coffee today. And that’s exactly why I go to the coffee house, because it’s refreshing. Although, being surrounded by people and more people is a cause of multiple grey matter hemorrhage, I am still there.

But talk about having a conversation with a stranger. For me it’s preposterous to use ‘conversation’ and ‘stranger’ in the same sentence. It’s like being accused of murdering Mahatma Gandhi, that too in your previous life. It’s something that I was never comfortable doing. It’s like asking me technical questions about Rocket Science. I’m an average guy with an IQ of 119 and I didn’t do wonders at school or college. Ask my teachers about the “viva-voce” sessions. It’s actually like looking at a dog’s face and tell what it is thinking about.

I haven’t been able to figure out what took over me that day. That ungodly, merciless, profane day…!

I struck a conversation with the most beautiful angel I’ve ever had good fortune to meet (‘angel’ because ‘thing’ or ‘creature’ sounds dumb to me & as I m a biologically and sexually straight atheist, ‘angel’ refers to a member of the opposite sex of the same species as I am.). Talking to beautiful gals was never a problem for me. I did commendably well at that. But if I have love interests in this beauty in the picture… its mayhem. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that I’m in a close vicinity of something that is as enigmatic as beauty in its true sense, and neither with me not being good looking enough as I pass with comfortable scores on the look scale. It’s purely the fact that good looking girls don’t dig quips. It’s totally relative as I am the cynosure of the whole coffee tale and ladies with looks awe (well its less embarrassing) me from a distance.

But that day it was different, somehow. Defying all the laws of space & time, denying all weak joints my personality has & perhaps dabbed with an Alien Intervention it happened. Maybe I was high because of Marijuana I’ve been smoking, which I’m completely oblivious of. Or maybe it’s a serious personality disorder that had surfaced the very moment. Or may be it was the sudden realization that man has landed on the moon some 37-38 years ago. The 4 years that I spent at engineering college gave me the ability to think about things the way I never did before. Pros & cons, speculations, assessments & rationalizing after having an idea is something I believe everybody should have. It makes life a bit more complicated and challenging. And yeah, more interesting. But here everything failed. My senses were inept to comprehend. Numb…!

She went up to the counter to place the order. Dressed in casual jeans, T-shirt and a jacket with her hair done in the most unprofessional way, she was looking stunning. All the storybook princesses were just bystanders in front of her. I was at the counter too placing my insignificant order. She was so grand that I was having a hard time concentrating on the menu card. I did pretty well looking indifferent though. It was then, I guess, I experienced what love at first sight is all about. I believe everyone knows about Socrates and his whole “second closer look” theory but for that you had to take your eyes off of her.And I found that simply impossible because even when I was looking at the menu I was seeing her all over.

The counter guy was a smartass. At least he thought he is. Counter guys are like government employees who always look out for something they can do to make their jobs a tad fun. In a way it’s like feeding cows ‘brownsugar’ so that they give out coffee. All day at the counter taking orders and serving coffee. They don’t know how they are changing lives. People think a lot while having coffee. And well thinkers are achievers, in a six year old’s body.

She placed her order. Black strong coffee (… Mature…!). Strong coffee is like your mom. One tight slap and you are back in your senses. No alien planets, no imaginary tigers, no waiting for the food to walk into your mouth, no sleeping on the couch. Amazing how something can shake you right off the brink of the sweet imaginary and makes you taste reality. That’s how you cultivate cynicism and name it ‘Experience’.

Time is just a frame of reference. That’s what Einstein told us with his theory of relativity. Cosmically you can’t stop the earth rotating around the sun or sun around the earth (for Church that never gets it straight). But sometimes it slows the things around. That’s just what happened when she was at the counter. Anyways now the counter guy looks at her and starts hitting.

CG (counter guy): “Do you know where these beans come from?”

(Rite… Smooth…..!)

Her (appearing cocky): “The coffee plant.”

Me: “Nice work Sherlock…!”

(Way to go Tiger..! SCORE…. (uggghhhhh))

I have no control on my mouth whatsoever. I never did. It happens all the time. I said something or the other that made history. At least for me, it’s my clinging past that comes up jumping around making me burst in wild laughter. It’s always been something I said. And it is more often than not, SARCASTIC. And I still do talk to people when I‘m absolutely aware of my tongue. I guess Socrates was actually intelligent (in the movie Bill & Ted’s excellent adventures). He never spoke. All he did was Hand Gestures. Genius. Absolute genius. I should be like him.

Her: “excuse ME?”

Me: Amm... Hi..! (With a faint smile, showing more of fear than amusement)

(Yeah right… keep showing teeth. That’ll turnback time.)

Her (smiling): Hey…!

(Oh sweet mother of lord….!!!)

Some things in life never make sense. Maybe they don’t have any explicit reason… yet. For instance, Crop Circles. Nobody knows why they are there, who drew them. Speculations are that primitive humans drew them in order to call the aliens back to earth. As symbols that show their silent submission to the Alien power, or maybe love. Maybe it was just the parking space allotted to the Aliens. Who knows? Bermuda Triangle is a mystery still. The ship sank, airplane crashed, men got lost. Nobody knows why.Highly charged (electromagnetic) clouds or maybe the different climatic conditions at the same region. Or hell, the Ministry of Magic fails to keep the Dark Powers under control. Who knows?

She actually smiled??? That’s an invitation to a conversation. To me? Amusingly true. It’s like allowing a kid to stay up until midnight or giving him a candy whenever he asks for or letting him drive the car. In my case it was something like giving a kid a Flame Thrower to play with.

After a casual exchange of our history and technical details I joined her to her table. She was alone too. Things were just out of order that day. Everything was flowing smoothly. It was so easy being there, talking to her. And all this made it so hard for me. I was getting uncomfortable. The intense simplicity of it all was scary. When you get something a bit too easily, it always puts you in doubt. You might want to rethink the situation. I was terrified, petrified sitting there counting the ticks on the clock. I was calm at the surface but I was all twirling and trembling inside. It was chaos and panic in my mind. Almost the situation I’m in when I’m writing my exams. It was a smooth conversation alright, nothing bizarre. We just talked about our lives with a little retrospection. I’m not verbose by nature. And this sneak peek thing makes me dull. I’m generally not interested in strangers’ lives until and unless she/he is a CIA agent. I don’t care how many siblings you have, that’s your parents’ problem. And your college and career… tell me if you are planning on funding my ingenious plans to devise n plot theories to scare away pigeons. If you really want to talk about it, make it more amusing than Skydiving.

But with her I wasn’t myself. Everything was as captivating as the discovery of Aliens, no matter how lame it is in the real life. We talked for about half an hour.Short sweet serendipity. What I gathered from our small chat was that she’s single, final year (journalism course) intending to be a freelance journalist, and often comes for a coffee and needed a change so chose this coffee place. So far so good. Then we said our bye byes.

Scientists say that being in love is like eating a chocolate. I don’t identify with this theory. For me it was like “Center Shock’, all tangy and electrifying. I can’t really tell if at that stage I was really in love or it was just the excitement of it all. I’ve always been skeptical of love. Maybe I mistook it for infatuation. She was attractive, smart, intelligent and pretty interesting. Maybe it was just attraction. I have a quality of questioning everything. I’m never easily satisfied. I figured that it’s too early to jump to a conclusion. I’ve had my share of tricky relationships. Everything was all exciting and fascinating at first but as the time passed I discovered the bitter truth. I always found myself incompetent of keeping up with the pace of it. Going too fast and sooner or later I lost my grip. Everything went from smooth & happy to bumpy and frightening.

People say that being in love makes you happy. It’s the soul of life. I wonder if you could ever achieve happiness. I don’t think that happiness is a state one can satisfactorily experience. It’s just like being a ‘charged electron’. It takes us to a whole new level of being, exuberant and exhilarated. And then we descend back to being our original self, loosing all the energy we had, to again venture into the horizons in a pursuit of happiness. Love, I think, is not about happiness. Its all about ecstasy and agony. We may experience, what we call, happiness in love but soon it turns into a fight to stay that way. It’s the sheer ecstasy of being ‘happy’ which later induces the agony of the painful realization how fragile it is. A realization that it’s beyond our control. Man has always feared what he can’t control. And sometimes fear gives birth to dogmas. Dogma that being in love makes you happy. Its how man refuses to accept the fatal reality of it and assumes the picture perfect world where he’s happy.

I personally feel that love is a bit under-defined by those who have played arbiter. I believe that love is a challenge in disguise. It’s a challenge that asks submission,perception, multiple viewpoints, acting, a greater understanding of things and most importantly, courage. If you come to think about it, at some or the other point, we need all of the above to have a relationship that works. Be it with the one you are dating or your spouse or friends or family or even your pets. Of course these terms are amazingly relative, but essential.

Time passed on as I lived in confusion. The unexplained was troubling but not as much as the uncertainty of it. I met her a few more times. We gelled well. Our conversations were giving my conviction of love a stronger standing. But I had no idea about the fate of my feelings. She liked me for sure, that I can tell from the way she brightens up on seeing me. And she was always upbeat about our conversations, never reluctant to talk. Maybe being a student of journalism has got something to do with it.The constant head bobs, the small circles her hands made while she talked and the way her questions always intended to dig deep for some kind of catch.

Good journalists are inscrutable. They always seem so interested in the news they are covering, no matter how loathsome and boring it actually is to them. And I figured that it’s a lot confusing to talk to journalists. Even when they look like having a delightful conversation, you keep wondering if they have the slightest amount of interest in it. And well it’s not easy to be at the other end. I wonder how many journalists it would take to change a light bulb. Maybe three. One to change it, other to report it as if it’s the next biggest thing after Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and the third to contemplate & discuss the ways it’ll affect the contemporary world.

I vividly remember the day when we were discussing about our college life.I was in my engineering final year that time. Mechanical engineering. And just so that you know, it’s not a piece of cake. If you are a mechanical engineer, you’ve already experienced the inmate’s life. Imagine a guy surrounded by a whole lot of other guys for three complete years of his college life. How depressing is it? Mechanical engineers are deprived of the pleasure of the company of the opposite sex (in a way… sex at all). It’s hard to keep your sanity. Either you get really desperate or change your preferences or just live cursing the moment you took this as your major. It’s not entirely a shepherd’s fault for the way he is. Lucky for me, I had a girlfriend until recently.

Anyways, while talking she happened to tell me about a guy she knew for some time. They were casual friends, working in the same group and studying in the same college. She told me about how he confessed his having a crush on her. And the way she told all this scared me. My mind was racing into an unknown territory. I was fighting between what could happen and how it is going to affect me. She told me that there’s nothing that will happen between them. “That, we’ll see.” I replied. And just then I had this feeling that it wasn’t very wise of me to say that. Everything felt out of place. It’s just the feeling you have when you are about to get your examination results knowing that you didn’t do any good at it. It was disturbing. I couldn’t concentrate on anything that evening. There was emptiness around me. Maybe it was self-inflicted. But still it was haunting me. I felt a sharp fear that I’m about to loose her, though I haven’t really told her what I felt for her.

The very next meeting came like a hurricane. She admitted that she liked the guy too and they are together, as I said. I regretted my saying that. I thought that I had invited my own bad luck. There were flashes of time where ‘we’ were together. All the while she was describing her latest ‘pick’, I kept having glimpses of what I’d lost. I was trying to show that I wasn’t interested in the ongoing conversation but maybe I was too numb to express anything. It’s hard to fight your own grief. Trying to stay calm and think the right way out is the hardest thing to do when your senses have received a serious jolt of mind numbing pain. How awkward is the feeling of loosing something you’ve never had. I’d just lost the most happening thing in my life, and with it went away the excitement, fun and the need to be there.

Though I was sad about it, I wasn’t completely shattered. After a few minutes I told her that it was my bad luck that the guy was there before me. And that I could’ve been with her. And that would be a completely different picture, even better than the present one. And she just laughed as if I had cracked a hilarious joke. She thought that it was some new gag of mine. And I won’t blame her. That’s what I do. Crack jokes, make people laugh, always there with something so bizarre and so funny that nobody thinks that I can be serious too. They loved me for it and hated me for the same. And I had just joined the group.

Well, life can be cruel in some ways… and crueler in other. You just have to deal with it. And it’s true that life always gives you a second chance. But what if the second chance is not as beautiful as the one I’ve just lost? What if I’m not satisfied then? Why does it have to be that way? Why can’t I have it my way just for this once? Why do I have to loose what I want the most? Is it the way of nature? Do I have to fight for everything? Or do I have to wait in the queue? Or am I being unreasonable?

Sometimes I don’t understand fate & nature. They’re always playing games with me. They’ll throw all the best time in the world for me and suddenly take it away. I can’t see a reason why they want to test me. I guess that’s why people ended up saying, “life’s not fair”.I don’t know why life has to behave in a condescending way, always bringing in a twist.

Or maybe I have something like a luck repellent quality about me which happens to work twice as efficiently when it’s about the love of my life. Or maybe I‘m just the friend material. Yes... yes…! I’m the guy girls love to talk to, about their boyfriends. I’m going to die alone. I can see my relationship pyre. My Epitaph’ll read, “Here lies the guy who almost had the girl…every single time…!”

Or maybe it is what life is all about. Ups & downs, truths & lies, good & bad, yin & yang. Maybe that how we get to live the life we have got. Everything can’t be sweet. It always runs the risk of Diabetes. Life has to be a combination of the sweet and the bitter.

Well whatever the case is, I am trying to move on. It’s not easy, but it’s not that hard either. You just need a diversion. I’ve, for instance, started reading a lot of books, watching a lot of movies. I contemplate about the politics. I look at the way 2582 songs in my playlist play one after the other. I’ve changed my hairstyle 17 times. I have developed a habit of not letting my mind to juxtapose what has happened with what could’ve. Instead I let my mind occupy the “what’s happening” area. I try to take my mind off her, I try not to think about her. It’s not everyday that I fall in love. I’m not exaggerating, but I don’t fall for anyone that easily. And it’s equally hard to rise back up. Because this time, I’m running the risk of falling for someone again and now I’m afraid to hit the ground.

I still go to the Coffee House. I, sometimes, search for her in the crowd. Somewhere in my heart and in my mind, I still love her. This, what I’d like to call ‘The Coffee house Affair’, has left me down under. But the sheer beauty of it has left me amazed. I’ve been through life.
I’ve experienced love.
I’ve touched beauty.
I’ve come to know the dreams.
I’ve lived a fantasy.
I’ve listened to the music of excitement.
I’ve been there.
I’m still there, sipping my coffee…

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