today the coffee shop smells like spoiled milk. the other day it smelled like urine. lots of olfactory pleasures in this joint, and no anonymity. sometimes i just don't want to see anyone i know. must be the northerner in me. i'm not from the north, but north of here. i get my attitude from my mom's side of the family. they give no bullshit. they will take it, but only from people they care about. they keep it real, and they know what's important. you know how goldfish supposedly grow larger the bigger their pond? well, hearts are the exact opposite: the smaller the pond, the more room the heart has to grow in it.
i'm watching a little girl dressed in pink cowboy boots, argyle tights, and a paisley skirt play on the floor. every time i walk past, she stares at me with her barn-owl eyes, and i wink and smile at her. there's something incredibly endearing about little girls with sagging, sloppy ponytails and mismatched outfits. they don't care what anyone thinks, because they don't even know they have that option yet. some adults manage to hold on to that childlike lack of awareness, too. i used to work with one. karen would walk in the door at 6 am, ready to whistle while she worked and tell every single customer to "have a beautiful day." i came in ready to eat crumbs from the muffin box and go home. we didn't work well together. piles of coffee grounds and bagel bits followed her like the cloud of dust that followed pigpen from charlie brown. i spent most of my shift behind her with a wet rag and a scowl...when i wasn't cavorting with my favorite customers. there are few things i enjoy as much as a sarcastic exchange. i don't get enough of it these days, and back then i even got paid to do it. those were beautiful days, indeed.
once karen told a story about walking through a parking garage, singing out loud to herself, and how the police stopped her to see if she was on drugs. god forbid someone be blissful without them, right. karen was just being herself, and that's what i liked best about her. i bet she never knew that i admired her, cause i sure didn't know how to show it. don't tell anyone, but i really like people who get on my nerves.
i hear karen is in colorado now. closer to the clouds, it's fitting. i hope she still sings out loud just because she feels like it.