coffee | the conversations

Coffee–according to a a book I’ve read originated in Ethiopia and made its way through to Turkey, North Africa and on into Europe. Now it’s one of the most traded commodities in the world, heavily farmed in Brazil, drunk in numerous unacceptable forms, and in a number of similarly unacceptable places. 

Of course when I say coffee, I don’t mean instant or pods… I mean proper coffee, beans, ground, brewed and consumed in your favourite drinking receptacle… maybe a mug. According to the same book, Benjamin Franklin frequented coffee shops in his day as did many other powerful people that I can’t remember. Apparently lots of important decisions were made after knocking back a few cups of joe.

At one point in time coffee was seen as the devils work. It apparently made women promiscuous – just women? I doubt it – but there were people that hated its drug like effects. In 2017 there are so many coffee shops and chains knocking about that if the previously mentioned drug like effects were true we would all be walking around in a state of confusion derived of a mixture of hedonism and self-doubt.

In fact, wait, is that how elections are decided?!?

Discussion is rife in a coffee shop if you just stop to listen. Next time you go, forget takeaway. If you want to perk up your day, listen–just sit, and listen. toa-heftiba-195458The gems, pearls of wisdom from husbands, old ladies, girlfriends, wives, the lot, they divulge all sorts – you may call this eves dropping, you may say this is wrong. I would say, absolutely. You are correct. But if you’re going to talk in public, at length, and louder than Brian Blessed with a megaphone – you ask for it.

I’m a sucker for a coffee shop. I’ve sat in a few in various countries around the world, most of the conversations that I have heard in those countries, I haven’t understood, but I’m guessing this is one of those universal language things, if someone divulges too much in English, you can almost guarantee the same in Danish. The conversations I have understood though, have been day transforming. It doesn’t even have to be spoken word.

Take this example. After placing my face in a book and trying desperately to learn shorthand, I sat on a sofa in a coffee shop – sans earphones and therefore at the mercy of other people. I’m looking around, procrastinating like a pro, the Michael Jordan game six of procrastination taking place. I look across and a familiar face walks in with a travel cup, and a book. I have no idea of their name, but I have seen them before. No clue that this was a day changing moment. Who cares? People walk in and out all the time. Head down. Book. Reading… I must read about, and write, shorthand.

After a brief while I look up, they’re still there, reading a book, engrossed, no flinching, eyes never left the page. The lady picks up her travel mug, takes a sip. As she does, a torrent of tea works into her lap. She takes another sip, same again.

I’m thinking: “That lids not on properly. She’ll notice.”

It wasn’t. She didn’t.

Continuous streams of tea land in her lap as she sips and reads, sips and reads, oblivious to the joy this is bringing. Now I’m thinking: “She’s gonna look like she’s pi–ed herself.” Now normally, I’m a nice guy. The type that would go and tell her. Save face. I can’t let someone do this, my conscience would crucify me. In my mind however, I’m laughing harder than I did when watched Ted/Ted 2, Lego Movie and, The Wedding Singer.

Instead of telling her I decided to do this:

@davidpreece12 I sat watching a lady drink tea and her travel cup was leaking. It dripped all down her and she had no idea…
05/11/2015, 10:24
@davidpreece12 She just kept reading. And drinking. I’m not just talking a drip, it was a stream of tea. I found it hilarious.
05/11/2015, 10:26

I tweeted about it.

I felt the compelling need to tell everyone what I was seeing, and it turned out that I wasn’t the only sadistic coffee shop observer. It’s an actual thing. See this next entry into the coffee shop hall-of-fame:

Order coffee and sit next to two women. “Well, they do say dogs don’t feel any guilt. They know they’ve done wrong but they feel no guilt.
05/11/2015, 10:08
A woman there, clearly disappointed that her dog never apologizes for pissing in in the house.
05/11/2015, 10:10

This is what I mean when I say pearls of wisdom. Genuine gold. Day transforming nuance. Hell, week/month/year. These conversations were over a year ago, yet when I re-read them before writing this I actually belly laughed like I had read them for the first time. Next time you go to a coffee shop, you too could be the beneficiary of the affirmation that your soul is a dark, dank place. The tweets continued…

He has an 18 inch Minnie Mouse he just won’t sleep without. He doesn’t “talk” to her for 2 days whenever she puts it in the washing machine.
05/11/2015, 10:12


He doesn’t have an eating routine but he goes and sits by the oven when he’s hungry and will only eat from the same plates we use.
05/11/2015, 10:19
He doesn’t like lettuce, will eat carrots but not raw ones, and he won’t even entertain peanut butter.
05/11/2015, 10:21

This was all in the same conversation, in the same coffee shop. I’m presuming still about the dog. You see, pubs are social places. Places you go to meet friends and talk amongst yourselves. You only hear what you want to hear in a pub or restaurant. In a coffee shop its acceptable to go and sit by yourself without people thinking you’re a sad case. In the UK it’s still not socially acceptable to go to the cinema on your own let alone eat on your own, or at least if you do, telling someone that you did is cause for ridicule.

In a coffee shop it’s what you’re fortunate enough to hear. Not only that, you can also drink coffee.

He never drools over food unless it’s a rich tea biscuit. Nothing will ever wake him from his sleep, but when he hears the biscuit jar open
05/11/2015, 10:22
> it’s like he’s been hit by a bolt of lightening. My husband has started hiding his own stash so he can eat them in peace.
05/11/2015, 10:24
At coffee shop eavesdropping, trying to follow on two conversations. 1.lady on her phone: I didn’t mean to kick her on her face
31/01/2017, 19:42

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