Coffee Shop AU

A disgruntled angsty teen/ young adult/college student/ is working at the local non-starbucks coffee shop to earn money for whatever reason ( pay off student loans, trip to London, rent, parent’s hospital bills after a tragic accident etc.) in an anonymous New York-like city with obscene expectations for a social life, academic life, and sleep schedule. This teen-adult-hybrid character encounters an enigmatic regular customer who sweeps this teen off his or her feet in flurry of broodiness, “real world expectations,” and romance followed by an unforgettable summer of trysts, park picnics, and maybe after-hours coffee shop sex. This is the world of the Coffee Shop Alternate Universe (AU).

The Coffee Shop AU is a popular trope in fanfiction writing across genres. Whether the original work is in the Lord of the Rings, One Direction, or Doctor Who universe, there will also be a coffee shop adaptation. A search on FanFiction.Net alone turns up over nine thousand results and one on ArchiveOfOurOwn.Org, one of the newest fanfic sites to launch, churns out over five thousand. Why are young writers so obsessed with writing about coffee shops? Well, Heidi over at  KeySmashBlog already covered part of that for us: the customizabiity of the coffee shop setting, the inability to screw up authenticity, coffee. But what else is there?

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Communicating in Code

HAMM. Obvi. Totes. LOL. It’s really ridiculous to me (though I also use abbreviations every so often in text lingo) how every word in written and spoken language is being cut and sliced for the purpose of sounding hip or trendy. I can’t accept this code lingo that plagues our youth and even is oozing into our older generation’s speech. When we speak and communicate with this spliced form of language, we are literally cutting off words entirely. I wonder what this use of lingo says about the way we communicate with each other. I believe there is an epidemic of diarrhea of the mouth.

What do we say to each other? How do we say hello and goodbye? Why do we share certain sorrows openly, through status updates or through unproductive monologues that lead nowhere and make no sense? I ask this question to “we” because I struggle with making sense of it all in my own self.

Recently, I had a stomach ache at work and, along with a glass of wine on an empty stomach and thinking thoughts of inferiority, I decided to cry. Like a toddler needing a hug, I cried. Three of my co-workers saw me and asked what was wrong. I told them, and instead of just dealing with my sadness away from others and seeing in retrospect that my tears were nothing more than irrational craziness, I vomitted from my mouth empty words that did not really express anything. Even though I knew exactly what I should have done and should do, I cried for the purpose of getting attention. This angered my boyfriend and caused a minor tisk between us, and when I re-vomitted the words I said to my other co-workers to him, he said, “What’s the point of this conversation? Why are we talking about this when it makes no sense?” Bam! Yet again, he brought me to the here and now as he so gracefully does, and I felt like a freakin’ idiot.

My point is this: I was born into Generation Awkward and like most of my peers, I feel the need to share rather than to reflect. I feel weighed down by sadness for no real reason, my plight needs to be heard! Why do we choose to speak and write and share our thoughts with the world, especially if they are unproductive? The immediate accessibility of the internet and social networks gives us all who are growing and learning a gateway to publishing and sharing our feelings. But why do we not sit and meditate? Why can’t we have immediate access to a little Buddha that guides us to inner peace rather than reaching out further and further from our inner selves and voice? Why do we (again, “we” here is me hiding behind a general “we” representing others in my age range) react to self-loathing and self-doubt by spewing diarrhea of the mouth to those around us in hopes of ‘figuring it all out’.

I believe now that I am guilty of this social crime and that I am plagued with diarrhea of the mouth.

There is more growth to be had when we reflect, when we take a look at our thoughts and really think about their origins and instead of looking for wisdom out there, we grow when we depend on our own humble wisdom and experience. Intentional speech, intentional actions, deliberate strength are all ideals that I know I need to develop for myself in order to be a more productive, enjoyable, and most importantly, happy person.

Kk now I gtg. Ttyl.

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Thieves are Bad Editors of our Life Stories

Today, while cleaning my room, I found fingerprinting dust in two separate places. That dust is almost four years old. (Even after power-washing our back door, there is still a gray smudge. That stuff is really really sticky.)

When I was a junior in high-school, my house was broken into. Nobody was hurt, but a lot of things were taken. My room had more fingerprint dust than the rest of the house because, well, my room was the messiest. Mom said the detective was shocked when entering my room, saying “Wow, they were really thorough in here.” Except half of the drawers that were out had been pulled open by me that morning, and the boxes on the floor, the general disorder–all my fault. To be honest, the clean desk was the only immediately noticeable thing different. Not knowing what was my mess and what was a result of the break-in, they dusted everything. Insurance covered the monetarily valuable things–the TV, the cameras, our laptops, etc. Insurance didn’t replace any of my jewelry or my homework. (I had to submit a copy of the police report to my AP Bio teacher, who didn’t believe they could have taken all the papers off my desk, probably looking for financial information). The jewelry wasn’t even mine, just borrowed–they were pearl earrings my grandpa had bought for my grandma while he was in the Navy, overseas in Taiwan. Insurance couldn’t replace my grandfather’s retirement clock, which my Dad faithfully wound every day.

To this day, the earrings and the clock are the losses that upset me the most. I keep things to keep stories. Objects trigger memories, which spawn stories. They are the physical part of a story which I never get to touch in a book, but I can touch in my own story.
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Three and a Half Hours into 2014

This was awkward at its finest. And it involved a literal slap in the face.

A co-worker of mine chugged a bottle of cheap champagne and being a measly 19 years old and inexperienced with being intoxicated, she slapped me in the face and pushed me into the corner after I declined her invitation to Denny’s after working from 4:00 PM to 3:30 AM. Lapse in judgment due to being heavily intoxicated is something I am not unfamiliar with, but this was beyond my realm of morality. The sting on the side of my face as she said with a blank stare, “Come on, just come to Denny’s,” sobered me up from the two glasses of Cristal I enjoyed once I was clocked out and ready to relax. I looked at her and said, “Get the fuck away from me. Don’t ever touch me again,” and she responded with, “Fine. Keep on being miserable fucking Sara.” My heart was racing, my mind was totally blank, and I could only feel this strange and paralyzing feeling I thought could be shock. I cried. I walked away. My ego was wounded by the fact that I chose to not retaliate with further violence or tell her to go outside and settle it with a good ol’ brawl. Nothing inside of me wanted to hurt her, but instead I felt rage. Was it something I had done to deserve this? Was I even aware of how I could have been acting to provoke this intoxicated little girl to slap me and push me against a wall? What the hell just happened?
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Obligatory New Year’s Post

I’m just going to start this off by saying that tonsillitis is a bitch, and if it weren’t for the lava knives shooting up and down my throat right now, I’d be out getting crunk with the best of them. I could’ve been getting kissed at midnight (maybe??) and making drunken decisions that would seem terrible in the morning but great at the time, but no. Instead I’m curled up in bed, wondering what 2014 is going to have in store for me and wracking my brains for something to blog about.

It used to be that every January first, I’d start a journal. I wanted to document my life somehow, something that could help me remember. This is the year, I’d tell myself, this is the year I go the whole way. All 365 days. I never did get through the whole year. Once I got all the way to March, then lost steam for some inexplicable reason.

I don’t really feel the need to journal anymore. It’s kind of like prehistoric blogging. The Internet has made it much easier to document my life than the hardbound purple notebooks ever did. Between tumblr and Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, we can access information from any day of our lives at any time, assuming we don’t go back and delete it later. Our tweets and profiles and likes and pins are much more revealing than anything I could scribble down on a page. It’s frightening, and fascinating, and I think I like it.

So, if my Internet footprint has become my New Year’s journal of sorts: what would I want January first of 2014 to say? I could do a typical Year-in-Review post, but 2013 wasn’t a fabulous year for me, and there’s a lot of it I don’t really care to relive.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t go out. New Year’s and I don’t exactly get along, as my tonsils could tell you. Last year I tried to party it up, only to find myself ringing in 2013 drunk as a skunk with a guy I was kind-of-not-really seeing. I don’t remember him making any moves on me, though I do remember drunkenly rolling around the side of his car and force-feeding myself saltines in bed so I wouldn’t puke. Then his ex texted him around one or two in the morning–his ex who is best friends with my best friend–and suddenly I couldn’t keep pretending to myself that I didn’t know he was still sleeping with her. Shortly after I came to this self-realization, I got chewed out by my roommate over a stupid miscommunication that she never actually forgave me for. He drove me over an hour to my parents’ house, and I cried most of the way there.

The year before, I was at work. Two douche-knobs came to see the last showing of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which meant that I got to start my new year in a somewhat grimy, lonely, quite-possibly haunted projection booth. The film didn’t get out until after one in the morning. Everyone was asleep when I got home.

New Year’s of 2011 wasn’t great either. In fact, it was probably the worst. I spent the night before at work, got home in time to watch the ball drop with my family, went to bed. Typical. The next morning, we got a call that my grandfather had been taken the hospital. Two hours later while we were in the car on the way to see him, he’d passed away. We spent the first day of January paralyzed by shock and grief, consoling my heartbroken grandmother.

Happy fucking New Year, amirite?

I know, I know: New Year’s posts are supposed to be full of resolutions and reflections and hope for the future and all that jazz. But I told you, I have a pretty fucked up relationship with this holiday. Marking the passage of another year always gets me panicking. I start thinking about all the things I didn’t do the year before, all the things I have to do this year. I start wondering where the time went, when I got so old. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, it’s still 2009. The higher the numbers on the calendar get, the more I panic. I start thinking about all the shit I have to get together, all the resolutions I make while knowing I won’t keep them.

So this year, I’m trying something different. Instead of an itemized list of resolutions, I’ve only got one.

I’ve let a lot of things run my life for me in the past. School, work, fear, shame, anxiety, insomnia, procrastination, pride, obligation, inertia. I let other people tell me who I was, what I wanted, what to expect, what to accept. I sat back and watched life happen to me; disconnected, disheartened and disinterested to the point that I actively resented my own existence. I’m not doing that anymore.

It’s 2014 motherfuckers, and I’m taking my goddamn life back.

I Witnessed an Accident.

I was a witness to a bad car accident a few nights ago. A really bad one. The driver was unconscious and bleeding from a head-wound. He had driven straight into the back of a parked truck.

That’s all I know. My official statement, given to the police, doesn’t contain much more information than that. I cannot speculate as to the cause of the accident. I don’t know anything, really,  about the accident, other than that I saw it happen.

I hardly know what I saw. I do know that I jumped in my seat. I do know that I stood outside in the cold for over an hour, shaking with shock. I do know that I called 911, spoke to the operator briefly, and then handed the phone to my friend who had gone to check on the condition of the driver so that he could describe what type of medical care might be necessary.

Details after the accident are much more clear than the accident itself. I remember a woman walking across the street, shoelaces untied, with a braid, to stand with us. She had heard the accident. She kept trying to talk to us. The three of us, the only witnesses, stood, trembling and silent. We didn’t really talk back. I’m not sure when she left.

We began to talk, the three of us, to cement the details in our heads so that we could offer them with some certainty to the officers. We talked to try to stop trembling.
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Don’t mass-text me on Christmas morning.

I hate the Christmas Morning Mass-Text.

Let me be clear. I don’t mean the personal text message sent from somebody on Christmas that wishes you a happy holiday and was clearly sent only to you. (Unless it’s from a certain family member who has just decided to stop spending the holidays with us, never returns phone calls, and sends us a blithe “merry xmas” [No capitalization or punctuation, note] maybe on Christmas morning, more likely at six or seven in the evening, which is a total buzzkill. Then, even the personal text doesn’t cut it. You are close family and AN ADULT. You don’t get to text us. A card, at least.)

My personal family issues aside, personal text messages are a totally acceptable way for friends to wish each other a Merry Christmas. In fact, composing a few individual texts to a few close friends is all the friend time I’m allowed on Christmas. Christmas (and Thanksgiving) is a holiday about family, and I spend my time with them. A text is a way to say “Hey, I’m thinking about you! Happy Christmas!” without intruding on family time. I get to spend the rest of my break balancing friends and family, but on the actual day, I’ll be juggling dirty plates and pies and presents and small-talk with family I only really get to talk to on Christmas. My friends understand.

If my name isn’t in the text, I’m going to consider the sender a mass-texter. They drop major points in my book. That’s basically a Facebook post or a tweet, guys. And nobody takes Christmas Facebook posts very seriously. They are like earthquake Facebook posts–they all say the exact same thing. Earthquake! Earthquake! Earthquake! This Magnitude guys! Earthquake! SOCAL! EARTHQUAKE! [Immediately followed by “ironic” earthquake posts and verbally abusive earthquake posts].

If my name isn’t in the text you send me on Christmas morning, I’m not going to reply. In the spirit of the season, make it personal.

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