“Letters at the Coffee Shop” by Sonja P. (a.k.a. Copper D.W.)
[I’m sorry for the formatting, the enter button seems to be malfunctioning today on wordpress]
Sitting at the local coffee shop, tea in one hand brownie in the next, and a warm wooly scarf wrapped around my neck, I just sat there, quietly beside the shop window, people watching. You see, in this new town, new school, new independence, I still haven’t found many friends, at least, ones tolerable enough to spend more than a couple hours with without feeling completely depleted afterwards. My problem is, I can be extremely outgoing for a period of time, then I get immensely tired and have to retreat into my single dormitory room with tea, a good book and potentially even a nap. Ambivert, I believe it’s called. Still, being an outgoing introvert seems to puzzle the common onlooker.”Let’s go to the party!” I remember one person exclaimed, only to look around and realize that she was talking to me, and respond with “What? There’s a party? I go to bed at 9:30.” That phrase kills a lot of opportunities, but I only use it for things I don’t want to go to. Which is really anything to do with a community of strangers, drunk and making crude and unfiltered small talk. I prefer to watch people in their natural habitat, well as natural as the downtown shopping area is. It’s just more interesting people watching than what I believe is called the Hawthorne effect when people change their behavior when they know they are being watched. Besides, it’s Fall, my favourite season, where for some reason I always feel more content, probably because I get to wear my warm and fuzzy socks, scarves and sweaters and guys actually wear shirts. People watching in the Summer can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable.
Alright, that’s all for now, talk soon!
During the Fall, back home, I would alway people watch at my local café, which was right across from a green space where I could sit and watch sitting from a surprisingly comfortable park bench. Here though, it’s a bit different, and there is no safe green space where I can comfortably sit alone past dusk without the worry of not returning to my dorm. There are more people thus louder and as I walk around I only see sad looking trees growing from circles in the pavement. It’s still better than nothing and I have found this wonderful coffee shop, where there is not to much noise and not as many knife-wielding strangers. I have become a regular at the small corner coffee shop, to the point that when they see me walk in they just make my ‘usual.’ It’s kind of nice, as silly as it sounds, to have all this time alone. One of the friends I have actually made is alway practicing on her cello, yet we always seem to find a way to hang out or do something together a couple times a week. This coffee shop so far has been my sanction. I do homework here, and the store owners cat likes to sit sunning on the windowsill and sometimes lets me pet her. She’s not the prettiest looking thing nor the friendliest, but she is very sweet once she gets to know you. Lola is her name, and she and I do a lot of people watching together. Sometimes the owners let me stay after hours and Lola and I would watch the previously busy streets become a desolate wasteland in a matter of hours. Lola and I watch the stars and the moon together. We once pulled an all-nighter after accidentally drinking several chai late’s and forgetting that the next day I had a 7:30-morning class 45 min away. Fun times.
Love and miss you!
Lola and I like to people watch. She seems intrigued by the passing humans and has warmed up to me to the point that she lets me stroke her back indefinitely and sit on my lab. It’s now winter here and University has been much better over the last couple of months, my singular friend has now doubled and we all get along amazingly well together, though I seem to hang out with my newer friend a bit more due to availability. I’m doing much better than I did in high school, getting mostly B’s and well, some C’s, however, I am really proud of myself, because honestly, I wasn’t sure if I’d get this far. I’m surprised how warm it gets down here, even in the Winter. I guess I’m so used to going out in the – 40 degrees with snow piles bigger than you are, the snow here is meager in comparison. Exams are in a couple of weeks and I am not so excited about writing my exam in the Alumni gym due to a roof collapsing overnight in the Arts building due to a ‘freak snowstorm.’ I have made good friends with the store owners and her employees and she has actually offered me a job over the winter break. Don’t worry about not being able to afford to bring me home for the winter break, I know that a plane ticket is super expensive around this time of year and we can’t really afford it.
Thanks for everything so far!
Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you guys didn’t miss me too much! Christmas here was really good. I decided to take the job here at the coffee store and they treat me like family. Lola still likes to people watch, or what I now realize is chipmunk stalk, but she trots over to me at the counter, every now and then wanting neck rubs. I was kind of sad leading up to Christmas, I tried not to cry, especially on my first day of work, but with all the families together and present buying, I realized that I was extremely homesick. The owner, well I suppose she’s my boss now, she took me aside and we talked for a couple of minutes. After that, I was given the rest of the day off. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if she was giving me the day off or she fired me, but she let me take Lola, so I assumed, either way, I had to eventually come back. I’m glad I did, though, because after realizing that Lola has always been chipmunk stalking, when she jumped out of my arms and pursued a 3 limbed chipmunk almost killing it, I decided she probably shouldn’t be outside. Her fur also froze around her head and feet and she looked like a weird lion monkey animal and not too happy that I came between her and her supposed pre-Christmas meal. When I did return to the coffee store, my boss was on the phone and trying to deal with a rude customer at the cash, I immediately stepped in so my boss could finish her phone call and I was able to somewhat successfully get what the lady wanted, which was to allow her sun to use the bathroom, which we didn’t have and to get a hot chocolate. I got him a hot chocolate, and hopefully they did eventually find a washroom. I then decided that I should at least finish my shift because right now my boss was the only one working and it was obvious that I should be here. My boss was on the phone for the rest of the day and when I was ready to close up and leave, she offered an invitation to her ‘Christmas dinner’. I knew she celebrated Hanuka, but she said that here at the coffee store they celebrate the festivities of winter and she wanted to have the stores first winter dinner open to the public on Christmas day, with staff gift exchanges and everything. That was a wonderful moment, and that’s when I realized she was on the phone all day for me. Christmas day soon came and both of my friends came, all the employee’s, my boss and many other lonely people came to the store and we had an amazing time. I so wished you were there, but it seems that I now have 2 families and I am so very happy!
Love you lots,
Sorry, I haven’t written you in a while, I know it’s been since Christmas since I’ve sent you a letter. It’s been pretty busy here at the university, midterms are around the corner and I have been getting straight B’s so far. I forgot to tell you, but I got a B- average last term and I am so very happy about that! This term I’m hoping to get a B average, but we’ll see. Things have been doing well, I went to my first party, I hated it, and don’t think I’ll go to another anytime soon, but I went. So that was interesting. Still working at my lovely heaven of a coffee shop and I have become good friends with one of the older ladies that works there. It ends up Lola belongs to her but she isn’t allowed pets in her apartment. My new lady friend has been off work a lot lately because of Lola, my little cat isn’t doing so well turning 12 in less than a year. I hope both of them do alright, but there is lots of love and support for both and we as an employee family has all agreed to help pay for Lola’s more expensive vet bills. Still, I’m not sure if she’s going to make it. Only a couple months, no less until I can finally give you a real hug, hugging pieces of paper is not only uncomfortable but just flat out weird. Lol! That means laugh out loud, weird right? My cello friend is learning about fancy acronyms with some of her orchestra buddies. I know you guys just got a phone, and I almost have enough to pay for the cool new flip phones, it’s going to be amazing to hear from you again!
I’m coming home in less than I week! I am so excited to see you again! I know we’ve been really catching up since I got that new flip phone but I just wanted to send you one more letter before I go. Everything seems to have worked out for the best here. I got my B average, I still go to bed at 9:30 and avoid parties, but the people that I spend time with really are like another family! I’ve made enough money to pay for next year’s tuition and a plane ticket for you to come up and celebrate Christmas with us because I know it will be tough since dad died, but Lola will be with him so he won’t be lonely. We all got my lady friend a kitten a couple weeks after Lola died, and she was able to retire to a lovely home where she and Looly get to live together. My 2 great friends and I have already chosen and decided to rent together, and we get to rent the room above my little coffee shop, where I was guaranteed a job when I come back next year. I am looking forward to seeing you and hugging you again, I have so much to talk to you about, can’t wait!
See you soon!