Sunday, July 10, 2011

HTDA: Coffee Shopping!

Creme Brulee Drink and LimeCoconut Cookies

If you’ve been following the HTDA series: we’ve been for a walk, had a craft night and been to the library alone. From here on out we’ve going to start doing more things that involve … the public. No need to cower. It’s OK. You can do this. It’s perfectly natural to be seen in public alone. It’s not sad or pathetic or whatever adjectives you’ve come up with to talk yourself out of being along in public. It should be comforting to know that you can be sans chatter and sit in a coffee shop listening and looking without company. And, if you look around the coffee shop you’ve chosen to sit in, you’ll notice that there are other people doing the same thing. I’m not saying you’re giving into peer pressure and doing what every one else is doing. I’m just saying that you’re not alone… being alone… (P.S. This post was supposed to be posted Saturday... sorry for the delay...)

What you need:
This is one HTDA for which you will need some cold hard cash... OK OK just a few bucks. I understand not having a lot of spending money, and trying to make ends meet, but you aren’t going to need much money here and going to the coffee shop isn’t an every day (or even weekly) expense anyway. In Missoula at most coffee places a cup of coffee costs $1.75, a refill is 25 cents, tip 50 cents to $1… and water is free. So at the most you will need $3 for coffee, refill, and tip. If coffee isn’t your thing get a water (it’s free), a chai latte, a soda/pop or you can get food (food is usually the more expensive item at a coffee shop and if you’re rubbing pennies together you may want to pass on the food).
A prop. You know, so you don’t feel like you’re looking like a creeper while you’re sitting quietly in the corner staring at people from over your cup of water… just saying. A prop can be a laptop computer, a notebook, a sketchbook, a book/comic book, paper to fold paper airplanes, crayons, tape, whatever. Although, I wouldn’t suggest bringing a camera and taking pictures of people and the coffee shop if your goal is to not look like a creeper… like I felt like I was doing when I was trying to get pictures for this post… but if you feel comfortable enough doing so then snap them pics, yo!
♥ P.S. A prop is not mandatory.

What to do:
Now that you have your coffee/water/tea/food and your book/airplanes/creepercamera, find a place to sit. You might want to be strategically placed so you can look around while writing/reading/computering. Once you’ve found your place to hunker down, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Relax your shoulders, take a sip of coffee, and look… you’re doing it! You are out in the world, alone. No one is looking at you like you’re in a space suit. Take another breath in through your nose out through your mouth. Looking around you may see that there are other aloners. You may even catch the eye of one of them. Don’t freak out. You don’t have to do anything. Eye contact does not require a prenuptial agreement or a conversation. It doesn’t require anything. Look away for crying out loud… OK… don’t cry out loud, just get back to looking away… or back to your prop. See it’s there just for you. You can alternate between prop and looking and coffee. Coffee, prop, look. Look, prop, look, coffee, prop. You get the idea. You can do this for as little or as long as you want. The refill is so if you want to stay for hours you can, or just get a water… just be sure to know where the restroom is located.

Break Esspresso in Missoula, MT
What May Happen:
Someone may talk to you. They may ask if someone is using a chair that is next to you, if you are picking up Wi-Fi, if you are through with your coffee cup. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal. Look them in the eye (remember, no prenups here), smile, and answer. Simple. Another thing that may happen is you may see something funny. You can choose to laugh out loud or stifle; it’s really up to you. I giggled to myself at the man behind the counter who was wearing sunglasses while he was taking orders. Come on, that’s funny. I totally made up stories for him (He totally thinks he’s bad ass. He just got his eyes dilated and the dim lighting of the coffee shop was way too bright. He doesn’t want any one to know he’s been doing drugs and his pupils are like pin points)  Also, the song “I wear my sunglasses at night, sunglasses at night,” started playing in my head. If you have a notebook, write down things you see so you don’t forget. Coffee shops are  also good places to get information on goings on, see mini art exhibits, or oogle cupcakes (I’m literally talking about the cup-sized cakes with colorful frosting… you may be referring to good looking people... either way). You may also make a friend.

What I did:
I went to a couple of coffee shops to find the one that I felt most comfortable sitting alone. My props were a computer, a camera, and a book (usually I bring one thing not three). I sat inside to use the computer and then sat outside to read my book. I looked around and took some notes about the people I saw. I kind of have this habit of making up alternate lives for the people I see and giving them bizarre-o names. I’ll also admit I was a little nervous to take pictures of the people sitting in the coffee shop but I did get some good ones of the cupcakes. LITERALLY! THE CUPCAKES!


  1. I think it's a good idea to go to a coffee shop where a few other people are doing alone. That way it helps you to adjust and no one is staring at you like you're a fruitcake. (I'm guessing here, as I've never stared at a fruitcake personally. Nothing against fruitcakes...I'm sure they're quite lovely!) :)

  2. Ah yes, alone in a public place watching the world go by.
    always fun,good tips on how to.
    Moskeeto Jack