My beloved Coffee Bean closed the location that was less than a block from my house, profoundly altering my daily schedule – in other words, I now have to put on real clothes and drive to get coffee. Technically there’s one CB that’s still within walking distance, but it’s a bit of a shlep, and takes up too much time to become a regular part of my routine. Some family members have suggested I look for other coffee dispersal spots, but I’m very particular about my morning mocha. Only Coffee Bean will do.
So I’ve been scouting other locations, feeling very Goldilocks about the process. The one at the Farmer’s Market has parking, but no indoor seating, and is too busy to let me develop any sort of bond with the baristas, which I consider part of the experience. The one on Third Street has indoor seats, but no parking. On days when I volunteer with the Westside German Shepherd Rescue I can stop in at the Coffee Bean on Santa Monica near Sepulveda, but I’m not driving across town every day for a mocha latte.
Last week I decided to walk Pilot down to the one on Beverly and perform an experiment. For reasons unknown to me, Pilot had started freaking out when I took him to the CB on the corner, and chewed through two nylon leashes in a week. By the time we got down to the newer location, he was too tired to make much of a fuss, and I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly the other customers were. Pilot got plenty attention, both from the baristas and the patrons, and I was treated to the stories of an old man from New York who informed me that in his next life, he wanted to come back as a dog.
This is the most profoundly Jewish Coffee Bean I’ve ever been to. All CBs are kosher, but the one on Beverly is the only location I’ve ever seen shut down for the Sabbath, other than the one I stumbled across in Jerusalem. Located near multiple synagogues, teen girls in long wool skirts are a familiar sight, and the bulletin board is entirely coated with ads for Hebrew lessons, Torah lecture series, and Kabbalah preschools. One flyer in particular caught my eye – I thought it would make a great title for a thriller. “Conspiracy of the Rabbis” sounds rather Da Vinci Code-esque, don’t you think?
Back when I went to Santa Monica College for the credits to transfer to UC Riverside, there was a Coffee Bean where a childhood acquaintance worked and occasionally gave me free drinks. I’d spend a few hours there before and after class writing my YA novel and indulging in one of my favorite activities: people watching. I even came up with the idea for a short story collection based on the patrons of that particular store. There was the one about the cop and the rabbi, a man and woman falling in love online while sitting across the room from each other, and one I started but never finished about the barista I named after a spambot.
His name was Nimbus C. Batista, and his parents were very sorry.
I have to say, traveling farther from home has increased my productivity. I’ve outlined the first 8 issues of my comic, and had some good flashes of inspiration for fixes to The Practical Orphan’s Guide to Surviving a Fairytale. It took more than a week to finish writing this blog, but I’m trying harder to be a regular poster. A new blogging gig is due to start shortly, so that will definitely increase the frequency of posts. Keep an eye out!