I went on a bike ride yesterday. I like to say all bike rides are great, but that isn’t really true. Fortunately, this one was very good. I decided to go eat in the University area in Albuquerque. There is this restaurant across the street. It has been there for at least an eon. The Frontier restaurant is a must see to experience the college life. They make hashbrowns and put cheese and green chili all over the top of them. I ate and then went to a Bohemian coffee shop nearby. I had my laptop over my shoulder and I un-tucked my shirt so I would fit in. It didn’t work. The coffee was great. I have decided that there seems to be a cosmic olfactory battle in the world of Bohemian. The base note seems to be a wide variety of incense. Sandlewood seemed to be the scent of choice. There was some pine and what I assume is Jasmine. It mingled but did not quite blunt the other smells in the room. I don’t know if smells can be a cacophony, but that is the only way to describe the conglomeration I encountered. As I walked in, I got reintroduced to the clove cigarette smell. I was transported to an REM concert 25 years ago. I opened the door and physically felt the push of odors warning me not to come in.
I ignored the dire warning, thinking to myself that I had an un-tucked shirt and could survive the epic battle. I approached the counter to the girl who never made eye contact with me as she took my order. She filled the mug and placed it on the counter just out of my reach and then left. The much shorter girl, who also seemed to be staring at the stain on the roof, motioned to me to pay the two dollars. When she spoke a new scent assaulted the air. This was a pretty cute girl. She was the kind of person who could pull off the nose piercing she had on. Her eyes sparkled a little, not the kind of sparkle that the guy pondering his toes at the community table had, but a sparkle nonetheless. The assaulting smell forced me to bow and turn my head slightly. I gathered my coffee and tried to find a table near an outlet for the computer. The room was filled with a menagerie of people. Most were glued to some sort of computer. I wondered if the incense was so thick that they couldn’t move. I found myself walking a slower pace. I slumped my shoulders slightly and wished that my pants didn’t fit so well so that everyone could see my underwear. All the tables near a wall were taken, so I asked the least scary person if I could sit with them, promising not to talk or make eye contact. After a languishing appraisal and evaluation period, my application was approved and I sat.
I unpacked my laptop wondering if it would seem pompous. I have a pretty good, yet old ASUS that I am pretty proud of. I glanced around to survey the awe and admiration. I saw wall to wall Apple products. The familiar glowing Apple leered at me. I decided not to worry about it. I sipped coffee and typed. I did my best to not make eye contact. The occasional hysterical laugh from a drug induced fantasy rider stumbled by. There was another woman, well girl standing by the bathroom 30 feet from me. First, you should know. I am 46. I am loosing my hair and might be accused of a comb over any day now. I can’t remember the last time I peed and didn’t fart. I make noises when I stand up and sometimes when I walk. I am underemployed and disgraced. This girl was staring at me. For awhile I just thought maybe she was wondering how I thought I belonged here. I kept looking away and sneaking glances. I smirked to myself. Maybe all the disqualifying factors didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Could the sideways glances of this young person mean that I was really “all that”? Maybe I didn’t need to untuck my shirt or frown at my thinning hair in the morning.
The other people standing by the restroom knocked on the door, “You still alive in there?” A shaggy guy stumbled out of the bathroom, the girl slid her shoulder under his arm and circled a hand around his waist. She murmured, “This way.” She walked him to his open and inviting Apple laptop. He righted himself in the chair, leaned over and stared at the screen. The girl leaned back and stared at the only other person over 30 in the coffee house. When she’d close her eyes, her head would bob from side to side. She quickly slam them open and stare at a point on the guys face and be upright for a few moments.
My meter was about to expire, so I didn’t get to see how long I could comingle with the aromas. I went to my truck and despite the mild weather, drove with the windows open.