If you see me at Starbucks…

or any other place for that matter…

this is what I’m doing while you’re not looking:

I’m watching you.

And your peculiar public habits.


You sat down next to me and you pulled out your phone.

You texted a bit.

Then you set it down on the table.

Then you pulled out your laptop and plugged in.

And checked your mail.

Then you pulled out your kindle.

And read a bit.

Then you checked your E-trade stock quotes.

Yes, I noticed.

Then you pulled out a folded up section of  newspaper and placed near the laptop.

And for the next 30 minutes, you alternated between kindle, phone, laptop and paper.

The only thing I hadn’t noticed was you drinking your hot beverage.  I think maybe you bought it just so you wouldn’t be caught loitering.

All this is actually kind of funny (to me anyway) because that you must be at least 10 years older than I and you are so technologically hip.

This is what my table looked like next to yours (my nice big reclaimed wood table with plenty of  S-P-A-C-E  to stretch out.  Yes, I AM a table hog when I’m doing art):


Very, very low-tech.

And this is what I was doing while you were consulting your technology gods:


Yes, yes, I realize we are not much different, you and I.  We are still in our own little worlds, wrapped up in ourselves, not actually connecting on any sort of human level.

But I’m okay with that.

By the way, Jim…this is my response to your post, Brilliant Behind The Keyboard.  I realized…I don’t necessarily think anyone WANTS to have warm face-to-face contact these days.   But that actually might be all right with some of us.

As as aside, this is what I wrote on his blog post:

I do have lots of acquaintances, and I can talk to just about anyone, just about any time, just about anything, but getting anyone to meet me for coffee is just about IMPOSSIBLE. I have lots of verbal communication abilities, not just written word communication, due to my experience in the courtroom (talking to people is EASY compared to testifying in court on a DNA case), giving laboratory tours and teaching medical school residents (some lab techniques).

I find that OTHER people are shallow, mostly use trite phrases, or seem bored or miserable with life and neither one is great conversation kindling, you know? Or they are usually not approachable because they have their head glued to an electronic gadget when they are out.

I think some of us would prefer keeping to ourselves and our thoughts rather than expending energy trying to get to know shallow people. But (maybe) that’s just my experience.

I have a LOT of diverse things to talk about…but can’t find anyone who cares to listen.

I ask a LOT of people out for coffee. The only one that met with me was my dental hygienist, who really is quite knowledgeable about dentistry.

I mean, I used to lament this phenomenon ALL the time.  I used to go out by myself and feel lonely.  I used to ask people I met out for coffee, but they were always too busy.

I really don’t mind anymore.

I draw.

I watch and write about people.

Like the guy from Potbelly’s who sings me the blues.

This time, I was thinking of a friend of mine, B from Tennessee.  I was thinking of dreamers (myself and my middle daughter, who is a lot like me).   I was thinking about Electronic Gadget Lady and I was thinking of Hugh Laurie too.  Earlier yesterday I  was cleaning my art studio and was listening to his song Tipitina.

Specifically I was thinking of two lines,

“you had your belly full o’ gin”


“Tipitina Tra La La”

Guess which one made it onto the page?

No, not the gin line, silly.  Go back and look at the picture.

People are all right to talk to.  But you know what?  If I sat and talked to Electronic Gadget Lady (and yes, I DID think about it, briefly), I would not have felt half as warm and fuzzy as I did drawing and thinking on my own.

So…if you see me at Starbucks…with my pens, drawing pads or notepads, say “hello” or ask me what I’m doing.  I WILL talk to you if you do.

(or write about you if you don’t.  ;))



Well Loberta, Well Loberta
Girl, can’t you hear me callin’ you
Well you’re three times seven, baby
You know just what you gotta do

Well Loberta, well Loberta
Girl, you tell me where you been
When you come home this mornin’
You had your belly full o’ gin

Well I’ll say hurry, hurry, Loberta
Girl, you got company waiting you at home
Why don’t you hurry little Loberta
Don’t leave that boy alone

Yeah, Tipitina tra la la la
Tipitina tra la la
Tipitina hoola walla malla dolla
Tipitina tra la la

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in Art Journaling, Disconnection, Hugh Laurie, Starbucks, Tipitina. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to If you see me at Starbucks…

  1. Smita says:

    hehehehehe…………………i share this similarity with you. I too go to a local cafe, grab the window seat and observe people who pass by. There laughter, mannerism, talk, coz every face tells a story. My book along with my writing/sketching pad acompany me. Also, the cafe manager and staff are so warm and welcoming, it feels like home.

    About the disconnection, earlier I used to sit for tea-breaks with my work colleagues and all three of them were busy texting, browsing or playing games on there iPhone, which made me question what’s the point of having tea-breaks and also when someone sitting with you using a phone is considered rude? But anyhow, now I just grab my mug and go out for a walk, its pleasant, relaxing and healthy.


  2. Smita –

    I think you are my long-lost sister. Where’ve you been all these years. Ha-ha.

    That’s so cool that you are so observant too, and you bring your sketch book. I wish I could go on a tea-break with you. Now that would be nice. I’d put away my sketchbook for you, for sure.

    What kinds of sketches do you make? That would be nice to see.

    I’m so glad the staff and manager are nice at the cafe. I used to know the coffee girls a lot at my Borders bookstore cafe by name. They were always nice to me, but the bookseller went out of business. It really broke my heart. I always went there, once a week at least for about 2 years, and brought my daughters with sometimes.

    The Starbucks doesn’t have the same feel.

    But, at least it’s something.



  3. Smita –

    I love your new Gravatar. The white owl looks so pretty. And, well, you look pretty too. I hope you don’t mind me saying so.


  4. Smita says:

    Thanks for the compliment, why would I mind sis? Yah, fridget is cute and soft, did a whole 360 turn to give me an evil look….. 😀

    • Funny! Does that owl belong to you? That is so cool. Although, I might have to make sure our white rat Snowflake never meets her/him. I think Snowflake would be your owl’s lunch.

      • Smita says:

        I wish, no it belongs to endangered species sanctuary. I went to see over Easter Holiday. They gave us a presentation about different kind of owls, origins, diets, etc. and introduced 4 of them to the public to have a picture with. That’s how I know the name. There was a magnanimous Eagle-Owl as well, which looked like a grown-up dog, didn’t dare to take picture with him.

    • Aw. Well, at least you did get the chance to spend some time in the sanctuary.

      And it is neat that you got a chance to take a picture with the owl. I looked up an eagle owl. That is so huge, but so beautiful too. I think I have a picture of an owl that looks like that…sadly, he was in a cage. 😦 There were other birds that were allowed to roam free, but a few that were locked up.

      I have never yet seen an owl in the woods, but I always hoped I would on my excursions.

  5. Smita says:

    Painting was my passion as a child, maybe never realized then but I expressed my imagination and feeling through colours. I used to make greeting cards, gift boxes, bags, etc. My forte was patterns, cartoons, animals, birds, nature and people, as I was observant kid. My art teacher loved and encouraged me always, once she asked to paint animals and I painted a skiing crocodile…….:D

    But after moving to a new-school briefly, I got a 0/10 from the art-teacher, as he asked to sketch building architecture, which I am rubbish at as I can’t perfectly cast a shadow and grey parts……………………..that was the big shock and I cried for the whole day, hated the teacher from core. Mum moved me to a different school, but never picked up the brush again until now.

    After 14 years, coming to England and seeing nature in abundance has inspired me again. Also, my unrequited love breathed life in me and I am back to myself. Picked up the brush and done some stuff, but just getting hold of it. Though sketching is back to fab, but did only cartoons and animals for start. Started playing my keyboard again, as well………lolz it’s a long reply…….. 😀

  6. What is it with teachers squashing a child’s efforts???? I never did get how teachers can do that. I had an afterschool creative writing teacher in high school tell me some things about my writing. It was too descriptive, not enough dialogue, and my characters were two-dimensional. He told me all the things that were wrong, but didn’t tell me what was right about my writing.

    If I start drawing for real, I want to start on birds. I love birds, a lot. So colorful.

    My daughters’ art teacher is also in need of retiring. He’s so persnickety about things, and more concerned with keeping order than encouraging the kids creativity.

    I’m so glad you are getting back into creative work. It’s great when you feel a renewed, isn’t it? I’m glad England has inspired you. And, well, cartoons and animals are fun. You’ve seen my doodles. I wouldn’t say it’s great work…but it IS fun. 🙂

    Pretty soon, you’ll have to start that blog and post some of your creative work. That would be great to see.

    Have fun with the keyboard too. We have one that I would like to learn how to play. My oldest is taking keyboard lessons before school once a week. I need to bring ours up out of the downstairs storage.

  7. Smita says:

    You are a great artist for me and better than me. You express yourself through your writing, sketching/doodling and photography, and connect so beautifully with people around the world. Only few people have the courage to pour their heart out on a public platform through creativity. I take my hat off to you…… 😀 I do doodling like you and hey I draw butteflies like that too, weird… :O

    • I think this is one of the nicest things said about me. Thanks so much for that. And it’s neat about the butterflies.

      But if you think I’m a decent artist…you really need to go look at Totsymae’s art on her blog. She’s a lovely painter and I love her stories too.


      Sometimes I do say too much, and reveal a little too much. It wasn’t too long ago that I enthusiastically gave some opinions that ended up getting me into a little bit of trouble. But overall, I have always enjoyed meeting new people.

      In real life, it’s gotten to be more difficult, and for the longest time, I thought it was me. But I realized that most people I try to engage in conversations really have a limited range of topics that they want to talk about. They tend to stick to very neutral subjects – their job (but usually in a complaining way, not what is interesting about what they do), their kids, their frustrations, something related to the computer, etc.

      Very few people have hobbies/passions they get excited about.

      I met this older gentleman from Iowa at a thrift store, in the used books section. After a few minutes of browsing, we ended up talking for 45 minutes – about books, about art and museums and about great places to go white water rafting in nearby Michigan. The more we talked, the more difficult it was to leave the store, I wanted to keep talking, but I had to get going. My blood sugar was dropping. I was really sad to leave the conversation, because I know that I never get the chance to talk that long to anyone, let alone a complete stranger.

      It dawned on me that it really isn’t difficult to have a conversation when people have something they are passionate about. It spills out of them naturally. But trying to find that thing they are enthusiastic about is difficult, especially since social media has changed the way people interact and no one simply has the time to spare.

      I keep trying though. My daughter’s teacher tells me she’ll have time to go for a cup of coffee with come summer break. So…I just have a few more months to wait. 🙂

  8. Tineke Brinks says:

    O my dear.. Again it is like I am reading about myself. I have lived in this beautiful part of MA for ten years. I love the nature that surrounds us. Yet there is an emptiness in the people. I thought I had friends but I felt more and more that I could not talk about a lot of things. I always had to hold back to say what I really felt and liked and was interested in. I always felt they looked at me like I was from another planet when I would explain the joys of play and crafting. I have now after ten years one friend I can talk with. The conversations are about things that touch us, inspire us and make us laugh and cry. The funny thing is we met at the bank where we both worked (interesting environment for creative-lings) . Since then I have stopped working there because I was giving myself away. She has cut back dramatically on her hours too to follow her creative dreams. Both of us cannot really afford it but for me I thought if not now I will never do it. We will see what happens. We both have the full support of our husbands who don’t even know each other. I don’t know what is going on with people nowadays, the rush, the gadgets, the worries and anxieties that seem to take over. Sometimes I think people live like there is another earthly life after this one. This is just a practice round. There isn’t. This is all we have but in the chaos of life, thinking that we need all this stuff we forget, (and this is a quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who run with the wolves: )
    ‘The craft of questions, the craft of stories and the craft of the hands, all these things are the making of the soul.’

    • Thanks so much for the quote. I do believe that’s true.

      You know, it takes a considerable amount of energy to hold back. It’s kind of like a dam of sorts. And, I have found, like with the fellow from Iowa, that when the floodgates are open, all sorts of energy wants to be released.

      I’ve had that happen on just a few occasions…but mostly because there is so few persons with with to share like that.

      I’m so glad you have at least one person in your real ife to share your passions with. Have you thought about starting a crafting club?

      I was once a part of a mother’s group and I started up a monthly craft night that they didn’t have before. I didn’t have a big enough home to host it, so I borrowed another mother’s basment and we got about 6 women to come in and make bead and wire wine glass markers (you know, because a lot of women like to entertain and drink wine). I brought along my entire stash of beads and wire and volunteered my materials.

      Unfortunately, the mother’s group started getting upset about some things (unrelated to the craft club), and before too long, I decided to stop going before things got really out of hand. Unfortunately, I lost access to the basement, so there went my craft club, too.

      I might try and start one up again, but this time I’d inquire at the library. I know they allow patrons to borrow their meeting rooms free of charge, but you have to open these meetings up to the public (which would be fine too). They host knitting circles, so why not a crafting club.

      We’ll see.

      Yeah, I’m thinking I don’t want to come back to another earthly life, (UNLESS it’s Paris in the 20s) I’d rather make the one I have a bit better.


  9. Tineke Brinks says:

    A few more thoughts: Through the Totsy site I came to the Shewrites site. It felt like coming home. I guess that is what I have been looking for. A community of like minded people.It is a shame that nowadays you have to look for that online. In these modern days often we are looking for a community or a tribe in the workplace because it seem that is all we do: work. But for me power, money, hierarchy and performance interviews make that not possible. My most important job is raising my children. And raising children is a 24/7 job but I love it. I just wish that society would accept that raising children is just as important as any other job. I just wish we could see our choices (to stay home, to be an artist, to keep working, to have a career outside the home etc. etc.) not as good or bad but as different and that being OK. So for now I am glad I have found all these wonderful blogs and sites. It helps me be me and be part of a community.
    Keep on writing!

    • Tinecke –

      People are creatures of habit and it’s much easier and safer to go along with the crowd (and the peer pressure the crowd has) than it is to be an individual. I think if you think of it biologically, there is safety in numbers so the majority of people will be like-minded.

      Whatever the prevailing ideas of the culture are, the majority will be swept along in that current. Unfortunately, the current has a very limited view of things. I also think that there has been some unintended consequences of technological advances. Well, I’d like to think it’s unintended, but I am afraid that there has always been a small group of people preferring to keep the masses as controlled as possible.

      How do they do this? Well, for the most part, the bulk of students are educated in public school where most originality is discouraged and there is only one right answer to the questions. I’m not completely knocking public school (I send my kids there, BUT I also expand their worldview at home).

      You can see what I mean here (it’s just about 11 minutes)

      Then there are those of us who attempt to swim against the current. And it’s not only difficult, but LONELY as well. Not many attempt to swim against the mainstream for this reason. Who wants more hard work and to be alone. Well, the good news is that some of us learn to appreciate the challenge, though I admit it takes time to do that.

      Certainly, the arts are NOT as supported as it once was, and it’s seen as a waste of time. But I believe arts and crafts are exactly what it is needed to help revive our creativity in all areas. Happiness comes from a hand-crafted life. Ask anyone who engages in any sort of creative endeavor (from sewing to painting to poetry and I’d even go so far to say trying out new and challenging recipes) and they will say they achieve peace while they craft.

      Bottom line is that these days, we educate originality right out of our students. In combination, we have advertisers and movies and TV and internet telling us what is considered a “good” life, a “successful” life. Which includes the acquisition of material goods.

      But, then there are those of us who are dreamers and idealists and can envision a different way and we want to strive for it. However, we are few and far between. We seek community, just like the bulk of humanity does. Only our community is scattered across the globe.

      That’s ONE great benefit to the internet. We dreamers can find each other and be a support to each other.

      It’s not quite the same as real life interactions…but it’s a start.

      The strangest thing to me is that there is a local writing group that is supposedly starting up, but we have yet to have our first get-together. I can’t figure out why.

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