Tag Archives: Floyd’s

Give me More.


It’s cold today. Not Minnesota cold, but cold nonetheless. I have the day off, and the sun is out, so I can’t really complain. It’s one of those days where things just feel right. I spent the last hour wandering around Oldtown. Headphones in, and my hard face on; but on the inside, I’m smiling.

I miss it down here. I live on the eastside now, in a regular neighborhood. I don’t run into many gutter punks or addicts anymore. I don’t see any homeless or street preachers outside my building anymore. And I’m not sure this is a good thing. I miss the grit. I miss the street. I miss the hustle. I miss the chaos and the insanity of it all. I miss the desperation. I miss the realness of daily life lived by people so close to the edge. So close that you can feel the tension in the air. So close that it seems like the whole neighborhood could go off at any moment. That it could go off just for fun, for something to do.

I sleep a lot more than I used to. And I’m not sure why. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting soft, like I’m losing my edge. I don’t feel as hungry, or as angry as I used to. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I haven’t made it yet. I’m still as broke as I ever was. I’m just as broke as when I used to live down here. I just sleep a lot more.

I stopped into Floyd’s to get some coffee and some inspiration. It’s packed full of yuppie office people this morning. The baristas are the same, and they smiled because they remember me. And that feels nice. But the homeless and the addicts are gone. Which is somehow sad. I used to come here and write for hours. Back when I felt like everything I had to say was new and important. That my take was unique, and my style was fantastic. Back when I was hungry. Before I knew better. It’s tough to type here now. A skinny hipster with a skinny tie and oversized glasses keeps glancing sideways at me. I want to call him out, but that doesn’t seem right anymore. Seems like Floyd’s belongs to him now, and not to me. When did that happen?

hard face.

hard face.

It’s still cold in here, which I like. Motivates me to keep my fingers warm by moving swiftly across well worn keys. My beat-up, sticker covered laptop is the only one without a glowing Apple on the back. And I’m pretty sure people are judging me because of it. Odds would say that I’m the only one listening to hip hop at the moment too. Gently bobbing my head to the beat seems to be earning me scowls of disapproval too.

I’m not sure when I began to crave their approval, but I don’t think I like it. I think I need more Oldtown in my life. More late nights in the dive bars, just warm beer and the glow of the screen. More early mornings in the out of the way shops; black coffee, an empty stomach, a pen and pad. More hip hop and punk rock.

More about me, and less about them. I want more.

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The Eyes as They Passed Him

He stared out the window of his favorite independent coffee shop at the hustle and bustle of the mid morning rush. “Who are these people,” he wondered as he sipped black coffee from a stained porcelain Floyd’s mug, “and why are they in such a hurry?” He pondered this for a moment as his eyes darted from street, to the cutie pixie barista, to the op-ed section of the paper, back to the street. All the dark colors, the neutral blacks and grays of downtown on a work day. So severe. Could these people possibly be happy with the lives they’ve created for themselves?

A flash of blue in a sea of drab caught his eye, a youngish business woman crossed in front of his plate glass window. Perhaps she felt his stare because she turned and for a second they locked eyes. Bright blue eyes to match her bright blue shirt, she gave him a hint of a smile before turning and continuing on her way. He took another sip of coffee and wondered about those eyes. Such bright blue eyes, so full of promise, so full of life. Eyes that enjoyed themselves. He smiled at the idea.

An article about the current smoking ban failed to hold his attention, and soon he was staring out the window again. An overcast day, a chance of rain this afternoon; even the weather was leaning toward the drab and the severe, he felt conspired against. Suddenly, a splash of red entered his scene, as a young lady with arms full of books stumbled into the shop. A red rain jacket to go with her flaming red hair, she almost tripped on the entry, but caught herself. She looked up at him and smiled, embarrassed. Sparkling green eyes lingered for just a moment, taking him in, and then off to the counter to order her mocha or latte or chai tea, whatever it is that green eyed student types were drinking these days.

He frowned and suddenly felt rather old. His birthday was fast approaching, and he felt it best to get out of town. He didn’t want to deal with it this year. He buried his face in the paper, though he soon felt the burning gaze from the sidewalk outside his plate glass comfort zone. She was youngish, younger than him at least; dark hair and dark eyes peering through the glass at the coffee shop’s drink menu board. She didn’t even realize he was there, though only feet away. He looked at her eyes. Soft and sincere, the kind of eyes worth falling in love with, the kind worth changing his life over. He was about to wave, to catch her attention, to smile, to fall in love…when she turned and continued on her way. His shoulders slumped.

Behind him, the cutie pixie barista watched the whole thing unfold. She felt sorry him, for the boy with sad eyes who came to her shop everyday to stare at the world as it passed him by.

CGIP Explained

photo by Simone Badour

Three to four times a week we run into each other at Floyd’s Cafe in Oldtown. “Run into each other” is perhaps not the most accurate of phrases. Three to four instances a week, we happen to be in the same place at the same time. Floyd’s is that place. Three to four times a week, I lose whatever slice of self-confidence I may have possessed to start the morning, and I turn into a quivering mess of lemon flavored jellyfish.

Needless to say, we’ve never spoken.

The best of intentions and the most fantastic of plans are quickly forgotten as the only thing I can think of is, “you’re pretty.” I stutter in my head as she orders her latte and chats with her beautiful friend. She smiles at the baristas, she smiles at old ladies, she’s even smiled at me a time or two; picture perfect pixie smiles, the kind that melts hearts and inspires greatness. Beautiful by any standard, yet with a kind face colored by the hint of mischief, I’ve named her The Cutest Girl In Portland, or CGIP for short.

We’ve sat next to each other once or twice, two random strangers in a crowded café, and even then I’ve barely mustered the courage to steal a glance in her direction. No, instead I turn off the punk rock, but leave the headphones in; I listen to the music of her voice as she chats with her beautiful friend. The constant drama of office politics never sounded so good. I keep my eyes straight ahead, and type type type my life away while cute girls engage in mindless small talk just to my right. Focused and hard working, cute perhaps, but sadly and completely anonymous to her.

I had a dream three nights ago where I said hello and for once I was on the receiving end of that glorious smile. She’d been waiting, three to four times a week, for me to say hello. I smiled in response. We talked about Portland and about dreams, our time together in the city was short, but we were both desperate to make it last. We walked along the waterfront and held hands, made big plans for the future; we were fire and passion, taking life by storm. Discussing our shared love of border-collies and needing only each other, we smiled at the sunset and never took prisoners.

I have never felt such unrestrained hatred towards an inanimate object as I did towards my alarm clock that next morning. With blind fury I slapped the snooze and shut my eyes tight, desperate to bring her back, but tragically, The CGIP was gone. I took a cold shower to deaden my fire and calm my nerves. I found a sense of peace and resolve…today would be the day. My Portland adventure is drawing to a close, and I have very little to lose by saying hello, today would be the day. I wore a nice shirt, and practiced my smile, I felt like an idiot, but today would be the day.

Two hours later at Floyd’s, she came, she ordered her bagel, she left. Never once glancing in my direction.

We make the grandest of gestures in our sleep, and tomorrow’s another day.

Please take a moment to check out the exceptional photography at http://www.simonebadour.com/

Rumbley

One thing that I’m enjoying about this whole gig is the fact that I can stay up writing all night, but then sleep in till ten or noon. I still get my seven or eight hours, just at a slightly more convenient schedule.

Well here I am, up at 7 am in this wretched city of non-believers and swine merchants, cursing whatever it was that made me think I had a stomach made of galvanized cast iron. My diet yesterday was as follows:

-2 cups of coffee
-1 Buffalo Style Italian sausage with extra blue cheese from Superdog
-1 pint of orange juice
-1 19 cent banana
-2 Tecate with lime
-1 giant burrito al pastor, extra cheese, easy on the rice

And now, I hurt. And its about 99 degrees in my apartment. Get the fuck out of the way. Today, I am mayhem.