The background music at the Forza coffee shop in Puyallup was too loud, the customers were too young, the place was too busy.
Junior high (Or is it always middle school, now?) students darted here and there like anxious lap puppies not wanting to miss out on anything . . . I hate little puppies and sometimes small children because they operate lower than my knees and below my radar. I'm afraid I'll step on them or trip over them.
Peg sat down at a table while I stood in line to place my order. I was surprised that at three in the afternoon there was a crowd. It seemed like people were milling about as they considered what they wanted to order or waited for an order and then would sometime come back and slide into the line where they thought they should be . . . maybe they were right.
I purchased a bottle of diet juice soda and waited for a cup of decaf for Peg. I retrieved a platic cup of cold water from a counter-top dispenser and placed it on the table for Peg and then went to the area where I expected the coffee to come from. It took forever. I should have simply stated "decaf drip" and been done with it. Eventually, I delivered the cup and sat down with Peg. We looked around and complained about the noise. Peg decided to go shopping. She had a favorite consignment store she knew from a previous adventure to Puyallup. I guessed (correctly) that it was only a block away. While she was gone she also found the little bakery we had visited before. Peg placed an order for dinner rolls, which we would take for Easter dinner with relatives on Sunday afternoon.
While Peg was gone I began making notes to myself and watching the people. There was one short, teeny, tiny little lull, but for the most part I counted over two dozen people in the coffee shop at any one time.
I began to enjoy the people as they scurried about hugging, laughing, studying, and constantly talking. Well, not all were talking. There were three people from the deaf community who sat in a corner by the window on the Pioneer Park side of the shop. They arrived about the same time I did and were still there when I left an hour and forty mintutes later. They all three used ASL (American Sign Language) and they had a great time joking and signing with each other. They fit right in.
Two late teen women stood beside my table and chatted and fumbled with purses. One dropped a coin on the floor, stooped to pick it up and then offered it to me, "Would you like a lucky penney?" I declined. Over the next few minutes she fumbled and discovered lucky notes, lucky bills, and lucky credit cards as they cascaded to the floor at different intervals. None of those were offered to me.
I saw an individual come in with a wheeled walker and a bright neon yellow vest. I'm guessing he had some sort of developmental disability in addition to mobility. He made his way through the legs of tables and chairs as they reached out to block his wheels. He ordered a cup of coffee and then walkered away from the counter. He asked if he could sit down at a nearby table where a young man sat with an open laptop. The youngman nodded and helped move a chair to accommodate. Even as strangers they conversed while they waited for coffee to be served.
Three women (thirty-ish) had come in set up camp at two tables. They each produced a laptop and plugged into an electrical outlet. They talked and talked as they surfed the net. Their cords on the floor looked a little unsafe, but no one ever complained. I think they were regulars. Everyone may have been a regular, but me.
Four middle school girls came in and ordered. They were as cute as they could be. It was a wonderful spring day (65 degrees!!!) and they were all showing young beautiful naked legs. They weren't trying to be sexy, but they were attractive and full of life. One of the girls went to the bar by the window and picked up a bar chair and took it to a high table where there were only three bar chairs. They ordered fruit drinks and when they were ready to leave, the young girl who moved the chair to that table replaced it to the same place where she found it. Unbelieveable.
Middle school and high school boys came in straddling scooters. Some carried skateboards and some strapped skateboards to their backs. With stove pipe jeans and black slipons many of them sported a Jason Beiber haircut that hung down on their foreheads. Welcome to Middle America . . . Pacific Nothwest Middle America.
As I gathered my notebook, Smartphone, and camera a middle school boy behind me hefted his book backpack onto his shoulders. One of his straps lightly touched my arm. "Oh, I'm sorry I hit you," he confided. I nodded my head in acceptance. The strap was barely felt, but his comment touched me greatly.
When I left the coffee shop I watched a parade of Christian faithful walking on the sidewalk and carrying a cross (probably in preparation for Easter). They were quiet and orderly. They just looked like they were out for a stroll on a nice spring day.
The background music was too loud, but how can you be offended by friendly people and polite young adults. What a nice way to spend a Friday afternoon. I've always liked Puyallup, but on that Friday afternoon I fell in love.