Java Jive

Java Jive: A Coffeehouse Saga

JAVA JIVE
Written by: Ben Oakland and Milton Drake, sung by The Ink Spots

 

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I’m a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I’ll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I’m snug in a jug
A slice of onion and a raw one, draw one.
Waiter, waiter, percolator!

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

Boston bean, soybean,
Lima bean, string bean.
You know that I’m not keen for a bean
Unless it is a cheery coffee bean.

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I’m a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I’ll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I’m snug in a jug
Drop me a nickel in my pot, Joe, Takin’ it slow.
Waiter, waiter, percolator!

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

In St. Sebastian, we have a very nice coffeehouse called The Arcedium. I don’t know what “Arcedium” means, but it must mean something nice, because you wouldn’t name a coffeehouse something like “The GITMO Café”, or the “Dog Crap Coffee”.  Anyway, the Arcedium offers only fair-trade coffees from around the globe, plus a selection of teas, non-alcoholic beverages, smoothies, sweets and sandwiches. You can get anything you want at the Arcedium, except the barristas.

Every Sunday, my wife gently suggests that we go to the coffeehouse. Usually, because of my inertia and depression, I don’t want to go, but she can sling a can of guilt around like a sledgehammer, and prods me until I get out of my chair and go. Over time, this has become a sort of scheduled ritual, with my wife, my son, and me going to the Arcedium, then to the drug store, the grocery store, and sometimes the Public Library.

This last Sunday, however, my wife threw me a curveball and announced that, instead of the coffeehouse, we were going to go out for breakfast at a place called “Gabby’s”, which we did, as we always do what pleases my wife, because I am devoted to her happiness and well being. It makes my life a bit easier. Since I had my mental collapse and she has her kidney disease, our marriage has gone from the dysfunctional marriage of George and Martha from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” to the dysfunctional marriage of twin bedded Rob and Laura Petrie from the “Dick Van Dyke Show”. Anyway, the two of us, along with our son, had a very nice breakfast. Gabby’s turns out to be a fine restaurant – frequented by an older crowd – which suits me just fine. I’ll tell you more about it some time, but I’m off-topic again, as usual.

After our breakfast, we did our grocery shopping as usual, had no need to go to the drug store, and returned one CD to the Library. We then went home to spend the rest of Sunday like we always do – in separate rooms – my wife in the living room watching TV, my son in his room watching DVDs, playing video games, and listening to his music – all at the same time; and me in the bedroom doing precisely nothing but lying on the bed staring at the ceiling.

My wife felt “out of sorts”, so she suggested we go to the Arcedium in the late afternoon for a snack. We have NEVER done this before, but I agreed because the Arcedium is a great place to observe St. Sebastian’s cross-section of the human animal – and it is truly an experience that provides me with a lot of food for thought, particularly the philosophic question “Why do human beings even exist on this planet?”

This time, however, we descended Dante’s staircase and wandered into coffeehouse hell. The Arcedium was packed – mostly by people in expensive clothing – men in expensive sweaters and pressed slacks, women dressed as if going to church or the school play, and children dressed in the “coolest” new fashions for boys and girls. Apparently they were having a meeting in the Arcedium’s Meeting Room, which is designed to hold around thirty-two people. There must have been at least sixty people packed into this room, and they took the courtesy of stripping the rest of the coffeehouse of all its chairs. For any other customers who wanted to come in and have a pleasant cup of coffee, a snack, or a sandwich, well, they were out of luck, as there were no chairs to sit down on. We were lucky, or unlucky, as I would have it, to come in at just the right time – one table of three, who must have been there awhile, were just leaving, and we were able to grab it and quickly claim the three chairs still left in the main part of the coffeehouse.

As we sat down, the first thing we noticed was that it was, to coin a phrase, hot as hell in there. It must have been 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We ordered our little treats: a “Jump Start” for me, which is a medium cup of coffee with two shots of espresso in it, a hot chocolate for my son, and a crème brulee latte for my wife. When we were served, the drinks came in – egads – paper cups! How insulting for regular customers to be treated this way! I like coffee, but I HATE coffee in paper or Styrofoam cups. The Arcedium had run out of ceramic cups due to the meeting going on – THEY should have been served their coffee in paper cups – as I observed that even when they were finished, they didn’t return them to the counter, so the cups could be washed and used for regular customers. As a side-note, they also let their little Klan members run wild throughout the coffeehouse – just ripe for a caning – or an “accidental” tripping by a middle-aged man’s cane.

It turns out that, because I was curious as to what type of meeting was being held – when I found out I knew we were truly in hell. The meeting resembled a gathering of an elitist, suburban Ku Klux Klan – all white – who were holding this meeting to surreptitiously derail the on-coming realignment of their school district – all because it would allow Black, Hispanic, and other dark-skinned, dangerous children into their all-white, sacred halls of knowledge and learning.

This, coupled with their rudeness in taking all the chairs, not returning their empty cups, leaving ordered coffee on the counter to go cold – and their general smugness – made me angry and upset. We took our paper coffee cups and got out of there as fast as we could. We haven’t been back since – I even bought my weekly supply of coffee beans at Starbucks – but we’ll give it another try next Sunday. It is just too good a place for people watching to give up on due to one bad experience.

So let me tell you about some of the stunningly interesting patrons of the Arcedium that I have seen over the past few months. Remember, we go to the coffeehouse on Sundays to have a quiet, restful treat, not to witness circus events. To make things simpler, I’ve categorized some of the “types” we see regularly – and be warned – parental guidance is suggested for the following reading:

 The Gang of Four

Every time we go to the Arcedium, we see the same group of four old men – gray-haired retirees that are obviously on good pensions, in all likelihood collecting their Social Security checks, on Medicare or Medicaid, and using other government programs, such as property tax or home heating discounts. Well dressed, the thinnest one (I call him the Dead Pope) is always carrying a bible, another (Mr. Dapper) often has a book, but the other two (Tony Soprano and Bob Barker) never bring anything in.   They sit for hours at a time – after using their senior discount to buy their coffee – and complain about everything. They complain about the amount of taxes they have to pay – when others aren’t paying any taxes at all (not wealthy people, but the poor), the “problem” with immigration and how the “illegals’ are taking all the jobs – jobs that good old Americans would want to have and need badly, how gay marriage is a threat to “normal” marriages of men and a women, how Barack Obama shouldn’t be President – he has no birth certificate that proves he’s a real “American”. They complain about the price of gasoline, the price of groceries, the price of a haircut. They complain about the co-pays for drugs they need. They complain about the government “entitlements” everyone else is getting – all on their tax dime. They complain about unions, teacher pay, homeless shelters, and people with no health insurance. They complain about “Liberals” and “Socialism”, and “Communism, and Muslims. They complain about referendums for schools, the library, for a new fire station, and for public park improvements.

It’s amazing to listen to them talk as if the United States government was their enemy – and like we are a Third-World country. They quote what they heard on Fox News, or from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck on the radio. Never, ever have we heard them do anything but complain – they never laugh or tell stories or jokes – they just bitch about everything.

When they’re done, they climb into their Cadillac SUV, their Mercedes, their Toyota Sequoia, and their Lincoln SUV, no doubt to take advantage of more senior discounts at some store or restaurant. And, because I know this from my wife, who works in a bookstore, they don’t forget the first Tuesday of every month, when the new editions of Playboy and Penthouse magazines are available, (no taxes to pay on magazines) or where they demand to buy two books using a coupon that clearly says ”Good for One Purchase Only”.

They’ve got theirs and they are damn well going to keep it! No one else deserves anything! Especially help from the so-called “Government Safety Net”. Ignorance is indeed, Bliss.

The I Know No Shame Crowd

 In good weather, we have many a pleasant Sunday outing ruined by the “I Know No Shame” crowd. This is a larger category than you may think. First, believe it or not, there are some people who think spandex makes a fashion and lifestyle statement, especially those who come into the coffeehouse during or after a bicycle ride – all slimy, sweaty and smelly – really smelly. These are not young people, they are at least in their Fifties. They think nothing of walking through the coffeehouse wearing their spandex for all to see.

The older men look ridiculous and embarrass anyone who glances at them, (remember, when you are sitting down your eyes are at their waist level – or below) and the women all look like they are shoplifting throw pillows. They clomp through the coffeehouse with their “special” biking shoes that have rubber cleats on the soles and sounding like a herd of Clydesdales, place their sweaty helmets on the tables, and their sweaty backsides on the chairs. They also seem to seldom buy anything, preferring to drink the free water provided by the coffeehouse. Do they think it is a pleasant experience for us to have them sit at a table next to ours, while we are having our coffee and a snack?  If you ask me, the chairs need to be sterilized or, better yet, thrown out, after they have been sitting in them. Of all the ugly Americans in this world, why would anyone want to dress as the ugliest?

Second, there are the, well, you might call them lumpy middle-aged men, who come into the coffeehouse, obviously not having had a morning shower, wearing sandals with no socks, sweatpants with no underwear, and some type of sports jersey into which they have stuffed their turgid torsos like ten pounds of sausage in a five pound casing.

I’d hate to be the barrista who has to handle their money as they pull it out of the front of their sweatpants.

They hang around (no pun intended), as they stand at the counter, reading the sports page while their coffee is being prepared. It is not a pretty sight. Thank goodness they usually get their coffee to go.

Third, there are the women who come in with unwashed hair, baby on hip, and half of their tattoo showing over the crack of their  butts. Special lattes for them, as baby drools all over everything and smells like it needs to be changed. Usually these women come and go quickly, praise the Lord!

The last group is a common one – you’ve probably seen them everywhere you go. They come into the coffeehouse, make a pretense of perusing the menu board, then sidle toward the washroom – use it – and then leave through the side door without buying anything.

The Believers

This next category is very interesting to me. It is made up of what I call the “I believe everything it says in the Bible” people. I never realized how many people learn about God while gulping down a low fat, double, caramel crème latte, with a blueberry scone on the side.   This group includes every age range you can think of, except the very youngest. I also never realized how many ways there are to learn about God outside of a church. There’s reading the Bible, of course, there is reading the Bible along with a Study Guide, there’s listening to the Bible on their computer, there’s WATCHING the Bible on their I-Pad or computer (with headphones attached), there are study groups to discuss the meaning of the Bible, and how we will all be saved, there is Mentor and Disciple, quietly talking about their beliefs tone another, there is the aggressive evangelist trying to recruit young people by buying them coffee, and finally, there is “The Man In The Felt Hat”, who spreads all of his religious paraphernalia out on the table – hoping to land a curious fish. These people all seem harmless enough on the surface, but something about them is unsettling to me. I get the feeling that if I said anything to them I would either be targeted as a recruit or sent straight to hell and damnation. Sometimes I wonder if they are going around and taking names. Their very aura cries “Creepy” to me.

 Now don’t get me wrong – we really enjoy the Arcedium. I love the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee they have there (among the many other types of coffee offered), and every other week I bring a pound of beans home to enjoy every morning. My wife and son enjoy their drinks also, and, on occasion, we eat lunch from their limited menu of sandwiches and soups – all very good – before we go on our way. But as much as we enjoy ourselves, there are still other people that can either make me laugh or want to hit them with my cane. Among these are:

 The I Need My Own Very Special Coffee Concoction People

These people come in, usually women, but sometimes men, who just have to have their own very special coffee concoction. They don’t care how long it takes them to order and are oblivious to the line forming behind them, waiting patiently while they explain what they want to the barrista. Concoctions like: a low-fat, double vanilla, caramel crème, latte, with a bit of cinnamon, chocolate shaved on top, in a large to-go cup.   Oh, and don’t forget to put in an extra shot of espresso! Some of the concoctions they come up with make me laugh – they end up ordering a science experiment rather than coffee. I have seen some of these people take up to five minutes to order a cup of java, as they order, change their mind, order something else, and then go back to their original order. Sometimes I’d like to give them an extra shot with my cane, just to move them along.

The You Can Take Care of My Kids Women

 This group is comprised of women who have bred multiple times, all within consecutive years – much like rabbits. They let their little nose-pickers stand around looking at the sweets case, pressing their little snot-filled noses up to the glass, until THEY decide what they want Mommy to order for them. After ordering, its time for the gym – they let their little rats run free all over the coffeehouse – bothering the other patrons, using their crayons to draw on the counter, leave their coats, hats, gloves and toys anywhere they please – until their order is ready. Then Mommy sits the kids down at the counter, where they squirm, scream, spill, and generally distract the entire establishment  – all while Mommy is on her cell phone, oblivious to the circus. When they are finished and finally leave, you see they never clean up after themselves – somebody else can do it.

The I Dont Care Where I Sit Its Free Wi-Fi People

The Arcedium offers free Wi-Fi for people who want to hunch over their computers, sometimes drinking an obligatory cup of coffee, sometimes not. They don’t care where they sit. We have been in there when five of the seven tables has only one person sitting at it – hunched over their computers doing something “important”, and oblivious to the fact there is no place for parties of three or four to sit, except at the counter – where they should be sitting.

The Somebody Else Can Clean Up After Me People

I know you’ve seen this everywhere – the people who eat and drink and then leave his or her mess for someone else to clean up. This means the barristas, in addition to making the food and drinks, have to come out from behind the counter and clean off the tables, even though there are garbage receptacles placed strategically all around the coffeehouse. My son, even with his Downs Syndrome, knows enough to bus his own dishes, return the newspapers to the counter, wipe the table, and put the chairs back in order before we leave. He also gets up on his own, and with his natural politeness clears off other tables. The barristas have noticed this, and they all say hello to him when we walk in. He gets a big kick out of this attention and acknowledgement.

 The The World Has Never Seen A Love Like Ours People

This final group is one that most makes me want to yield my cane the most (other than the spandex models). They are usually young people in “love”, who can’t keep their hands off of each other, or their lips connecting in a passionate, big sloppy kiss.   I don’t know how they avoid spilling hot coffee in their laps – something that would be great to see – and would also put a little shock into their love life. If you can’t maintain your decorum in a coffeehouse, you should be in the “Rooms by the Hour” Motel.

All in all, the Arcedium is a great place to be. We have spent many happy hours there. There ARE nice customers who frequent the place, but they are not much fun to write about – it would be like writing a math textbook to me, and I suspect reading it would be the same for you. But if you are craving a great cup of coffee, go to the Arcedium Coffehouse – you will not be disappointed!

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