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I have a staring problem

…but I know how to work it.

Today, I was in Octane… which, for those of you aren’t on the hipster scene in Atlanta, is a super emo coffee shop on the Westside stuffed to the gills with body odor, braided hair, dirty converse sneakers and laptops attached to ear buds.Their coffee is alright, but they do serve up Sublime doughnuts, which are a weakness of mine. I had one today during my visit.

But there’s a reason other than sub-par coffee that keeps me from ever feeling comfy-cozy inside Octane, and why I will probably never use it on a regular basis. The starers. The emo-savvy, the die-hard hipsters, the stale hippies whose refusal to wear matching clothing or brush their hair, but have patented the heavy eye-liner look make them the supreme reign over all things eclectic. Me, with my 5-inch rockstar heels, and matching silk top, cleverly coordinating jewelry (if I do say so myself) and freshly washed and styled hair (ok, that one may be a stretch, but I have fooled myself into thinking no one would ever know)… I am a dartboard for judgmental stares from the uber chilled out.

It’s almost like you shouldn’t even approach the counter without something radical or retro worked into your outfit. No fedora? Go see Starbucks. No horn rimmed eye glasses? You should probably just work from home. No tats or gauged ear holes? The corporate world is calling.

And take it from a veteran starer… I mean, a serious, can’t take my eyes off you until you actually leave the vicinity starer (Mike will support me on this–it was one of the reasons he waited to commit to me… just kidding… well maybe). And don’t think that I’m not staring right back at all of them. Drinking in the sweat-sustained style, the rolled up because i ride bike everywhere khakis and the I really like my hair this much longer on the right side. But, as a self-prescribed starer, I absolutely know what it takes to get away with it. I’ve memorized laugh lines and face freckles to the point of seeing them again in public and actually questioning whether we know each other… out loud, to their face (Usually, only embarrassing for me).

My findings for what constitutes a successful stare? You’ve got to master the look-away, the wandering eyes and the day-dream facade. You can’t just stare through the awkward glance they give you because they feel your burning eyes drenching their entire aura in curiosity (audacity, admiration, or what not), thinking THEY’LL be the one to look away… No, never, not a chance. They immediately know you are ogling over something either on their face, in the teeth or you’re just an obsessive weirdo and they’ll keep looking at you to see if you really are a weirdo, or maybe, perchance, it was just a casual eye contact mistake. (This never actually happens).

Well (to the guy in the green shirt with the girl who was wearing her emo bra like it was a bathing suite), I see you. I see you staring at me and then whispering about my inappropriate coffee shop wardrobe to your poorly supported lady. Head-pointing to my lack of a laptop or earphones. And, I am not intimidated, just reaffirmed in my own significantly more impressive abilities to take inventory on one’s neighboring sippers.

With the second glance up and the confirmation that, yes, he really was an obvious staring weirdo, I made no changes to the style with which I scarfed down my sticky, crumbly, always-out-of-this-world satisfying Cinnamon Twist. In fact, it was over an hour ago now, but I am pretty sure I stuffed it through my teeth with even more gusto. I probably ate it in record time. Licking my lips, offering up a verbal, audible “Mmmm” to the pastry pros in the sky. With Bonnie Rait in my eardrums encouraging me to give them something to talk about, I smacked that cinnamon, let it fall through my hair (and, honestly, maybe a crumb or two down my shirt) and licked each finger before chugging a (BLASPHEMY) Diet Coke. I am so not Octane material.

(It was then that my meeting arrived and I had to actually compose myself, dust off the crumbs and be professional again, and in my haste scratched my face with my watch face and bled for the first ten minutes of our meeting… sigh). I’m led to wander whether the karma is a result of the sweet, sugary indulgence or the blatant reciprocation of awkward stare down. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the fact Captain Kirk (aka, Chris Pine) was standing at the door when I waited on my to-go order and smiled directly at me and my 5-inch heels (which yes indeed make me taller than him, even with his hair standing on end) gives me the obvious edge.



One thought on “I have a staring problem

  1. Have to admit i didn’t even notice any stares!! Because the”mom” and “dad” were hip in acting like we knew the kind of coffee and exactly which fritter we wanted!! -haha – dad wasn’t sure what the little coffee pot was exactly!! Odd sorts, but i love it!!

    Posted by Mom | June 11, 2012, 9:28 pm

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