My goodness, the question of all questions has been asked. What would you do on your day off? Well, if it was truly a day off, I’ve a solid answer for it.
I hate sparkles. The entirety of my dislike revolves around the notion that I hate sequins and feel that they are the tackiest thing a girl could put on. They are an abomination.
But back to the concept of still or sparkling. A still day would still shimmer with sparkles, for if it does not it’s not a true day off. That being said, in this relative sense, I’d need my day to sparkle.
Go figure, as if A Sophisticate would ever not be doing something. Viktor claims it’s a sickness. That I don’t know how to not think of things to do.
But when the world’s quite literally at her fingertips, then what’s a girl to do?
The day would begin with visiting a new spot. Anywhere in the world. France, Romania, England. The second would be making a friend in that new spot. I feel it a necessary tradition when visiting a new spot, as the memory would grow fonder in my mind.
Next: the ballet.
Afterwards, a classical concert. Did you know that I’ve only ever been to one classical concert in my life? I scarcely remember it at all as well, because I was too little.
Then I believe I’d attend a car show. I absolutely adore luxury vehicles. The one of choice right now is the new F-type Coupe.
Also, my favourite concept car is the Peugeot Onyx. Heather says I’m odd for daydreaming about cars. I always get distracted in the middle of a conversation because a sleek Maserati would slip by and I just gape, slack-jawed at it until she snaps her fingers and asks me what I’m looking at. It’s much comparable to a dog with a bone.
Anyway, back to the day of all days: reality.
If I had none of these things at my disposal (which, honestly, I don’t), I’d spend my day off in a decent bookstore and build a fort with my favourite books and climb inside and read Shakespeare aloud in different, animated voices.
Why, you dare ask?
It’s my day off. Don’t judge me.
I wish I could allude to some sort of past glory days, but the truth is I’m probably too young for that. I don’t have some amazing tale about living through the 70’s or about my voyage across the ocean. My salad days were running through the trees and pretending to make salad with my best friend. That and re-watching Toy Story to no end.
Either way, my salad days are pretty much entirely bleak. And there’s definitely no dressing on that salad.
They remind me of the stories I read about the boyhood of Fionn Maccumhail. He used to run around the forest too, but least the animals would chase him back. He’d run with a thorn to prick them with and would catch ducks under water by snagging on their feet. If you’ve never read the Boyhood of Fionn, you truly are missing out on some decent Irish storytelling. The book will make you realize just how impure we all are in our lives today.
Anyway, there you have it. My salad days and the boyhood of a legendary Irish giant.
When I was thirteen I did a mind exercise that my teacher recommended. I was told to close my eyes and envision a scenario where a key would materialize in the palm of our hand. When we opened our eyes we were to describe that key in full detail and draw it out.
Mine was an old, brass skeleton key with carvings of flowers etched into it. It was painted golden, but somehow I knew it wasn’t, maybe because it seemed that I could feel the weight of it in my palm. it wasn’t any precious metal.
Anyway, the key was supposed to be something to interpret who we were in our past lives. I think I was the only one in the class with a key so antique that upon looking at it, the teacher told me I must’ve been a princess in my past life. I gave her a flat look. She was a frilly type, and she probably believed I was going to buy in on her romanticized interpretation of my past life. She caught on to the look and amended: I must’ve been royalty.
I wondered about that. A key that could tell you your past. How would that help anyone today though? Were we not completely different people in our past lives? What benefit would I get from knowing who I was then, today?
I thought about it some more. My tastes today. Not accustomed to royalty per say, but rather tradition. I owned the traditional things. I adored the regal things and class. Books, poetry, music, art…all in classical tastes.
Perhaps she wasn’t so far off the mark.
A key to see into your past life. Maybe we’re all the same person in every generation.
It would only take a skeleton key to know for me.
There are certain people in my life that upon meeting I just think “You are something special.”. In some cases it’s attraction on a romantic level, but in most cases, it’s just plain interest. It can happen with anyone to be honest. I have it with people on the street that I only glance at for the briefest of moments. But this moment induces some sort of alertness in me, and I end up wondering about that person. I don’t wonder about a lot of people. I know people want to believe I do, but I don’t. I’d rather not think about you unless you choose to share whatever’s going on with your life to me properly. Otherwise…I tend to live in my mind by my own accord.
Bob the Barista is just plain interest. Bob the Barista has worked at the same Starbucks since what feels like forever now (perhaps longer than five years). I’m interested in him. Perhaps it’s because he’s acquired a hipster beard since before it became trendy or perhaps it’s because he’s worked there long enough to finally catch my eye. Either way, Bob exists in my mind and I’m not sure why.
Bob the Barista is a poet. Bob also has a real name, but I don’t care to know it. Once I nickname people it’s really hard for them to break out of that namesake. I number people too, but maybe that will come up another time. Bob is an art student. Bob has a girlfriend who sports a short bob, coincidentally. Bob is in his late-twenties and knows how I like my name spelt. Aside from that, Bob really knows nothing about me.
Or so I think. He’s almost always there for mine and Heather’s Starbucks dates and is always seen in the background wiping down tables or helping other customers. He can be compared to a extra in a sitcom. Just there for the movements in the background. But it wouldn’t exactly surprise me if he knew details about me because of it. We’re loud enough, and we visit often. At the very least Bob knows my name.
I wonder about Bob. I’m not so sure what poets do exactly. I figure they sit on windowsills and stare out into the rain with a pad and pen I suppose. Yeah, that seems…poetic. I know the rain puts me in one of those moods. Heather says I’m not allowed to strike up a conversation with him because she thinks “it’s wierd”. I don’t think she realizes how hard that is to refrain from that exactly, especially considering what I know about him. I just want to be able to walk into my favourite Starbucks and say “Hey Bob, what’s up?” And he’ll reply with something fitting and ask me if I want my usual.
I think every customer deserves that bond with their favourite barista.
Maybe then I’d use his real name. It’s hard to say. What gets me about this the most is that Bob doesn’t realize that there’s an interest in Bob. He probably just goes about his life attending poetry slams with his soccer mom girlfriend.
So here’s to the Starbucks barista who doesn’t realize he exists–Bob the Barista.
Who is Bob the Barista? And what kind of life does he live exactly?
I hear tattoos are supposed to increase your self-worth. Something about choosing an image to remain permanent on your skin for the rest of your life is said to–I don’t know–increase your oxytocin levels or something of that matter. I can likely say I won’t ever get a tattoo. Why? Because I can never imagine marring my skin like that. No image is better than the real image. No message is better than the one seen in plain sight. So why on earth do people get tattoos?
The same reason people smoke. The same reason hipsters stretch ghastly holes in their earlobes. The same reason I deliberately wave to the person behind the stranger walking toward me. To feel badass, or important. Haven’t you ever done that? If not, then perhaps you should test it out. It’s quite powerful, and in all honesty I do it for fun. The person just about jerks when they see you waving, and their eyes get a little testy before they flush and realize it wasn’t for them. They lower their heads and walk on past as if nothing happened.
Perhaps that is quite crude for me to do. But I do get bored. What’s a girl to do when she forgets to bring her novel from home?
I enjoy mind games. They entertain me on my long walks to school and back. For about forty mins, I can make people look where I want them to look, make people do double-takes with an odd face, make people point a finger back at themselves in confusion. In a city that walks everywhere, it’s hardly likely you’ll ever see that stranger again. And by the time you reach home, it’s a ephemeral moment lost in your time-stream. And theirs. Least that’s how I rationalize it.
I’m quite the prankster, obviously.
If self-worth was that cheap, we’d live in a manic world.
Wait a second…we already do.
Oil and water make nothing beautiful when put together. So, let’s make some salad dressing instead. Also water tends to be flat, unless infused with some berries or cucumbers or something of the sort, making it relatively unfitting for my life. There are no flat people in my life. I don’t keep bad company. One thing I pride myself on is knowing when to close doors.
You might’ve read If I stay by Gayle Forman. If not there’s a movie out now based on the book that is also worth while. In it the main character categorizes people quite smartly. There are two types of people in the world. People who drink real coffee and people who drink the sugary latte drinks. Heather is among the latter, and I’m the first.
So perhaps oil and vinegar don’t even fit.
She’s the person in my life who’s most unlike me. We argue over everything. She’s a cat person, I’m a dog person. She watches what she refers to as “TLC crap”(AKA reality television) and I watch shows based off history. She listens to pop music on the radio, I prefer the more obscure bands. Point is, we have a difference of opinion on basically everything.
She’s not a sophisticate, however.
So then how exactly are we friends? Gracie has this way of describing when two people can be around each other as “operating on the same wavelength”. I suppose that’s what we do. She knows me better than I know myself most times. We grew up with each other and both agree that modern art is a hoax.
Every week we set time apart to have what we call a “Starbucks Date”. Basically we just go get coffee, but to us it’s so much more. A breath of fresh air after a long week. She orders a sugary drink (I think she’s moved on to some raspberry refresher. Her staple is usually a chai tea latte), and I grab a tall Pike with nothing in it. We sit down at our spot and hours pass until we decide a long drive through the trees is a good way to end the hangout. Since she goes to school closer to where I used to live, she still lives with her parents in my old town. That means I only see her when I’m visiting on the weekends. Or unless I pull one of our ‘secret sleepovers’ which is what I’m doing tomorrow. Basically I come home and just hang around her place, not even letting my parents know I’m in town. It’s a good way to unwind and I do it every so often to recharge.
See what I mean when I say my life is something like a book? There are characters in my life. Events. Relationships. That’s one of the reasons I began A Sophisticate. Just seemed…odd that I had this story right in front of me and no one else could access it.
This post is about the man in the bookstore.
It’s no secret that I love books. Lately, I’ve strayed from my usual reads to go back and explore what made me fall in love with reading. So I went to the first book that really made a change in me. I understood it in comic books for little boys, but I didn’t quite think I could ever capture the concept of…well, superheros. Batman to be more precise.
Somehow in my high school days I’d picked up a copy of the book Batman Begins by Dennis O’Neill. It is indeed the novelization of the movie. But I hadn’t seen the movie at the time either, and everything I knew about Batman (basically that he acquired a butler with a fanciful name and a sleek ride) was from cartoons that I’d flipped through as a little girl. Anyway, the book struck me for the simple reason that Bruce Wayne was human. And that he was selfless, for the most part.
It made me wonder. I do love it when things make me wonder. People usually don’t. Concepts and history do. I hold the story dear to me for that reason.
Anyway, a few days earlier I made a trip to the bookstore in search for a copy of this novel so that I could have it at my disposal for whenever I wanted to flip through it. That was when a man stopped me as I searched through the aisles.
Truthfully, I didn’t want to be bothered. Once I have an idea of what I want, I don’t appreciate interruptions.
I have this concept of a knight. Every girl does, in her own way. Mine’s because the knight is a reoccurring motif in my life, but that’s for another time.
Either way, I wasn’t the slightest bit fazed by him. He clearly didn’t carry any honour. He tried chatting me up, and in the beginning I allowed him to speak, thinking he’d wander off in a moment. He didn’t. He began to tell me about his impressive life, eyes growing wide when he explained he had a top-dollar job in the downtown core and a stable career ahead of him. As if to impress me. I couldn’t help but think this creep was going wife-shopping in a bookstore.
It irks me that people believe in marriage. Not that their love isn’t real. But rather that I don’t think I could love the same man for the rest of my life.
He scared me, but also annoyed me a little with his pompous tales.
So what did I do?
Naturally, I concocted a story about how horrible my life was. About how I wasn’t studying anything that was bound to get me a career and that I held no job title.
I watched the light slowly fade from his eyes. From interest to disgust. Now he felt about me the way I felt about him. He still asked for my number. Overkill, he was. I didn’t give him the right one. In truth though, I’d do the same. I’m not dazzled by a good status and five-year plans. What I really admire is people who aren’t bound by society’s constricts. And people who deviate from the norm.
He made me realize that about myself even more.
Honour, that’s not something you learn about in school.
And I still never found that copy….
It think that’s what irks me the most about this occurrence.
I have paper cranes dangling from a string in my bedroom on a backdrop of fairy lights and an alice blue sky. It’s stagnant. The decorum in my place is again consistent with something right out of a novel. In fact, my whole life seems to be set in course that way.
I once read a book that moved me. It was called A Thousand Paper Cranes. I don’t care to read it again or search up the author’s name. It broke me, that’s why. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, I don’t prefer to dwell in the past like that. Anyway, it was about this little girl who had leukaemia and a best friend who prayed for her survival. It went something along the lines of this: the best friend knew about a tactic to cure her. A thousand paper cranes makes a wish. So, with this knowledge he gathered a thousand paper cranes and brought them to her hospital bed.
She still died.
It’s an inherent tale about hope, but rather paradoxical in nature as it seemingly takes away all that ‘hope’. Anyway, I told Amelia about this book around the first time we met. She internalized these words in a way I never imagined. Her whole life is set around achieving goals, you see. So naturally, when she would achieve something, she made a paper crane. At one point her whole floor was littered with them and she’d tell me about her scholarly achievements in college and about how she would give one of them to someone she deemed worthy.
Knowing this, I knew I was going to receive one. And I did. In the mail. But I didn’t predict what happened next. We have this book, sort of a scrapbook of our friendship. It’s called The Legendary Book. People aren’t supposed to see it. It’s contents are filled with knowledge beyond our friendship. Thoughts, photos, sketches, journals. Mind you, she lives a country away now so we are forced to send it back and forth via mail, as if we live don’t exist in the digital age at all.
Time came and went. She stopped talking about the cranes. We stopped e-mailing. All means of communication at this point were shut down.
I had a birthday.
Two days after my birthday I received a large package in the mail and ripped it open to find The Legendary Book. I opened it up to find a plethora of paper cranes taped to the pages in varying shapes and sizes. Happy birthday, it read, make a wish.
I’m not sure about you, but I quite do believe in fate. I’m a rational person. And by that logic, and because she exists, I believe it to be true. It was fate that I met this wondrous girl and that she was able to understand me like none other. I only hope that the rest of the world find their Amelia, and are able to keep with her unlike me. Perhaps one day I’ll find a man to match her. I’d marry that man.
What are your thoughts on fate? Friendship across borders? I’d like to hear that I’m not the only one damning society (and the market) for a friend’s move. Comment below.
I wish I could say that I lived someplace special. Like Iceland or Maine. Everything seems to happen in Maine. Have you ever read a solid teen fanfic book that wasn’t based in Maine or on the other coast of America? It’s strange really. Something about dense fog and rain draw those teens right in. But what’s more interesting are the lighthouses. Why, pray tell, do those things never get any recognition? They’re clearly symbolic too. Perhaps because the protagonist is too daft himself to realize that innate symbolism behind it. Or rather the author. Perhaps because it’s too beautiful.
What is this life, really?
It’s gorgeous. I adore it. I live in an elite city, I’ll tell you. And while I’m too young to be amongst the young professionals that scour through the city, I certainly am amongst the ones who are trying to make it. I live a good life from the outside. I have a strong family, an amazing pair of older siblings, one brother, one sister. I live in a glass building. I tell you, when I was a little girl I always imagined a house of glass for myself, never thought I’d grow a pair and move to the city to live in a condo of glass. That’s symbolic too, considering I’m holed up in here most of the time.
My past is something out of a story. Ixnay the odd supernatural inclusion and yeah, my life pretty much was a good teen read. I don’t like dwelling on the past. Something about it restrains me from moving forward. But I’ll put it down here just once, so you get it.
I lived in a small town known for growing peaches. I’m dead serious. There’s a pageant every year for Peach Queen and almost always the most popular girl at my high school would attain the status. People knew you in the community. We only just got a Wal-Mart Super centre (I prefer the old place better) and one of our old historic monuments was an ice cream shoppe. There are trees, everywhere. And a beautiful escarpment to go along with it. This is where I fell in love with nature. This is where I fell in love with trees and the classical things. I developed a taste for the finer things in life to go along with that first love.
My second love was writing. I started when I was ten. I hadn’t even noticed, realized even what I was doing until it became everything I thought about. Years later, it may not be the only thing I think about. But it is up there.
There are only two people in the world that I would kill for. My sister and my best friend. I’m not cold by nature but I was brought up in a strict household. Affection…I never realized it until i got older, was hard for me to come by. Mostly because of the setting I was in. And fixating on one thing to love is difficult at time. I fall in and out of love with everything and anything at a moment’s notice. But the one thing that remains constant is words.
I had loads of friends growing up. That wasn’t a problem for me. But it wasn’t until I hit high school that I realized I hadn’t a close friend. Clue in the one person I could never get tired of. She’s a genius. We’ll call her…Amelia, for identity’s sake. Amelia is the smartest person I know. Intellectually. She’s working to become a cardiologist. How the hell we clicked, I wasn’t sure. The closest thing I have to love, probably. She moved away in the twelfth grade. We wrote letters, Skyped, called each other often. But eventually things waned. They’re waning even still. But I can’t imagine any one else taking her place.
I have another best friend aside from Amelia, her name is Heather. She’s been there since I was six and will come up quite often.
My sister, Gracie, is a Human Resources Coordinator at her old university. She’s five years older than me. She raised me. I owe her pretty much everything. Also, she’s my roommate.
My brother, Viktor, is a dispelling character. I don’t know how to quite describe him. A sophisticate to the tee, I suppose, for it was him that influenced me to acquire such delicate tastes. He’s not all that refined himself, but he’s clever. Up there with Amelia. He’s finished up his university with a degree in material engineering. He likes intelligence and other models. He gets in with his model friends and high-status parties. He once met Scary-Spice (this apparently made him cool) and has never worked a day in his life for the belief that he should be worked under.
My parents are traditional. They taught me to be humble, respectful and honest. I swear by them all. I’m always thinking: Perhaps I’m not too humble. Perhaps I can be more respectful of others. Perhaps I need to sugarcoat some truths. But also, I disagree with my parents on just about everything. They wanted a small life for me and that will not be the result. They came from a small country and ‘enjoy’ a humble life. They’re a touchy topic and hopefully will not be brought up for the most part.
I am creative. I write, paint, sketch, take pictures all with the hope that some day I can figure out what makes something beautiful. I’m obsessed with finding it. I look toward models and fashion spreads for this reason. I study the nature of people and the actual environment. It drives me mad. Sometimes I can’t sleep with the thought of it. That there is so much I crave to see and for it, perhaps I’ll never settle down in my life. Because I can’t ever imagine just being with one person, one beauty and ignoring the rest for the whole of my existence.
That’s why I have books. Write books. To imagine this beauty and put it on paper. Because somehow, for some odd reason, I don’t think I’ll see it in this lifetime. So, therefore, one can only imagine.