coffee shop

My Phone Is More Important Than Your Face

I went to the coffee shop tonight. The entire time I was there (about an hour), this couple who appeared to be in their late 40s/early 50s was seated near me. Despite the fact they were at the same table, right across from each other, they barely acknowledged each other’s existence. Instead, they spent the whole time staring at their phones.

They just sat there in silence, engrossed by their phones.

Not talking to each other.

Just…looking at their phones and ignoring the other person.

It made my heart hurt a little.

I blacked out their faces to protect their privacy and also reflect their empty, empty hearts.

If I had a copy of it with me, I would have given them this.

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Why Even Promote It?

Yesterday Sarah and I were out and about. It was one of those situations where we hadn’t eaten for a while. We weren’t very hungry; we were kinda thirsty. We knew we should probably get something small to eat and/or drink but we didn’t know what.

We were driving past the Lancaster campus of HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) and I saw a coffee shop I’d never tried before. It was a relatively new building with a professional-looking light tan brick exterior. The signs outside were printed in a very upscale button-down font. It was called Gold Cafe and the steaming cup of coffee on the logo was enticing.

Figuring they would probably have light snacks as well, I recommended we give it a try. We pulled in next to the drive-thru lane and Sarah said, “I think this is a bank.”

I was about to remind her of all of the coffee signs outside the building, but something inside told me she may be right. Sure enough, as we got out of the car and approached the front door (and one of their signs) I saw that in smaller print underneath where it said “Gold Cafe” it also had printed Union National Community Bank.

We walked in and to our right was a small seating area with tables and chairs. In front of us was indeed a coffee shop counter. And to our left was a bank lobby. I was about to say, “How weird is this? A coffee shop and a bank” but then I realized all of the coffee makers had plastic covers on them. The counter was dark and there weren’t many lights on in the seating area. There were two large coffee dispensing canisters on the counter labeled “REGULAR” and “DECAF” with a small stack of paper cups beside them. On the specials board it said, “Talk to our manager about opening an account today!”

I shifted my somewhat stunned look to the bank lobby. There were two men in business suits sitting, conversing, and not eating or drinking coffee. They didn’t acknowledge that Sarah and I were standing in the middle of the lobby, still perplexed that a bank had lured us in by posing as a coffee shop.

“What is this?” I asked as we turned around and walked out. As I think about it now, it didn’t look like a bank or a coffee shop. It looked like one of those churches that have coffee shops inside of them but it was all dark because it was a Monday afternoon.

As we pulled out I noticed that the drive-thru was actually a bank teller drive-thru. What a mean, mean trick! To pose as a coffee shop and really just be a bank? That’s low, people. That’s like when your friend asks you if you want to go out to eat and you find out that it’s really a business pitch for some new pyramid scheme they’ve gotten into. How dare you tell me you have coffee when you’re really a freakin’ bank and the only coffee you have is something that was probably brewed six hours earlier sitting in an aluminum tank?

I found this promotional picture for the Gold Cafe online.

Please note that

A) People are actually there
B) There are baristas present
C) The lights are on
D) From the outside, it does indeed look like a fancy coffee shop
E) Union National Community Bank are tricky tricksters

Shame on you, Bank-Posing-As-Coffee-Shop.

Production Update – “The Coffee Shop”

Last night I shot the principal photography on my new short film “The Coffee Shop” (the first in a series of short films collectively called “The Guys”). The film stars David Beaman and Matt Stine and also features the very bubbly Sarah Beaman.

This film follows two guys in a coffee shop as they ponder asking out the cute girl who works behind the counter. Needless to say it was written while I was at the coffee shop and since Sarah was working there at the time I decided to cast her as the object of the guys’ affection. I originally began writing the part of Guy Who Wants To Ask Out Cute Girl But Is Too Shy with me in mind since that’s pretty much the story of my life but then I realized I’m like 30 years older than Sarah and that’d just be weird. I then decided to cast David in my role and Matt in the role of his counterpart.

I was happy all of my first-picks were able to participate. Although none of them are actors they did a great job and I have to admit I was very impressed. They all got into it as soon as I started rolling film. They needed very little direction and their performance perfectly captured what this writer was going for.

About 99% of shooting is completed; I hope to get the remaining shots within a week or so. I will be in the editing room today (aka Brewdaily’s Cafe) editing what I got last night and will then turn over a rough copy to musician extraordinaire Steve Bridgeman, who has agreed to provide the music. Those of you who are in the Pennsylvania area will surely be familiar with Steve’s music. He is one of the best, highly skilled guitar players I have ever heard perform and after hearing some of his “Movie Theme” songs he had on his website for a bit, I knew I’d be a fool not to ask him to take part. Steve was more than game and I am really excited to have him on board!

Of course, I will keep you updated as things progress. When the final product is complete it will be posted on my YouTube page (stop by and add me as a friend if you haven’t already).

And in case you’re wondering, “The Failures of Ed” is still in production. Since I can pretty much film that any time I want, I had to bump a few things ahead of it on the shooting schedule before I leave town.

More to come…

My Pennsylvania Top 10

As the time to move on to my next adventure gets closer, I’ve had quite a few friends ask me if I’m excited to make the return out East. In a word: Yes!! The hardest part is actually waiting to make the move in mid-June. But that’s given me time to plan and plot, and as a result I present you with the

TOP TEN THINGS I’M GOING TO DO WHEN I GET BACK TO PENNSYLVANIA*

10. Go to IKEA
9. Find a coffee shop to write in (you have a lot to live up to, Pennsylvania Coffee Shops. I’ve become quite fond of my Brewdaily’s Cafe, and have written four short films, a short story, and a lot of stand-up there).
8. Speaking of stand-up, find someplace to do that
7. Re-acquaint myself with the train to NYC
6. Have get-togethers of the movie-watching/karaoke/game playing/hanging out kind
5. Film that movie I wrote about a radio station 5 years ago
4. Find the Amish quaint and adorable until I am stuck behind a buggy while I am running late and then remember how much they slow me down
3. Finally get to hang out with people at JTL who weren’t there when I was there last, but seem really cool online and in email
2. Hug Fred, Lisa, Stacey, John, Phil, Ann, Strayer, Mindy, Darlene, Trish, Linford, Mel, Tom, Ethan, Aubrey, the Ruoffs, the Grosses, and whoever else I may have forgotten or gets in my way.
1. Smile a lot

*My PA-area friends are more than welcome to join me on any/all of these adventures.

Things I Learned in Indiana

As my time in the Hoosier state begins to draw to a close, it’s time for me to look back on this last year or so and reflect on what I’ve learned. This is a ritual I often do when I move from one city to another. It’s good to reflect and figure out what, if anything, you’ve learned in a certain era of your life. If we don’t learn anything we often repeat our mistakes and God knows I sure don’t want that.

So here are a few things that come to mind when I think of

THINGS I LEARNED WHILE I WAS IN INDIANA

1. Small towns aren’t necessarily bad; I’m just not a small-town guy.

2. If you show interest in a girl and your friends warn you that she is ka-razy, they’re not just speaking figuratively. Trust me.

3. If you don’t stand up for yourself, no one will.

4. You can inherit a lot of things from your parents, both good and bad, but you can also choose what traits and/or habits you do and don’t want to carry on in your own life.

5. When you’re away from home for 15 years you don’t realize when you go back people will be 15 years older than they were when you last left. Sometimes that’s a lot, sometimes it’s not, depending on the person. Sometimes you’re impressed to see how much someone has grown, and sometimes when someone is “all grown up” it’s a little depressing if they’ve grown too much to have fun.

6. If you offer yourself to someone and they don’t take you at face value, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s on them.

7. I would rather be hurt than hurt someone else.

8. Blood is thicker than water, but friends can sometimes be thicker than blood.

9. Gas prices are way too high.

10. If there’s a local coffee shop in your town, swing by there instead of Starbucks. For real.

11. You can find humor in anything. Anything. You really have to look for it sometimes, but it’s there.

12. If you’re good at something, find a way to do it.

13. If you’ve wronged someone, talk to them about it. Admit your shortcomings and ask for forgiveness. It’s so much better than staying up at night thinking about it.

14. If you’re going through a desert, keep walking. The oasis you finally reach will be more than worth it.

A Very Angry Un-Edlike Rant

All I want is a *&^%$# white mocha. Is that so much to ask for?

But no.

My coffee maker broke tonight. That in itself sucks, especially since I got a bunch of coffee for Christmas.

I went to the coffee shop but it’s closed due to “Winter Hours.” IT’S 8:30 ON A *&^$# FRIDAY NIGHT, PEOPLE. What kind of sad excuse of a city am I living in when I can’t get a *&@# cup of coffee after 8 on a $#@&* Friday &^#@* night?

I realize it’s not the end of the world but can’t a guy get a *$#@ coffee when he’s feeling a little blue?

(More swear words and whining deleted due to Ed’s better judgment)

When do the good guys catch a break? I’m tired

How To Make Fun Of A Relative

It’s Fair Week here in Dekalb County, Indiana. The carnies and their Tents Of Questionable Odors blew into town a week ago and will be gone for another year in just a few hours.

When I was younger I used to love going to the fair and bumping into friends and family as I strolled the town square. Not anymore. Now that I’m older I realized that everyone comes out to the fair. Everyone. The kind of Hoosiers that most people out-of-state think of when they think of a Hoosier. I’m not quite sure where these people come from, as the other 51 weeks of the year they are mysteriously absent. Not that I’m complaining. I’m just not a fan of the hillbilly.

Recently Dad and I did some work for some friends of ours. We attended the same church with them before I moved away from Indiana in ’92 and their daughter Amy was in the youth group with me. I had a chance to meet Amy for some coffee and catch up on the last 15 years.

We met at my favorite coffee shop in town, which is also her favorite, but that initially presented us with a problem. The cafe is located right in the middle of the town square where the fair is located and that meant we’d both have to traverse through the masses. We decided to brave the crowds if for no better reason than to make fun of the people walking by. If you know me you know that’s definitely something I could be down with.

As Amy and I sat and commented on the passers-by (believe me, the fair attendees did not disappoint) we talked about old times and I even told her the story of my uncle on my mom’s side who had a long history of disappearing for years at a time and one day popped up driving a semi with a roller coaster ride in tow. That’s right. Uncle Kenny had become a carny. I don’t know how long he…”carnied” because that same afternoon he showed up he disappeared again for another few years.

Amy didn’t believe my uncle was a carny and I can’t say that I blame her. Believe me, when he pulled up in that huge yellow semi and I heard my brother say in awesome wonder Uncle Kenny is a carny! none of us could believe it either.

About this time two men dressed from head to toe in I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Harley-Davidson black leather approached the coffee shop. Leather jackets, pants, and boots were part of the get-up as well as the obligatory red, white, and blue bandanas. One of the biker guys was holding a small pink stuffed monkey. And that’s all I needed.

I began to go on about the dichotomy between the biker and the pink monkey and how I would never have chosen those two to go together. Remember in elementary school the paper your teacher gave you with pictures of different people (a policeman, a baker, a cowboy) on one side and various objects (a police car, a chef’s hat, a cowboy hat) on the other and you had to draw a line connecting each character with their appropriate prop? Well, I would have never drawn a line from leather-clad motorcycle guy to pink stuffed monkey.

As fate would have it, the two old bikers decided to come in to the coffee shop. Amy and I had moved on to another subject by this time, but I couldn’t help but notice out of the corner of my eye the Biker With Monkey lurking a little too close to me. He took a step toward me and I could feel him staring at us.

Why is this guy gonna ask us for money I thought to myself. That’s what Amy and I get for dressing like normal regular people and having full sets of teeth.

“What’s a character like you doing here?” I heard the biker say to me and was happy I spent what was left of my cash on my chocolate mocha. At least I wouldn’t be lying when I told the guy I didn’t have any money on me.

I turned and looked at the guy and then really looked at him and in that instant I knew I would be blogging about this event. There standing beside me, dressed in leather and clutching a pink stuffed monkey, was Uncle Kenny.

We talked briefly and I pointed out to him the amusing fact that he was dressed in black leather and holding a pink monkey (at least I said it to his face and wasn’t two-faced about it, right?) and he got a good chuckle out of it. Afterward I told Amy I should have learned a lesson. There I was making fun of someone I thought was a complete stranger and it turned out to be my uncle. That should teach me not to judge people just by the way the look.

It should, but it probably won’t.