Coffeehouse observation No. 247

It seems a bit early, but college students are meandering back to Stockton … and the coffeehouse. (For those of you who do not know, Stockton not only is home to vast home foreclosures, high rates of poverty, crime, and other things not good for you, and the annual Asparagus Festival, but also home to the University of the Pacific, San Joaquin Delta College, a California State University, Stanislaus satellite campus, a private law school, and several business and vocational schools. So there are quite a few college students to go around.)

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Coffeehouse observation No. 115: Hey, it’s Joey Casanova – what an oaf

There’s this fella I see at empresso every so often and also at the library branch I frequent. Let’s call him Joey Casanova. The reasons will become clear in a bit.

By the way, if you’ve forgotten, empresso is the coffeehouse I patronize most frequently. It’s located in the Empire Theater on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. Students from the University of the Pacific, CSU-Stanislaus satellite campus, San Joaquin Delta College, and the nearby adult school keep the place pretty busy, which is great for the owners what with this economy the way it is.

Anyway, in the two or so years that I’ve been going to empresso, Joey Casanova has had at least three or four different girlfriends. He swaggers in with the woman on his arm, they grab a beverage, and then they usually sit in the patio area at the front of the theater. He sometimes lights up a really cheap cigar or pulls a book from a cheap canvas book bag and begins to thumb through the book.

Whether he’s with a woman or not, he carries himself with a swagger and air of self-assuredness that is somehow, well, revolting. He carries himself as if he believes he is God’s gift to women.

But the thing is he’s not that much to look at. He’s about 6-2 or so, 275 to 300 pounds – soft pounds, too, not much muscle bulk – dark hair that’s always nicely trimmed, but nothing special to look at. He usually wears a T-shirt and black jeans or black shorts, which contrasts with his somewhat pasty white skin. He often wears sandals and sometimes he wears a fedora.

I’ve heard the guy speak; nothing special there either. He doesn’t come across nearly as intelligent as he seems to believe he is and I’ve even heard him make a couple of borderline inappropriate comments.

I think it is the swagger that grates at me most. And the way he seems to view women. If a woman is sitting alone in the coffeehouse, Joey Casanova frequently goes up to them and strikes up a conversation as if it is expected that they respond to him positively. And they often do just that. The thing is, the very next day he might show up with the girlfriend du jour. And his swagger.

Yeah, I suppose it could be just coffeehouse confidence, but I don’t think so. I mean, sometimes he simply ogles women. I suppose it might be a touch of jealousy since I haven’t had much luck dating lately. Besides, I’d rather think of Joey Casanova as an oaf, lout and a boor.

Here’s another thing that contributes to my distaste of Joey Casanova. As people are gathering at the front door of the library branch, he’ll swagger up, move directly to the front of the pack, and very typically attempt to strike up a conversation with the most attractive woman there. It doesn’t matter if she’s in her teens or her 70s, he’ll attempt to win them over with a cliché or two and what I suspect he believes is a charming grin that comes across as smarmy.

Once the doors open, however, Joey Casanova bolts for the computers provided by the library for internet access. He pecks in his library card number and does whatever it is Joey Casanova does online, which is a scary thought.

Here is a typical Joey Casanova move: The other day I was sitting in the library where there are tables set aside for WiFi users and a pretty black woman sat down across from me. Her top revealed a bit of cleavage.

As soon as Joey Casanova’s hour was up on the computer – you get an hour each day on the library computers – he swaggered by and I’m pretty sure he did so simply to look down the woman’s shirt. See, an oaf, lout, and boor.

And women don’t seem to see that. How do the Joey Casanova’s of the world do it? Ah, well, at least he’s not in the coffeehouse today.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 70

I’m back in more familiar territory today – empresso on Pacific Avenue in Stockton, CA, USA. It was quiet earlier, then bustling, now quiet again, but it may be building to bustling again. The coffee is good and strong, and beautiful women of all ages frequent the establishment. I’m guessing that has something to do with the draw of the businesses on the Miracle Mile, the adult school down the street, and the proximity to the University of the Pacific and San Joaquin Delta College. Whatever the reason, I don’t mind. In rainy weather lately, I’ve been patronizing Exotic Java because it is next door to the Margaret Troke Branch Library on West Benjamin Holt Drive. (I typically walk to empresso in order to avoid a parking ticket and I don’t like walking in the rain that much. There is free parking at this particular library branch.) Nice baristas at Exotic Java and coffee that hits the spot, but it is a bit less active than empresso, probably because it is a block or two from Pacific Avenue. Oh, but it has a drive-through window, which makes it convenient for motorists. I can recommend both establishments.