Java Monkey

Decatur, Georgia

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It is strange being at Java Monkey in the middle of the day. I usually frequent this coffee shop in the evenings, where the sounds of live music and poetry slams resonate through the cafe. Instead, Interpol or some other band is playing on the stereo system overhead. Java Monkey is by far my favorite coffee shop. The atmosphere is cozy, and it is decorated with second-hand furniture. The dim lighting and style of furniture gives this place the feel of a library/study. They sell wine and many different kinds of micro-brewery beer, so if you don’t want to get jacked up on caffeine in the evenings, or at all, you can choose among various depressant substances. For those who are interested, Java Monkey participates in fair trade, and prides itself on this code of ethics, indicated by the standards of fair trade listed on a wall. There are several different rooms in this cafe. The room in which you enter is occupied by tables, chairs, couches, as well as the registers. Turning left into the other room you will find yourself in the bar. There are two different patios, one which is covered and has a wood burning stove for those cool evenings, and the other is an uncovered, gated patio.

Java Monkey

In the evenings you see great diversity in the clientele. . .students, professors, church goers, and others who are just trying to find enjoyable ways to occupy their time. There are only a few people here right now and they are scattered throughout the building. Today, I have the torn, red vinyl couch by the window all to myself. I don’t have to worry about sharing the space, or people looking over my shoulder to see what I am writing.

I guess what I’m most concerned about is how this cafe is making me feel presently. Like I said, in the evenings there is a high volume of cafe-goers, but today the scarcity just makes me feel like something is off, and being here is a surreal experience. Perhaps it is the dim lighting on a sunny day combined with a melodious droning noise coming from the speakers. Hanging out in coffee shops in the middle of the day just brings me back to my college years, smoking cigarettes and sipping espresso in the basement of some coffee shop while studying. It gives me a sort of eerie nostalgia. At this point in my life, coffee just feels like more of a night time thing.

I think part of what I’m feeling is the awkwardness of being here alone in the middle of the day. I usually don’t hang out by myself in coffee shops. I always have coffee at home, and I just think what’s the point unless you are using the cafe as a place to socialize. Funny how we feel the need to go somewhere with others, rather than just inviting someone over to drink coffee. Do people ever do that I wonder?

There is the faint smell of puke or some soured substance wafting from a corner. Ugh. So much for me not having to share my space with anyone. Just now this friend of a friend sat down across from me. This makes me feel awkward. I only met him once, and I really don’t feel like chit-chatting. I hate these situations. Do I keep my head down and avoid eye-contact, or do I just bite the bullet and say hello to just get the whole thing out of the way. He’s distracted me and now I can’t figure where I’m going with this.

The friend of a friend just reintroduced himself and we chatted for a few minutes about experimental poetry and Gertrude Stein. He means well, but sometimes these discussions just make me want to roll my eyes. Now there is this strange reverb music playing overhead and now I’m ready to leave. I love Java Monkey, but it just doesn’t do it for me during the day.

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Java Monkey

205 Ponce de Leon Ave #5
Decatur, Georgia 30030

2 Responses to “Java Monkey”

  1. j.h. trefry

    there are some cool people who work at java monkey. i myself have never been very cool, or very able to come across to strangers as someone likable or approachable, however, i have, in the past, had friendships with people who possessed these qualities, and were cool. this has now, in my more reclusive years, presented me with the uncomfortable situation of dealing with my historical proximity to coolness and the luxuries that it would have once rightly prepared me for.

    when being offered a free cup of coffee by someone who knows me peripherally i go through a range of feelings. i usually begin and end by feeling that it would be easier for me to not have to enter into that mock familiarity that such a gesture demands. i wish that they would just address me with some pleasantries and charge me for my beverage, because, as it usually stands, i hardly know the brrista, and usually end up having to ask ‘have you heard from joseph?’ or some other bait which i am equally as uninterested in. i wish that they would charge me, because the standard practice of receiving a freebie is that you tip an amount about equal to what the coffee would have cost in the first place; it is understood that although they are doing you a favour, they also perceive a financial return on the gesture. as an agent of satan, and in a desire to incite armageddon, i seek to support the institution of a cashless society and pay for most things with my check card. i do not carry cash (you got that, slim?). this means that when i am not charged, and they have no cause to run my card, i have no way of providing the tip the barista is angling for, and end up just looking like a cock. when feeling like setting a precedent, i demur, and insist on paying, with my card, and tipping the standard percentage.

    i dont despise these friendly baristas for their practice. i appreciate their allegiance to old friends, even if i am not one of them, and wonder what treats they lavish upon folks who actually know their last names, rather than jokingly referring to them as ‘my boy todd,’ or people whom they spend time with on a regular basis. luckily there are only a couple of shops in atlanta at which i might have to compose myself for these encounters, and as time wanders on, and i fade into increasing obscurity, even those shops may present me with the pleasure of paying for a cup of coffee.

  2. j.h. trefry

    i like to pour my own coffee. java monkey has a set of vacuum pump carafes along a counter next to the bar. i am given the opportunity to pour the soymilk into the cup myself. i use it liberally. the problem with the vacuum pumps is that you do not heft them and are often made a fool by the hissing, sucking sound of the empty carafe, sounding like a needle that has missed its mark at the red cross. the pleasure of pouring the cup myself comes with watching the coffee meet the soymilk. i like to see the white liquid turning ever darker as it reaches the brim of the cup. i like to see how translucent the coffee coming out of the tap is as it falls, and how it disappears into the concoction. at which second does it actually meet, actually turn? i wonder whether a small portion of the milk is drawn up into the stream. that doesnt seem likely. i wonder if, more probably, the hot coffee burrows a fluid brown tunnel into the milk until the point that it equalizes in temperature and mixes with the milk. does the depth of that tunnel change as the temperature of the cup gets warmer with more coffee, getting shallower the further it gets from the bottom? i know through experience that the soymilk tends to curdle if the concoction is not prepared precisely, although i have still not learned what the real solution is. i have found it helps to warm the soymilk slightly before decanting, which one cannot do at java monkey without a lengthy interface with the barrista. i wonder if adding a small amount of hot coffee to the milk, letting it sit, fill its way through the whiteness, equalize at slightly warmer temperature, then filling the cup the rest of the way would solve the problem, or would it rob me of the fluid process of filling the cup all at once. or should i pour the soymilk into the already decanted coffee?

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