Author’s note: With peer comments and all here’s the draft…
The brisk wind whistles through my thin (adjective – make it a cooler jacket ;)) jacket as I rush into Mojava, a local coffee house. The warm air washes over me as I open the door, and a small bell rings above the door, noting my entrance. I’m not there for it’s warmth though, or even it’s coffee. It’s a Friday night, and most Fridays this small, corner coffee shop invites a band to come and play for the customers.
Tonight just so happens to be a bluegrass band called the Prairie Creek Ramblers, who I have seen perform before. I am actually friends with the members. The twang of a banjo and the deep strum of the upright bass fill the coffee shop with a smooth and relaxing tune. I’ve walked in on a slow song, one where the instruments are subtle and the lyrics sad and sweet. It sets the tone of the shop as I walk up to the counter to give my order. As I wait I cast my gaze to the other customers in the shop. Some faces I recognize from previous visits, others bear the face of a stranger, but this doesn’t change the fact that every face in there had a peaceful (mask). Conversations were held in low whispers and chairs pulled and pushed carefully.
The song finished before the barista finished my drink, so I walked to a seat near some familiar faces. One was Anita, the mother of the lead singer, a good friend of mine. She greeted me loudly as I walked up, and the banjo strummed the beginning of the next song, a faster and louder tune this time. I returned her greeting as I draped my jacket over the wobbly chair.
I go to the counter to retrieve my drink then return to my seat to relax and enjoy the music.
Often in this busy world I can’t find time to slow down and relax like this. I’ve lived most of my life constantly going from one activity to the next while also trying to balance school and family. Music has always provided a way for me to escape from this, if just for a moment, but a loud iPod, booming radio, or even a live concert in a large arena can’t quite match the serenity I find when I immerse myself in the live music in such a casual place, like a coffee shop. I can actually feel the hum of the instruments without having to worry about the hectic and stressful crowds of a large concert. I can sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy pleasant conversations with those around me.
I sit for another few songs before the band announces that they will be taking a short break before performing another set of songs. This is another thing that I love about a local bands because you get a chance to directly talk and hang out with the performers instead of being separated by screens or a stage
We talk and laugh for a while before they make their way back to their corner and settle in to continue playing.