Morning Coffee with the Polyester Bride

As the online world has become many people's primary means of keeping in touch with friends and family via sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and well, blogs such as this, lately I've been repeatedly reminded of the authenticity and reality of the power of setting the computer or cell to the side, and just experiencing where you're at.

As we work to rebuild my local coffee shop, one of my responsibilities has been the music. Thus far, I've made two 20-song mix CDs for Mike, with plenty more on the way. Oh, I know what you're thinking: He's going to absolutely destroy the business by playing depressing tracks by Townes and Drake. Nope, quite the opposite. I've utilized N's catalog, as well as the few hundred upbeat songs in my library to put some life into the store. The past five times I've gone into the store, Mike's been playing one of my CDs. I've seen customers dancing to Madonna's "Borderline" and singing along to Nick Lowe's "Cruel To Be Kind".

This morning I walked in to Liz Phair's "Polyester Bride". Mike poured me a cup of coffee and toasted me up a bagel. By the time the bagel hit my table, we were midway through Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come". A few NYTimes articles later, I had been treated to tracks by The National, Matthew Sweet and Nathan Moore.

Ever since I've given Mike these CDs (and promised more), his spirits seem to have lifted just a slight bit. His store is still struggling and the monthly rent payment is rarely a moment of ease, but somehow, despite seven-day work weeks and almost zero profit, Mike remains happy. As I walked out of the store, Mike was belting out his always serious, yet funny, opinions on our current president. As I was a few steps outside the store, I heard the voices slow and the music turn up.