Adjoa on a Monday.

Ever since my early twenties, coffee shops have been my true love. Many a coffee shop had me inside of it; ordering a cup, listening to the beans whir in the grinder; hearing the quiet hum of conversation as patrons did everything from chat with each other to type away at their laptops for whatever projects they were working on. (I almost always think the laptop-bearers are burgeoning novelists.) When I worked at my dearly departed Borders Books (see memories here and here), one of the areas I was assigned to, other than at the register or the info desk or shelving books, was the cafe. There, I learned to make a variety of espresso-based drinks, recipes that I still remember all these years later. It was, in a way, my first foray in working in a coffee shop. And I loved it something awful.

Naturally, I’ve always wanted my own shop. So in my mind, my shop would be called Adjoa on a Monday. Adjoa is my Ghanaian day name for ladies born on a Monday. The decor would unsurprisingly be rustic-y with a French touch; the French part is me, as you know, but I’ve also grown to love the rustic idea for a while now. Funny, huh? This Square Peg, who favored not-busy, not-busy, super modern spaces now longing for burnished wood finishes and Mason jar centerpieces? Girl, people be changing…

*All images derived from my boo Pinterest.

Anyway, further details about AOAM:

  • Free WiFi. I love the idea of people inhabiting that space and working on whatever their working on.
  • Open mic nights. At Borders, I freely took advantage of sharing my poetry with audiences. That college student had plenty of spurned-love poems to share, thank you very much.
  • Themed evenings every now and again. Paris jazz spot Tuesday. Speakeasy Fridays. Etc.
  • An assortment of staffers of different ages and backgrounds. This one is important to me. When I worked at Borders, a true pleasure was working with everyone from fellow college kids to part-time History professors and everyone in between. It was amazing.
  • A mini-bookshelf/donate-a-book area. Because you know books have to be involved.

More ideas abound. Will it happen one day? Will I venture out and start my own business and finally see this coffee shop of mine with my own two eyes? *Kanye shrug* I’ve never been ashamed or shy to dream out loud. Perhaps that’s the first step?

What thing/idea/venture/adventure have you nursed for ages? I’d love to peek…share it in the comments below.

And now…

friday

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Government Names: Random Memory #4

No, I’m still not going to tell you what mine is. Just know that very few people can spell it.

By people, I mean most of the young women and men who work behind the counters of Starbucks shops in my area, in other areas, in all the areas in the world. (For the record, I don’t even remember if the Versailles Starbucks spelled it right. I was on a palace high. Anyway, they get a pass.) Apparently, no one has heard my very common name before and no one remembers phonetics from elementary school and sounding things out. I have spoken my name slowly, have spelled my name slowly–all to no avail. This morning at a Starbucks close to the OK Corral, one poor guy asked me to spell the name. After I did, he laughed at himself for even asking, because, I repeat: it is a very common name. 

Anyway, the whole name thing brings back an interesting memory. Back when I was a college-aged Square Peg and worked at my beloved, dearly departed Borders Books, I went through this weird phase where I was tired of hearing my own name. Blame it on the lack of nutrients and being a teenager, I don’t know. But one afternoon, while at work, I started asking my co-workers to call me a different name, a variation of my government name. Hardly anyone questioned this request. By now, most of them understood that this college girl who was in love with books and writing and a certain boy (see link above) was in a universe all of her own. Soon, my name tag changed. When called on the loudspeaker, everyone used this new name. In conversation, I was referred to by my new name. I was on cloud nine. And let me tell you, when my crush used this new name–let’s just say that it was thrilling. Of all people, he was so serious in accommodating my new name…which made me adore him even more, if that were humanly possible at the time. I digress. I rode the high of having this new identity and I enjoyed every moment of it. Until I didn’t.

name
Especially fake ones.

The thing with a new name: if you’re going to arbitrarily ask people to call you by a different moniker, it’s probably best to request this in all facets of your life. Not just work. Because, sure, people were calling me by this exciting new name in one place, but I was still the same old [Insert Name Here] at home, school, etc. After a while, it felt strange and jarring. And unwanted. I quickly informed my co-workers that they could go back to my old name. As expected of my old comrades, they acquiesced. Funny enough, however, some had gotten so used to the temporary name that it was actually hard for them to go back. Can you imagine? Anyway, eventually, things got back to normal at Borders. Old names returned and steady infatuations continued. You can guess which one of the latter two remained.

The above was brought to you a random memory…

…but before you leave me, tell me how you feel about your name, won’t you? Feel free to add whether your local Starbucks butchers it beyond reason, as well.

Keep Your Voice Down When Making Declarations of Love: Random Memory #1

Welcome to a new feature on This Square Peg, where I share the random memories that come to me during my morning commute to work! You’re welcome.

There’s always a catalyst to the memories. This particular morning, as I stepped off the train, I saw a young woman who reminded me of a girl that was in my Introduction to Shakespeare class in college. Immediately, I was

you ain't never lied, Wills.
you ain’t never lied, Wills.

transported back: back to those heady days when I was a happy English major and a Math class fugitive, and specifically, when I was head over heels in love with my Shakespeare professor. Regarding the luurrve, can you blame me? Prof E was a true lover of the Bard (as was I, and still am), handsome, funny, and wore glasses. I swooned from day one.

So the Prof would hold these readings once a week, where members of the class would voluntarily meet and read a play–whether Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe or anyone in between, it was a fun way to get to know each other and discuss literary thoughts and conventions outside of class. Needless to say, I signed up as soon as possible. The night of the reading I joined, we were dismissed for a short break. After a pal and I grabbed something to munch on, we were heading back to the reading room. This was when it all happened, when I suddenly got all up in my feels over my professor. I’ll never forget the following conversation.

Me: I think I love him.
Pal: Who?
Me: Professor E, of course. I’m in love with him.
Pal: Oh, Lord.
Me: He’s amazing. He’s so smart. And funny. And cool. And awesome.
Pal: Ok, [Government Name], chill out, though. Keep your voice down.
Me: I can’t! I want to shout it from the rooftops. I love him!
Pal: Seriously, stop talking right now. Don’t say another word. Don’t.
Me (suddenly freezing and turning toward her): He’s behind us, isn’t he?
Pal: Yeah.

Like clockwork, Prof E walked from around us. Of course, to add to the sweet misery of it all, he turned around, grinned at me, and said he’d see us in the room. What happened next:

Me: I’m going to kill myself.
Pal: You’re not going to kill yourself.
Me: Yes, I am. We’re on the 3rd floor, right? I’ll jump right here, from this balcony.
Pal: Get away from that balcony. Look, it’s no big deal. So he knows you love him. He’s probably flattered.
Me: I want to die.
Pal: Later. We need to get back.

(Can I tell you how cool my old friend was back then? She was the senior to my junior, listened to most of my melodrama with the same dry, unruffled, and hilarious reaction, and let me escape the craziness of college days in her dorm room. The best.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, going back to that room took all the strength I could muster. But Prof E never made it awkward. After that day, we continued to have our interesting discussions, in and out of class, as if nothing had happened, as if I hadn’t declared my love for him on the third floor of the Johnson Center. Sigh. I’ll never forget your rimless glasses, Prof E.

This was brought to you by a random memory.