the simple minded suburbanite


Jeff, King of Biscuits
October 29, 2009, 4:03 pm
Filed under: culture, suburbanite | Tags: ,

In a tiny coffee shop hidden amongst Firehouse Subs, Publix Grocery Store ,and Pet Supermart stands Jeff King of Biscuits.  A robe of white apron.  A sword of bacon tongs.  The fruits of his dominion limited not only to creamy cafe au latte or the goat cheese omlette with light herbs d’provence but the organic fruits, the succulent juices of his ripe mind.

He’s about 6 something or another, curly brown hair.  Hulkish.  His throat blends into his chin into his cheeks, flat forehead, and scalp.  He’s not a handsome man, his weight calling into question his age, which is surely younger than he appears to be. 

Nor is he particularly pleasant; he’s broodish, moody, and sometimes angry and condesending, as many kings in history have tended to be.  In a kingdom where the “Hi-i!  We have to get together!  It’s been ages!” prevails, I find his unpredictability and the certainty I feel that King Jeff has, at some point, been counseled towards and rejected the levelling affects of mood enhancers refreshing.

I enter the shoppe always with book in plain view so that Jeff can see clearly past the glass bakery cabinet the worn edges of my current read.  He’ll sniff and look down at the book and ask, “What are you reading now?”

“Ahh,” he will sigh after I read the title and author aloud to him from the book cover.  “It’s a dark one, that book.  It challenges the concept of beauty and acceptance.” That’s what I was going to say, yeah right! I nod at his thoughts on Clan of the Cavebear.  “The books following in the series address her journey, this is about her birth.”  Yes, I nod again, I’m only on page twelve.

Or sometimes he will snort, “Not my kind of book.”  He likes mystical, fantasy, Merlin-esque tales of the imagination.  He prefers stories with elements that couldn’t really happen here on earth.  I like books that feed my spirit through the mystical qualities of daily life.  I enjoy magical realism, very much, but when it comes to fantasy or sci-fi, not so much.  But I’m a pleaser, and I’ve gotta admit, if my read doesn’t get the metaphoric tap on the shoulder from King Jeff’s mighty sword, my heart sinks a little because I’ll miss our, though always short, our literary discussion.

Sometimes, he’ll throw in a French phrase.  Sometimes he’ll pepper in an anecdote from a scientific experiment he is working at home.  Sometimes, he’ll slam my plate in front of me and grumble an indecipherable jumble of words I dare not ask him to clarify. 

Sometimes I’ll stop in with a few friends and always feel silly and girlish and shallow as he observes us gossiping and moaning about our suburban world.  So, I prefer to go alone.  “Of course,” Jeff says, “Anyone who follows the path of the mind charishes time alone.”  I feel flattered that he thinks that I follow the path of the mind and wonder at my strange friendship with Jeff, both cook and king, and its relevence to my life.

It’s his authenticity I appreciate.  It’s the surprise at a coffee shop cook so learned and excited by learning.  It’s the intrigue of who he is and why he is here and what else does he do?  It’s the fact that such a gem of mind could be here, in a strip mall coffee shop.

You think I’ve got a crush, don’t you?

A crush of sorts in that with such a brief conversation in such a mundane place over an omlette, I find a place where I can pop in…and my soul feels filled.

I’ll say to you, today I had the choice of shooting next door to the grocery store or rushing home to my computer to type out the wierd little anedote he sputtered at me today before I forgot:

“On my journey, I have leapt….crossed…only to scale the crags and rocks…to the top of a … to stretch out my arms to the sky and proclaim myelf, Jeff!  King of Biscuits!”

See, I already forgot.  But his little statement, in all of its strangeness and whimsey, his little stab at inflating himself and depricating himself at once, inspired me to run home and write, not fit in a quick trip to TJ Maxx.  It inspired me to get my ass home and do what truly fills me up and create.

Here’s to Jeff, King of Biscuits.

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