As Starbucks Turns

Or a day in the life of Robin's writing.

How many times have you sat in a Starbucks fascinated by the people you see?

How much do you learn about their lives? Usually more than you want to know…

I’ve written thirteen books and novellas at Bux as I like to call it. Bux is my office. The table I use in the Starbucks closest to my home is a four-top by the window overlooking the patio. From my table, I have a great view of the line. I see everyone coming and going. I can stare out the window while I’m in my writers daze—with the scene I’m working on playing like a movie in my head.

I’ve found it’s better to stare out the window than at fellow patrons while wearing a blank look. That can be embarrassing.


One of the most interesting interactions I’ve witnessed was the result of a computer date gone so totally wrong it was like watching a one-armed barista during Frappy Hour.

I tweeted my way through the whole thing.

I was writing close to the fireplace since it was one of those nasty, cold, winter days. And a geeky guy in his late thirties, carrying a dozen red roses rounded the hearth—our eyes met, and I said the first thing that popped into my mind, “For me?”

He asked if I was his date. I was very relieved to say no and watched while he moved two wingback chairs and swiped a side table as if setting a stage. He asked me to watch his flowers while he went back to his car to collect his other props.

I waited with baited breath for his return because I had no idea what kind of props one brings to a computer date. The answer was worse than anything I could have imagined. He carried in two heavy brass candlesticks with tall red tapers so large they would have made Liberace swoon. I immediately surmised the man was compensating for something. I mean really, who would do this?

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to meet his date and see her reaction to his preparations.  I began tweeting.

Tweet: Blind computer date @ Bux, a dozen red roses and candlesticks. Overkill? Let’s discuss.

The poor woman was on time. Shock clear on her face. As my character Rocki would say in her singsong voice: “Awkward!”

Geeky guy went to get her coffee and I watched as she eyed the door longingly. I didn’t know if I felt more sorry for her, or for him. It was a real toss-up.

They sat in the wingbacks facing me. Isn’t body language fascinating? He was leaning in, so he was practically over her lap, and she was as far back as her chair would allow.

My twitter feed was flying. The general consensus was definitely overkill.

She squirmed in her seat for over an hour, clutching the arms until her knuckles went white, unable to break eye contact because he was so close.

The sad culmination of desperation tinged with crushed expectations was difficult to watch and ended in a handshake.

After the woman hightailed it to her car. He extinguished his candles and bravely carried them out to his own. Neither were seen again. To this day I wonder if anyone ever tried so hard on a first computer date only to end it without a spark.