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Thursday, December 30, 2010

A DAY IN THE COFFEE SHOP

ken davis at selma's


This afternoon at Selma's Backwoods Bean coffee shop was a social time like I don't recall having in a very long time. The wine tasting she had on the 17th was a very social time, but I felt somewhat reluctant that night without any need to be. I just don't do things like this. I dropped in a little after 12 for morning coffee. Went to bed last night at 8 and woke this morning at 11 to the phone ringing. Haven't slept that long in quite a while. I wanted to go to Selma's for coffee this morning, take some prescription canisters to drugstore for refilling and needed a few items from grocery store, none of which I ended up doing. At the coffee shop, I started on my regular Kenyan coffee at the counter, talking with Ken, pictured above. Different people come and go, conversation hopping around with the people who drop in. Mostly, people feel free to converse in there with people they don't know. That's not totally the case, but so mostly as to be almost a rule.


The nice thing about the place is it's like a no-fire zone like they have in wars, places where there is no shooting. It isn't like anybody is looking to pick somebody up or look for a soul mate or any kind of flirtation. Of course, there is subtle, even unconscious flirtation, but not serious. Like today I spent several hours talking with a man's wife and he had no problem with it at all. She is an artist, I am too, Selma has told her about me and me about her and we finally met today. Turns out we had a great deal to say. It was free-wheeling, free-flowing conversation, the kind I like the best where we're wide open talking about art and experiences associated with our art. She paints skyscapes and I paint musicians. I don't know how many hours we talked, but it was probably 3 hours at least. And we never got tired. Different people joined us along the way, and another artist settled in with us. I find her and her husband wide awake people, the kind of people I enjoy immensely.


I love the freedom in the place to be wide open, within reasonable bounds, with friendly people and no game playing going on. I get the impression that people I've seen in there who are gamers don't return, because it's no fun. In Selma's place everyone has smooth edges, no sharp edges going around. Selma steps out from behind the bar to hug somebody when they walk in or are leaving. Everyone in the place is a guest in Selma's home. We have a collection now of what we call the regulars. It's a good bunch of people. I enjoy every one of them. My spirit is light in there.


Ken Davis, pictured above, I struggled in my mind with for a time. He dressed like a Latin man, not at all like an anglo, though he looked anglo and had an anglo name. I said to Selma one day, he is Latin, has to be. She said he's Mexican, came from Texas, knows 6 languages. Turns out he's an interesting character who likes to talk about all kinds of possibilities. Today he was talking about ghosts like nobody had a problem talking about them. And nobody did. Of 5 of us involved in the conversation, all of us had some kind of experience that indicated a consciousness was nearby. Todd the new chiropractor in town is a lively conversationalist in there. He has a sharp mind, a quick wit and we were all dancing the dance of free-flowing conversation that meandered the way a flock of birds or a school of fish suddenly veer off this direction, then that, going wherever the spirit leads.


Spirit is a good word for the feeling in there. It's a free-flowing spirit notable by the absence of speed bumps and forces to obstruct the flow. As we're moving into the Age of Aquarius, I can't help but think this flow in the world around us is obstructed, even log jammed, by so many belief systems, shoulds, shouldn'ts, fears, traditions, and so on to infinity. Perhaps, gradually the fears we have of one another will fade, unarticulated as they are, and we can flow as freely as in Selma's. That's getting into utopian nonsense, like in hippie times, I want everybody to be free. Freedom turned into overdosing on heroin in an abandoned building at the edge of nowhere.


I attempt not to be sucked into believing the future will be the way I want it to be. The future will be just like now. Changing architecture, changing value of money, material changes go along with changes in consciousness. I do see our collective consciousness going through some major changes, even advances toward a freer flow in our involvements with self and others. In Selma's it's never a matter of somebody can't speak to you because they know somebody who doesn't like you. None of that thinking applies in Selma's. It's not the future, but very much the present.


All the free-flowing conversations I've fallen into there have been free of all the objectionable games people play, like one-upmanship, hipper than thou, roosters in the chicken house. None of that is going on. I believe it's the energy of Selma, energy being the closest word I can find to that which is nameless, her presence, her vibes. I'm seeing in my attempts to describe the feeling between people in there, the openness, the air, the unguarded friendliness, I'm describing Selma. She is cause for a celebration of Fidel Castro in Sparta for Selma's mother leaving with her when she was 7. But for Fidel, Selma would not have come to Sparta. Thank you, Fidel. We can tell Jesse Helms that Fidel was good for something. Her place has become an oasis for people passing through Sparta, people new here, people who have been here awhile, people from here. One day I met a woman in there from Krakow, Poland, here from Raleigh for choose-n-cut. We talked about Roman Polanski and his film The Pianist.


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