We all play them. We come into the coffee shop ready to work. Ready to focus—on our conversations, on our freelance writing, on our latest album. But then things happen. We get distracted. We start playing games.
And the thing is? We play to win. We end up spending so much time perfecting the art of these games, we all deserve medals. Or at least participation ribbons. Maybe they could come with coffee coupons? We're just spitballing here.
We, personally, feel like we are proficient-to-trophy-level in the following Coffee Shop Games.
- Outlet Races - You know this one. You're paying for your latte and watching the barista painstakingly add leaves to your latte art and you see out of the corner of your eye, an open outlet. You also notice the person getting drip coffee behind you eyeing the outlet. You cannot wait for Latte Art DaVinci to finish his work. You throw your change into a tip jar, not noting if you voted for Kids Incorporated or Mickey Mouse Club and race in your TOMS to table, vowing to be right back! to get your latte. You quickly open your MacBook, unfurl the tangle of power cords and oversized headphones and plug it in. Victory is yours!
- Finding the right volume in your earbuds to drown out the conversation discussing Winona's latest human resources endeavors, but to have the ability to eavesdrop on/live tweet the first date next to you.
- Hipster or _________. There are a few versions of this game. You can fill in the blank according to the coffee shop you're in.
- Hipster or Homeless
- Hipster or Time Traveler
- Hipster or Homeschooler.
- Hipster or Civil War Reenactor
- Name That Tune. It's a deep cut from a really obscure band that you've probably never heard of but the barista saw play at a secret show last night in his friend's basement. So this really is an expert-level game.
- Are! They! Famous?! [Please reread that, yelling in your head like a game show crowd. We'll wait.] This coffee shop game is especially fun in Nashville, but I'm sure other parts of the world experience it as well. Basically, how you play is you notice someone who looks like maybe they're famous (this is based mostly on haircuts). The next step is to attempt to stare at them as long as possible without them noticing. You can google a few bands or TV show IMDb pages to try to figure it out. The final level is attempting to get a picture for the Text a Friend option. If you can do this without them noticing, you win. If they really are famous and you get a bunch of money for taking the only existing picture of her with her new boyfriend, you win a bunch of money (from People magazine, obviously. Not us. They don't pay us for this.).
- Name That Musician. This is admittedly similar to Are! They! Famous?!, but with musicians. Because we live in Music City.
- Price Is Right for a Tip? Basically, you have to decide while everyone's staring at the iPad with you if you want to select a tip on the Square App or say no and be judged by everyone. Or you have to decide which tip jar to drop your money in: Johnny Cash or Johnnyswim. (You better just put a dollar in both of those.)
- Coffee Shopper Bingo. How could we not?
- Outlet Yoga. The athleticism it requires to twist around to plug in your MacBook Pro while wearing headphones and not tipping over your bowl-sized latte cup deserves a medal sometimes. And we are here to give you that medal. (No actual medals for this exist. Yet.)
- How long does it take to hear mentions of the Lord's will, touring, or both (bonus points)? This is a game where each person in your work-from-"home" group guesses how long it takes before one of those topics comes up in conversation around you. Whoever gets closest (Price Is Right rules) wins. Everyone else at the table can chip in to purchase that person a gluten-free, dairy-free cookie.
- Making one drink last four hours to justify having a table. You know what every sport requires? Endurance. You know what making one tiny espresso last four hours requires? Endurance.
- Taking up space so that no one sits next to you at the community table. This is both an art and a game. Extreme introversion like this requires skillz. And you, with your extra grandpa sweaters and unnecessary scarves and a variety of iDevices and fair-trade bags, you have what is required to take up an entire community table for yourself. You bought a bagel and a large chai tea. You deserve this.
What games did we miss? What coffee shop game do you deserve a trophy for? Tell us in the comments!