In St. Louis, Missouri, where I was exiled for half a century, Clementine’s is the name of a leather bar where I once nearly fainted from the violent stench of bursting male groins. In Austin, Clementine’s is the name of the green coffeeshop on Manor Rd. where I sometimes meet Stingray for a medium iced and an oatmeal cookie. I always refer to it as The Green Coffeeshop because, all these years later, the word “Clementine” still makes me think of clots of writhing mustachioed homos in buttless black chaps. Which mental tableau doesn’t exactly get the spinster aunt’s motor running.
The Green Coffeeshop, I am happy to report, is crisp and serene. If there are desperate engorged members slouched upon their orange IKEA couches, their owners have the good taste to keep’em corralled inside perfectly frayed jeans.
The avocado/pea/olive green with which the green coffeeshop is painted is a very popular color for small, clean, with-it, non-ejaculatory Austin buildings. It announces that somebody within knows from Design, and that her message is “We are in our 30′s now; crustypunkism is dead.”
The Green Coffeeshop vibe, in fact, is anti-leather. It is possibly Anti-Human-Interaction. Let’s face it, it’s a goddam Anglo-Saxon library in there. Everybody is white. Everybody is quiet. Everybody wears something between Urban Outfitters and Banana Republic. Everybody is alone. Everybody stares transfixedly into a laptop, segregated by operating system (Windows on the left. Macs on the right). Apart from the XM radio playing French hip-hop, the only sound, at least when I’m in residence, is my own hearty guffawing, usually over my own jokes. Nobody actually glares at me, but my boisterosity has the effect of making the quiet seem even more resilient.
This atmosphere has no effect whatsoever on Stingray. She is a low-talker herself.
The Green Coffeeshop has the best oatmeal cookies in all of Austin.