Memoirs of a Coffee House 8: The Phenomenon of Wired and My Life

07 Apr

With a change of location came a change of clientele. ReWired lost several of the original members to college and for other reasons, not all of them always so clear, but in the same way, ReWired brought forth a whole new family of people who, simply, fit right into the entire group.

ReWired became the superior version of Wired. In a moment of nostalgia, I told Lily how I missed the old Wired, which we all referred to as “Wired One.” Lily told me that there was no reason to feel that way, because ReWired was everything Wired had been and more.

Several new changes took place at ReWired. One major change was that Lily had bands play both on Friday and Saturday night, and Open Mic Night was moved to Thursday night. This fit thematically for those of us who were college students, because Thursday was typically the last day of school we had during the week.

The tradition of Thursday being the last day of school in college has remained even though at many of the local schools there are now Friday classes; only a few months ago I was informed that Thursday still remains one of the “party” nights because it was once the last day of school for the week.

The number of computers for the internet café had been expanded; there were now something like 8 of them, whereas before there had been less. (I think.)

ReWired was in a more centralized location, inside the Circle in Dothan; the speed limit here was only 45 mph, so it was much easier for people to see that there was a coffee house instead of zooming by it at 65 mph and upwards.

ReWired’s square footage was three times the size of Wired One’s, and the rent was the same.

Included in ReWired was a stage and a dance area, though nobody ever really danced.

Lily began offering an expanded number of pastries, because at ReWired, she was close enough to get fresh baked goods from Rolan’s Bakery.

But despite all the pleasant changes, we had unpleasant changes that began, too, and here, for the first time, I will vent to the entire world my exact thoughts on the matter, without restraint and without compromise of tact.

The first and largest problem began with Lily’s respective neighbors. Wired One had been almost isolated, and except for Lilypalooza, it was unlikely that any noise going on at Wired One would be disturbing the local neighborhood.

ReWired was situated next to a grocery store, literally only a few feet from it; the grocery store and ReWired formed an alleyway where people used to go to smoke, talk, and take breaks.

On the other wise of ReWired was a place called Pat’s Diner, a small diner specializing in a rotating menu of deep South cuisine; it was run by a bitter old woman named Pat. Even though Lily approached her initially to ask about using her parking lot for extra parking space, Pat vehemently refused.

I have a few problems with this.

First, Pat’s Diner was open for only three hours a day, 11AM until 2PM; the majority of Lily’s patrons came at night time, so there would have literally been no conflict in parking.

Second, in exchange for parking, Lily offered to clean Pat’s parking lot and make sure it was litter free herself.

Pat still refused, even though this was her initial problem; she had been next door to the Player’s Club for years and found used condoms and beer bottles in her parking lot in the morning. ReWired wasn’t a night club but a coffee house, so the circumstances would have been entirely different.

In truth, as the story came out, Pat was the kind of old woman who had been mistreated by a cheating husband and had remained bitter all these years. This is so sad and happens too often, but her bitterness ultimately contributed to ReWired’s eventual fate, and so it goes to show that one’s own pain, if not dealt with properly, will replicate itself and hurt others.

The grocery store almost refused at first, but Lily managed to speak to the owner and secured his permission to park there.

This changed at some point in time for reasons that no one could understand. The manager randomly took a disliking to Lily and began to snidely tell us that none of us could park over at his grocery store.

There are a few problems I have with this, as well.

First, Lily was an excellent customer of the grocery store; a good number of supplies came from that store, and she had no trouble sending us there are random errands for this or that ingredient that was missing. Not everything could be obtained at the store, but a good number of things could.

Second, Lily’s patrons, too, were excellent customers of the grocery store. We bought huge amounts of food there for the Sunday night potlucks, and I personally bought a good number of items there, including Totino’s pizzas, for me and my friends for when we would hang out at someone’s house and not at Wired.

One incident that I recall vividly was my being outside in the alley between the buildings. The manager threw a bottle against the wall and cursed loudly. I walked over, and he saw me; I picked up the bottle, took it inside to Lily, showed it to her, told her what had happened, and asked if she sold that brand of water (which she didn’t.)

In a bold move that I rarely make, I marched to the grocery store, walked up the belligerent manager, and asked him directly (and politely!) what the problem with the bottle was. He informed me that it had to be one of Lily’s because “they didn’t sell that brand of water.” I informed him quickly that Lily didn’t sell that brand of water, either.

The grocery store and Pat’s Diner alike testified that Southern hospitality isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Lily didn’t compete with either place; rather, she sponsored them and became an advocate for them instead of fighting against them by telling people how good Pat’s food was and what hours she was available and by continuing to shop at the grocery store. Despite her best efforts to be charitable and a good businesswoman, both places fought her tooth and nail.

This entry’s a bit long, but that’s fine; there’s more to come, a few more major highlights, and then we’ll conclude this series!



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