Laura Relyea for Creative Loafing


Atlanta according to Laura Relyea (by Beca Grimm)

Finding someone who you don’t recognize immediately in a public place is top 3 most awkward and uncomfortable things known. There’s a mind game to be played where you show up first so you don’t have to do the stand-around-awkwardly-hoping-to-catch-someone’s-eye-and-they’ll-beckon-you-over dance. You should show up first. I didn’t. If you’re like me, and don’t show up early, take my advice:

The first key is to walk in the correct door. Don’t walk in the locked door in the middle of a large semi-tinted window where the dozens of people inside watch the traffic, and pedestrians, move past. . You should

Or that will happen anyway but they’ll text you “Turn around 😊” And you’ll continue to make a bigger fool of yourself by introducing yourself to someone you’ve already met and photographed before!

Definitely don’t try to give a handshake that morphs into nothing and then back into an awkward side hug. That won’t work. Hopefully you won’t follow that with a strange “where do I sit?” mating dance around another, actual in real life for real this time, stranger and make him think he needs to get up and leave from the table. He’s only been in Atlanta for a few months, L.A. has different coffee shop customs.

Then you would get to the normal part where you take out your expensive but beaten up camera and make corny jokes that you laugh at loud enough even the stray babies running around the coffee shop take notice and throw significant infant side-eye. But you get the photos and they’re beautiful. That huge open window you almost walked through? Yeah, the light is coming through it perfect. You’ve nailed it! Now just walk back through the labyrinth of aspiring actors, stay-at-home moms, and young professionals on an extended coffee break and you’re home free. You’ve made it back through some strange mid-20’s version of Olmec’s temple 

But anyway, I don’t even like coffee so next time I’ll order a coffee cake and a lemonade and sit by myself an hour early.


The Atlanta of the future includes apparently a lot of condominiums, hopefully more permanent public art … it’s hard to know. The Atlanta that I thought would be here five years ago is not the Atlanta it’s evolving into. That’s a hard prediction to make. I’ll have to consult my psychic. (Beca Grimm/Creative Loafing)


Laura is an awesome Atlantan who is the executive editor of which is where I’ll send all of you when you ask what’s new and cool in the city or the world relating to arts. Seriously.

Photos: Eric Cash


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