Let me start by saying I’m no stranger to pretentious coffee shops. I frequent them semi-often. For starters, I love a beatnik ambiance. Extra points if there’s local art on the wall, an obscure playlist, and slam poetry on Sunday nights.

Plus, the people-watching is far superior in overpriced places, because everyone’s compensating for something. Deep down, we all want to be cool and we all want to belong. A good coffee shop capitalizes on that. It’s a great business model.

Marked-up Colombian espresso shots even paid my rent for some time. My barista days got me through my early…


Or, How Nature Takes it Back

The Alarm

Okay, campers, rise and shine… iiiit’s GROUNDHOG DAY!!

I woke up in my trailer this morning (or last morning, or tomorrow morning?) I’m not really sure — it’s all the same morning. And all I can say is: I have never felt for Bill Murray more in my life.

I wonder if he could give us some day-on-repeat tips. The key to his success was fixing flat tires and learning the piano, so I guess I’m screwed.

In the movie, he wakes up to the same alarm every day. I turned my alarm off long ago. But that still doesn’t…


18. 19. 20 pieces.

Never gave much thought to puzzles a month ago. Never thought they’d be the bane of my existence. My arch-nemesis. My saving grace.

But here I am, working on this 1000-piece puzzle of a hot-air balloon festival in New Mexico. The colors are unrealistically optimistic. So are the figures in the baskets: a newly married couple, a mariachi band, a family of monkeys swinging off the side of a basket, a president, what appears to be a large chicken laying eggs.

I went to New Mexico once for my sister’s soccer tournament in high school. The…


I have half-woven stories stacked in my Drafts section, accumulating electronic dust, knocking on the floorboards of my brain, Tell-Tale Heart style, asking to be released in the world.

I ask my 8-year-old sister, who is sharp, for a topic. Something to spark my fuse. “Cooking,” she says. She doesn’t look up from her puzzle, consumed by the desire to make something whole.

My body says no. It does not want to write about cooking. I have nothing to say about cooking, other than I enjoy the end product of it.

I mean, I like the idea of cooking. It…


I’ve been avoiding writing this blog because I knew in my heart it had to be about 2019. (Yes, remember 2019?) It seemed only natural to round off the year with a pithy, insightful recap in which I find beauty in an otherwise bleak 12 months.

People tend to like those blogs, because they’re equal parts nostalgia and fresh start. You know what I mean. “It was tough, but we did it!” New chapters! New leaves! New shoes! Blah blah blah.

But the pesky thing about life is that it doesn’t stop. Even when it feels like it stops, time…


No one cares about your Christmas card. It’s braggy and wasteful and unnatural for everyone involved. No one stands like that.

That said, I am a big fan of them. One, because I love validation. Two, because I love opening mail. Which is another form of validation.

In fairness, it’s in my blood. I come from a line of diehard Christmas carders. The effort: maximum. The stakes: high. We’re talking camera timers, smizing, and multiple poses.

Not to mention, the thrilling gamble of whether or not our dog, Mesa, would look at the camera. I’ve never disliked my dog more…


I once met a psychotherapist at a night club in Las Vegas.

I don’t remember the name of the club, or how we ended up there — this was a few years back, where the novelty of night clubs still had an allure and my liver still had tolerance.

I do remember that we got admission and bottle service for free. Sexism and ageism are alive and well in Las Vegas. Escapism is also a staple (What Happens Here, Stays Here.) …


Some people are born with caffeine in their veins. You know who I’m talking about. They make green smoothies and deliberately take cold showers and say strange things like, “I biked to work today” and “I don’t need coffee.”

I am suspect of these people. Do they keep B12 shots in their desk drawers? Are they hooked to an espresso IV while sleeping? Like any good investigative journalist, I decided to conduct some research.

I asked a member of one such 5 am Tribe, who said the key was listening to podcasts while running. I like podcasts and I tolerate…


I have been staring at this page for far too long. I have been staring at this page since last Wednesday, when the nation spotlighted a slab of rock. I have been staring at this page since I was born.

I knew I wanted to write about the anti-abortion laws. I knew it when my throat tightened in sync with the lawmakers’ noose. As the restrictions closed in, so did my airways. My hanging mouth could not find the speech to adequately dictate my horror.

And so, I remained silent. At first. But the words left unsaid start swelling at…


“Do you have a moment to help save the planet?”

“Your ex looks like Danny DeVito, so don’t even talk to me about settling.”

“Which way is Times Square?”

“You don’t understand, I have to do this.”

“Ayy mami, you an angel!”

“Have you seen their sugar scoopers? They’re huge!”

“His new work is so overrated.”

“If I get an extra pair, I’ll be forced to wear them more.”

“I don’t care what anyone says, Arya is a lesbian.”

“Rapido! Rapido!”

“Well, he’s either dead or he hates me.”

“Don’t tag me in that.”

“I am not throwing away my shot.”

“If you quote Hamilton one more time, I’m going to fight you in Jersey.”

Kate Wales

tales of a 20-something | katewaleslewis.com

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