by Armand Ramirez

See more photos here.

“Dragonfruit and roses, anyone?” A green variety, it was the first of six in our flight of Teas for what is usually the “coffee social” at WORK Petaluma.  

The first of six tastes that inspired such discerning descriptions as “light,” “fruity,” and “girly” … which more or less set the tone for the remainder of the hour. Humor aside, we did at last manage to share our more serious interests, ranging from startups, a discussion on the effectiveness of note taking, and the proposed Davidon project on D Street. 

First up, one of our newest coWORKers shared the concept of his own app/startup. A GPS-based fitness application that not only tracks your training but also your commute/traveling habits, giving the user a broader picture of her lifestyle choices – yes, it knows if you’ve gone through the drive-thru. Other early-morning member introductions included a life-coach who currently finds herself commuting between Santa Rosa and Palo Alto, and Barry, our resident “mayor”, who kindly provided our tea. He steeped it at the table before our eyes in his curious contraption – a cross between a stovetop espresso maker and a high school chemistry beaker.  Lindsey Goodwin, our next member, then told us about her career in sales of high end promotional items: bags, umbrellas, etc.

“Are those chotchskies?” a voice from across the table inquires. 

“No, my mother does that.” And apparently, she educates us, the corporate chotsky business is booming at that. 

Shortly after, Lindsey recognizes my face as my card has been sitting on her kitchen table the past week. “Wait, you’re a Ramirez. You wrote an offer on my house, right?” she asks. 

“No, that must have been my Dad.” 

All in the family, it seems.

Rosehips Rooibus, our next Tea, whose leaves are similar to pine needles and are often described as having a woodsy smell. “Best tasting saw-dust I’ve ever had,” Matt remarks. 

Mulling over the benefits of the tea, the conversation then shifted to one of our guests who is currently blogging a book on longevity. Intrigued by my note taking, in his own words, he “playfully” offered the following statement: “definition of an overachiever: to take notes at a coffee social.” 

Ironically, this proved to be the most coalescing comment of the morning, prompting the rest of us to chime in at random on the topics of spontaneity, creativity, and the benefits of structure in a group like this as opposed to a more relaxed attitude. Our coffee socials revolve around a sort of adult show and tell, the “floor” is passed from member to member, each having the opportunity to introduce oneself, talk about one’s business or a topic of interest. Naturally, there are stops, starts, and misdirections, but eventually the buck is passed around the room and we adjourn within 60-90 minutes. A member licensed in Psychoanalysis mentioned that the unconscious “doesn’t like to be tracked,” and that note-taking can interrupt its powerful creative process. Talk then turned to Ignite whose “goal is to spark new conversations and collaborations across cultures and disciplines.” 

“Earl Grey, anyone? Captain Picard’s favorite.” A new pitcher makes its way around the table and votes are immediately cast for our favorite Star Trek crew member. All falling to either Picard, Kirk, or “new Kirk.” Poor Janeway from Voyager … Sulu earns honorable mention for his real life political activism.

Leave it to Paul in the semiconductor industry to bring us back to earth. He narrates how he’d been up past midnight at the city council hearing on the Davidon project. Public comment lasted nearly seven hours by his count. 

It must of have been the tea … join us at our next coffee social for our regularly scheduled programming and morning beverage.

coWORKer Armand Ramirez is a Petaluma-based broker with Century 21 Bundesen. He writes a Real Estate column on the Petaluma Patch and has been featured in the Argus Courier and Press Democrat. In his free time Armand dabbles in music, blogging, photography, and learning to work the land with his Daughter on a 3 acre Ranchette in West Petaluma.