Monday, March 21, 2011

Coffee in the Morning

  As always, the aroma gets to me first. So brown, so comforting, it is a sensory experience like no other. When I pull open that door to my favorite local coffee shop, it wraps itself around me like an old friend and stays with me long after I have left. Today, on this early Saturday morning, there is a sense of semi-organized chaos. Nearly all the tables and chairs are occupied by various people. On the left, in the corner, is a tall young man with tousled hair hunched over his MacBook, typing languidly. If his face is any indication, the contents of his composition are mind-numbing and boring, perhaps a dreaded research paper on tapeworms. Every few minutes, he looks up at the entrance. Whether he is expecting someone, is seeking to break the boredom, or is anxious to leave, I know not which, but imagine it to be a combination of both. Directly across from this long legged hipster are two high school girls, evidenced partly by the (lack of) length of their shorts and the corresponding weather outside, but mostly by the sweatshirts they proudly wear, emblazoned with their school colors and logo. They speak extensively and emphatically of meaningless things: "crazy hard classes" (but not meaning the physical density of the classes,) and "lame teachers"  (nor the mobility of their professors) and of course who likes who, how they know, and what "everybody" thinks of that, not generalities, names, as well as descriptions of physical appearance are sure to be thrown around with tasteless freedom, as they sip on their stereotypical frappes. Thankfully, they are soon ready to leave and divert their short attention spans elsewhere. Sitting in the two couches directly across from me, an older couple partake in their customary black coffee and scones, evidently gaining no small amount of pleasure from the weekly ritual. Few words are exchanged, they are comfortable with each other and with silence, content to share tidbits of information they gather in the newspaper they share. Nearby, in lowered tones another couple share their plans, their hopes and dreams for the future, across a small table. They must be either newly engaged or married, indicated by the pronounced, adoring stares into one other's eyes, broken only by the numerous glances of the woman to her lately decorated left ring finger. A small family enters with their two young children who charm the cafe with their big brown eyes and little voices. Both must be under the age of 5, the younger one perhaps 2, and the older close to 4. After taking in her surroundings, the small girl breaks her fast and her silence simultaneously, loudly expressing her delight at have a donut and milk for her first meal of the day, and her little brother adds his thoughts on the matter by babbling and cooing to his parents' delight. Their added noise however, goes unnoticed in the other layers of harmony. The sound of clanking metal pitchers, along with the calling of drinks by the baristas and the mindless articulations and communications of those waiting in line at the register all come together to form a beloved and familiar melody as I write. It forms a cozy background of familiarity that melds in to one song: the sound of coffee in the morning.

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