Dream of the crop
One of my occasional indulgencies is the paper cup latte from a locally owned shop off an uninspiringly cluttered avenue I otherwise avoid whenever possible. Darting into the gracious sidestreet where this shop is tucked being one such escape. The coffee shop is small but cozy; my glasses have routinely fogged up on entrance. They sell hard-boiled eggs for 50 cents and make one of the finest, creamiest espressos I have found in my ’hood. Undoubtedly this owes to the fastidiousness of the owner, who is either British or Australian. I really should know the difference, but I don’t.
I tend to think British because his wit and banter are so dry. Besides (take no offense, Frasier dahling), it’s somehow more romantic to imagine those big, sleepy, almost middle-aged eyes belonging to a descendant of our distant forebears. I can only afford the occasional splurge there, but it’s always worth the cashola. And despite my infrequent pop-ins, the owner’s beginning to know me. One day last fall I mentioned that I was trying to move to San Francisco, so for a while that was the topic he’d follow up on. When that fell through, I had to give him a new nugget, so I told him about the book. “I think I might be getting an agent,” I said, the morning mine agreed to represent me.
A few weeks ago I paid another visit. I was disclosing the tidbit stingily, but he seemed worthy of a confidence. “I got that agent,” I began. He was nonplussed. There are more than a few creative types in our neighborhood; no doubt he is used to moderate success or teases thereof. At least I’ve never tried to buy my coffee bill with hopeful IOUs! Then noticing the overflowing magazine rack, I made casual inquiry. “Do you ever get Rolling Stone?” One of the employees sometimes brought it in sometimes, he said. “I’m in the current one,” I said as if practicing for a Deep Throat audition.
Tatty-to-hipsters mag though it may be, this got a reaction. “My! You are going places.” I laughed.
“Next week Charlie Rose?” he inquired.
“More like paying the rent.” After all, while this has led to some possibly promising contacts, the publicity is basically like the superficial glam of a Chelsea bar filled with hot men ... most of whom are undoubtedly gay or straight but still freaked by Jesus. I mean, consider the wow: readers leave obscene comments and my bank account still looks like a candidate for low-balance closure!
But I digress. My real point was that our little exchange of intimacies may have fueled the fleeting pleasure that was this morning’s caffeine hit. When I stepped into the steamy shop with my high-risk-fasten plaid pants and impractical wool suit jacket, Coffee Shop Man’s greeting was fulsome. “Good morning, madam.” And when the espresso boy accidentally made my latte on ice, Coffee Shop Man leaned over the counter for a confidence of his own. “You might as well take it,” he murmured as the assistant began the hot latte I had ordered (fans self).
Sometimes there’s something soooo hot about a restrained, almost middle-aged man with an accent. I’ve even seen him running at the park. Twice. He doesn’t wear more layers in winter.
Labels: simple pleasures