Sunday, April 15, 2007

150°

At a Dunkin' Donuts waiting for a cup of coffee, an impatient woman joined the line behind me and ordered a large coffee. The woman who took her order was new, still in training, and had some trouble with the cash register. The trainee then asked several times what the woman would like in her coffee. The woman ordering the coffee eventually made a glottal sound like a tiny cough to punctuate the beginning of a short burst of sigh.

"Jesus!" she said. "I shouldn't even be in here. I work at Starbucks!" She threw two singles onto the counter and looked around nervously. She did not seem to notice that I had begun to laugh at her.

*****

Today, at an entirely different Dunkin' Donuts (I like their coffee, OK?) I called my friend Micah, with whom I would be working for most of the afternoon, to see if he wanted me to pick him up something.

"I was just about to call you," he said before I could explain the purpose of my call. "I'm on my way to Starbucks. Want anything?"

I like coffee synergy.

Two days ago, Micah owed me $45. Yesterday, he owed me $50. After I bought him the coffee this afternoon, the total rose to about $52. I do not like where this is going. Especially as the person I know who might most easily break someone's leg is none other than Micah. I can't imagine he will let me hire him to do himself harm should he fail to make good on his financial obligations to me.

Plus, it'd be terrible if word got out that I'm not charging him interest.

To get Micah to smile like that, I just said "look stupid" over and over again in a very soothing tone, like I were giving direction to a small child. I think this shot was immediately after "OK, good, now: stupider."

*****

I think I saw some corner boys in my neighborhood today, standing blithely on the corner. They stood more or less facing one another, but angled so that together they had a nearly 360° view of the surrounding area. They didn't seem concerned about anything in the world, except for the fact that they were clearly watching all sides for trouble. I hope it was just a coincidence, that they were going about some other business. It's not like I don't think there are drugs for sale in my neighborhood, but I'd rather not have such openness about it so near to my home. That's the kind of behavior that usually leads to stray bullets prematurely ending the life of one of the local children, or the teachers at the school up the block.

Or me.

*****

I was up in Wicker Park, where I took a couple of pictures. One of the Double Door (on the Flickr page in color and then again in black and white because I couldn't decide which one I liked better) and the one at right: a currency exchange which was advertising a current temperature which was off by well over a hundred degrees.

To provide an illustration of how hot 150° would really be: when making a latte or a cappuccino, the milk is supposed to be heated with the steam wand until it reaches 140°. That's as hot as you can go without burning the milk.

I was at the same currency exchange many years ago on a first date. I hadn't had a chance to get my paycheck into the bank, so I brought it with me, and this place was the first stop of the date. They refused to cash it (it was for too much money, or so they claimed) and I was forced to ask her if she could pay for everything we did. I cannot recall ever seeing her again.

Spent a chunk of time browsing the stacks at Myopic Books, one of my favorite bookstores. The store is crammed with books on several floors. It is simply lousy with books of all types and vintages.

The fiction section—which starts on the rickety "balcony" and continues on the first floor—requires a map and a guide to navigate properly. There are cats roaming the aisles, or sleeping on the ledges. It is a terrible store to enter in hopes of finding a specific volume, but, as my friend Craig pointed out, it is a wonderful place to come across a book. I came across a couple of books for myself, and bought a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Palm Sunday for Craig, because I think he'll really like it.

"Hey, that's the dude who died recently," he said as I handed it to him.

"Yes," I said, somewhat wearily. "The very same...dude."

*****

Still have not quite untangled myself from the Dayworking. I expect Monday will end it, though. I hope Monday will end it. Should any of my coworkers or my supervisor log in to check my blog, I would really like to be done now, please.

Craig asked me what I was doing at work today. I told him it would be really difficult to answer the question without going into a lot of detail about what it is I actually do. Craig, like most people, has no clear idea what tasks I actually perform for money.

"I half expected you to say 'graphic arts stuff,'" he said.

That's certainly going to be my response next time.

*****

I have no intention of showing you pictures of all the people I mention on this blog, but I happened to have some fairly nice portraits of both Craig and Micah on hand.

*****

How have I been blogging for this long without ever using "coffee" as a tag?

This oversight has been corrected.

10 comments:

Chris said...

And I'm sitting in the i-cafe on Gibsons Road drinking my black steamin Americano reading about your coffee adventures.

Perfect.

Caroline said...

A feast today.
You voice is different. You sound excited ;)

Nice to see Micah smiling after your upsetting him the other day. Could you get me a coffee next time you're buying? Just send it over. Oh and a chocolate chip shortbread from Starbucks. Thanks.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It sounds as if your lady of the coffee shop quaffed a couple at Starbucks first. Their coffee is seriously more caffeinated than others.

I like Dunkin Donuts' coffee, too, but have never seen one on the west coast.

Maybe Micah is counting on you leaving soon so he won't have to pay you back the money. Good luck.

Myopic Books sounds like a little piece of heaven. Dude.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I loved this post. It was just what I needed as a "pick me up" before going back into work. Thanks. :)

goodthomas said...

S'wonderful, Mr. Moon. I like this post very much, laughed real hard at your story on getting Micah to smile, and loved your other stories as well.

Your candids of people are splendid, Mr. T, really nice. And that Micah is a very photogenic fellow.

The Moon Topples said...

Chris: More coffee synergy! Hooray!

Caroline: It's possible I'm a little excited. Your request is noted. I'll see what I can do, although Starbucks here has nothing called a "shortbread."

HinSF: Yeah, they only had one when I lived in Colorado, and it was 30 miles away. I don't know why they're not ubiquitous. Myopic is certainly worth the trip should you find yourself in Chicago.

SilverN: What a nice thing to say. You'v sort of compared me to coffee!

GT: Maybe you'll let me snap you, now. I'll be bringing my camera to work Monday. Look out!

Caroline said...

yes yes take a photo of GT.

;)

X

Reading the Signs said...

Coffee suits you, sir. Time-wasting is an honourable and necessary occupation for a gentleman artist/writer - and look, nice post.

Verilion said...

I hate Starbuck's and all it's ilk with a passion.

Moving on from that I really liked the vignettes, especially that line about 'watching all sides for trouble.'

The Moon Topples said...

RTS: "Gentleman Artist." I like that a lot. Think I'll print up some business cards.

Veri: Thanks. Nice to see you again.