Friday, March 27, 2015

I Don't Care About Latté Art

Today is Friday.


It's close to end of business day, and I take the elevator down the five stories and make my way towards the grand exit. I open the heavy cast-iron door to be greeted immediately by the city's traffic noise.

Luckily, I am not looking for the expensive coffee shops, that value latté art but not always taste. I am looking for the local coffee connoisseur–the one where you can converse about the latest great novel, read the Paris Review or the New Yorker. 

A honking howl of the first, then the second, and now the third by the traffic light, warning pedestrians–although we have the right of way–that a motor beneath their buttocks is a powerful thing, making us all impatient. 

I am reminded how brief my lunch break is and hop into the closest coffee chain, feeling like a hypocrite for not supporting a local business. Than I shrug internally, knowing there are no local businesses left in Downtown, Midtown, heck even Uptown New York City due to hungry real estate giants that are hunching over the city with their claws, swallowing up any local pride for art, and individuality, and culture, and diversity and. so. on. 

At least I will not go for fancyfied flavors that are supposed to cheat my taste buds–they beg to differ these days, at this age. I stick with a generic, boring black brew. The line is long, but I don't mind, now that I am away from the angry car honking for a minute, feeling European, knowing I will savor my coffee and not pour it down my throat, while I am hasting down the sidewalk or pasting down the stuffed streets cursing and cussing with the other drivers in a choir of city chaos. Then I notice the delighted words of a vacationer behind me.

"What is a muck-she-ah-toe?" says the cheery Dutch voice behind me to his friend. 

"I think it is something with milk." replies his American friend. 

"Oh, coffee to me is like a dessert, but I don't drink these special coffee drinks." Without looking at the man, I can tell he is smiling. 

The American friend nods politely. 

"But I like espressos, and I always put sugar in mine, so it makes it even more like a dessert. A good espresso is like my candy." The Dutch man chuckles in delight. 

Oh Europeans, I smile. We don't care about latté art or fancy-sounding flavors

The line moves, I grab my black coffee. The Dutch and the American are next. 

"Pardon, what is a muck-she-ah-toe?" 

I want to give the question bearer a hug. I walk out, greeted with a wave of angry traffic sounds, hush into the office building, forward looking to the simple joy of a black cup of coffee, knowing the weekend is just around the corner. Oh these small delights, what a joy they are. 


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