If one is careful, conscientious and imaginative, it is quite possible to fall in love three times during one coffee shop sitting. Five times, if the logo of the coffee shop happens to have a green mermaid in the center of it. Starbucks provides a quick turnover rate of fine men in business suits. Commendable. Applause worthy. But you have to be attentive. Very attentive. With a willingness to conjure up story lines. If you look at him at just the right angle, minus the satchel bag, he would totally be the type to crawl through the pits of the Amazon to rescue you. But the ones who are the Most Attentive will find that the Most Unconditional Love and the Most Infinite Kind of Love comes from the one who never walked through the door.
To be a connoisseur of the cappuccino. A master of all things Espresso and Double Shot. One who is willing to scour the cobblestones of Italy on a conquest for the perfect float of steamed milk. Now that is something that I think would give the same glint as Wonka’s golden ticket on a resume. An individual who can spot a top-notch brew is one who can spot almost anything: the good in someone, a conversation on a lonely subway, a restful spot in a restless world.
It’s not me. I can assure you, it aint me. Me? I bustle just about anywhere for a thin paper cup. I opt for the 60 cent coffee at the Bodega across the street. Quick Coffee. Cheap Coffee. Something to serve as a substitute for my glittens during the trek away from Grand Central toward my office building.
On the Quest for a Cheap Large Coffee. Skim Milk. One Equal.
I steer away from the UNICEF Cafe today. Keep walking. Right up to a quaint little coffee shop that holds a foreign sip and bar stool that has never known my coming. By the looks of the front window the place seems to hold promise. Men reading their Morning Times. A Healthy Dose of International Peacemaking Conversation Going on in the Corners. Just the right amount for 8a.m. (Mind you: It is only two blocks from the United Nations. Peacemaking conversation is expected almost everywhere in the four block radius outside the Headquarters.)
The quiet of the shop sucks me in. It slurps me up even before my first sip and a man at the door wastes no time in ushering me to a small table in the back, asking for my order.
Oh Jeepers, wrong coffee shop. Definitely wrong coffees shop. My 25 dollar a week stipend definitely will not hold to what I have just gotten myself into. How do I say it nicely? Um… Sir? I really just want a cheap cup of coffee. It can even be old. Nothing special.
I look around at the white teacups clinking on their saucers. Symmetrical Swirls of Brown & Gold Floating Atop a Frothy Brew. Adorable Baby Spoons. Infantile Silver.
And then it strikes me… Prendo un Cappuccino.
A dear friend of mine has spent the last few months making her mark on the cobblestone of Italy. Finding a new cappuccino to drink every single day. When she returns back to the States in just a few short weeks I would not be surprised to read Italian headlines that follow her home: ” Extra! Extra! Cobblestones Cry For First Time in History: Roads that learned to miss a single person’s footprints.
“I will take a cappuccino,” I tell the man. For her. For Life. For deserving this moment.
I know a few things about this cappuccino before it even arrives before me:
One) It would not be fitting into my simple living budget
Two) I didn’t really care today for some reason. Call it a treat.
Three) This would be my first cappuccino that wasn’t sloshing its way out of a summer camp vending machine.
I officially understand now why a young woman would dedicate an hour of each morning to a cappuccino. Something happens in that first….. slow….. sip.
Decadent. Eloquent. Exquisite. If a coffee could wear white gloves, this would be the one. It demands your full attention. Like the mystified foreign lovers of great romance movies, it wraps you up and draws you in and it makes you feel Terribly Valued. Terribly Worthwhile. Terribly Special.
This is the kind of stuff that paper cups cannot handle…
And I sit, stirring the bubbles with my Infantile Spoon, wondering why it takes a coffee drink to make me feel worthwhile. Why a Giant White Cup Hugged Between My Hands Ushers In the Slow Love First.
We are slow to love. Quick to judge. Hesitant to move much of anywhere in fear that someone will criticize us. So we move fast. How fast? So Fast. On Purpose. Never needing to slow down to examine our lives. Never needing to stop and think about Happiness, Fulfillment, Spirituality or Desire. Do. Do. Do. No time to Be. Unless it’s Be on time or Be on top of things.
Always trying to please someone. Never quite mastering it all in one day. And there are days where we debate for a solid five minutes or so if we should scroll through the pages of the NYU website, searching the hyperlinks for the graduate program that offers a Master’s in Enough. Perhaps if we could be a Master of Enough, it would make up for the fact that we never feel like enough?
Or perhaps we need to learn to let the Adoration seep in. In the day-to-day, Adoration is seriously overlooked. Adoration for the elderly women befuddled by the light up Walking Men at a busy New York intersection. Adoration for the security guard at the United Nations who greeted you at 9 and then again at 2 and then again at 5. Courteous. So Courteous.
Adoration for our own selves. Our Own Skin. Our Own Body. Our Own Capability.
Adoration gets lost easily in a chaotic collection of tweets, texts, statuses, emails and to-do lists. But it is here. And there. And everywhere. Just waiting for that task to not need our full attention or for that touch screen to quit begging us to fondle its face with our tap-tap-tapping.
“You will fall in love in a coffee shop one day,” the voice of a friend comes scampering into the pool of reflection I find myself wading in. It was a few months ago. We were sipping Chardonnay and eating Guacamole, admiring the skyline and how we were both so drawn to it. Finding our Names Crocheted On The Street Signs. Between Lexington and Madison.
She was referencing a blog post of the past, the one that spilled my deep desire to find my Future Big Spoon over a Cup o’ Jo.
“But I don’t think it will be what you anticipated,” she continued. “I think you will fall in love with an idea in a coffee shop and your life will change right there.”
How very right she was. How very right she was. Slow Sips. Slow Love. Self. Love.
Slow Down & Love, Child. Slow Down. Look Around. Love. Love. Love.
Not tall nor dark nor handsome. Rather Short & Stout. Hot. Steaming.
Potential. Great Potential.
World. Oysters. Pearls.
Practice. Presence. Perfect.
Enough. Enough. Enough.
We never seem to see it all when we are moving so quickly. Only when we are forced to Sit Down, Slow Down and Sip Slowly. Then the Slow Love Slips In Slyly.
I leave behind my Infantile Spoon and my Oversized Cup after a slow morning, a gradual easing of my way into the world on a Friday. I take with me the Slow Love though, summoned up and served to me by a God who must have a part-time job as a barista in the clouds.