Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life is like.......a cappuccino

Not to sound sappy, but lately, even though I've had some dog and house headaches, life just seems more sublime, more subtle, the undertones and coloring of life have taken on more importance, and I find myself enjoying the moment and all its complexities, but still, something is missing. When we're younger, maybe a coke or a glass of lemon aid made us happy. But as we mature, our palates become more sophisticated, and lemon aid just doesn't cut it---but a good cappuccino, now that's the sign of true sophistication! There's just something truly relaxing and intimate about wondering through that cappuccino each day.

 In Pacific Grove, there was a place called Wildberries, where everyone knew your name. It was one of those special places where you went to when you wanted to have a heart to heart conversation with someone, when you were bored out of your wits, when you needed to get rid of a hangover, or when you needed to just be. Wildberries was a breeding ground for intellectual discussions, a place of congregation, as sacred as a temple or a tennis court---as a coffee shop it epitomized the total integral part of the American and European experience, although these days, some coffee shops have become an ambient socialization with people, sadly, hiding behind laptops---(that wouldn't have happened in Wildberries though)! Many of us in PG, lived to go to Wildberries each day, it was so special that I even volunteered as a coffee barista on Saturday nights for a year or two, and they were some of the best times. Being a barista is like being a Psychologist, but even better---you don't get sued for saying the wrong thing. When Wildberries and it's cast of characters closed, it was like ripping away a part of who we all were.

After Wildberries closed down, I had a “coffee breakdown,” and resorted to tea as my rebellion, but tea just doesn't fire the same neurons, it doesn't exactly give rise to enlightenment. In reality, there is nothing like a great cappuccino. And so awhile ago I was in Gabs with some buddies, we found a coffee shop, I ordered a cappuccino, and just stared at it in lust and longing. The pleasure derived from even looking at this was a primal one, not unique in human experience, but as yet unmatched. And the cappuccino art, all part of the experience, is not merely a matter of will, there's a great deal of practice required, an art that I never mastered, but one I so admired.  Just looking at a good capuccino speaks to the practical and the whimsical all at once, a fleeting affirmation of due diligence and the beautiful chemistry at work in one delicious cappuccino. Ahhhh, there's nothing better!

I drank slowly, savoring every sip, knowing that after not having had coffee for sometime, their would be residual endorphins that my friends would not understand. And true to form, after my splurge of a second cappuccino, my mouth went and didn't stop. My friends were in stitches, not knowing what to make of this different human being they thought they knew. The best part was, besides enjoying the normalcy of sitting in a cafe and doing what I used to love doing most, the endorphins didn't stop until I got home that evening. God did I feel good---it sent me back to Wildberry heaven!  Now my friends alude to me as “coffee Lynn,” or “regular Lynn.” Why I ever resorted back to tea is beyond me, it seems I'll have way more friends on a coffee rush.

Walking back to my village that early evening, melancholy hit because I know I don't have a cool place to hang in Mmathethe, a place to watch life go by, even if it is cow and goat life. I've tried getting one of the store owners in Mmathethe to turn the place into a funky coffee shop, telling him that coffee houses are a microcosm of life, and I feel lost without one here. I mean really, these people don't know what their missing. We can even get our daily milk for the latte's from the cows outside, I'll write you a grant to get it started, it would be so easy. His ears were peaked with curiosity, but he asked who would come since I would be leaving in 17 months (but who's counting). I told him all the teachers would come, and that he could be famous in Mmathethe if he did it right. Looking around his store at the onions and potatoes just doesn't cut it Danga! And he looks at me with a huge, thoughtful smile, and says----maybe!  Yes, maybe one day you'll understand that Life is Like a Cappuccino! 

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