First Published BuffaloVibe • March 29, 2017
A sign next to the cash register and atop the bakery case reads: “If you’e in a hurry, you’re in the wrong place.” Are you kidding me? OF COURSE I’M IN A HURRY! I’m in a coffee shop. Coffee, the last fully sanctioned addiction left in this country and I am depleted. From the minute I awoke exhausted (mothers never get enough sleep), I rushed to get here. I hurried to the lyrics in my head “You got to move it, move it”—damn Disney movie song whipping me to get here even faster. I pulled my children out of the car and into their respective schools, “Oh Sweetie, did I forget to give you a kiss? Mommy’s in a hurry. She needs her coffee.” I smacked my hand to my lips and waved repeatedly as I stumbled back out the door – almost there.
My shirt is on backwards and inside out and now that I’m finally here, I’m arguing with a sign.
Invariably, one of the impossibly young, oblivious to my very immediate needs, maddeningly languid workers festooned with various types of chapeaus takes my order. I frequent the place three times a week and say my name each time and not one of them remembers; or maybe they do, I can’t remember. I pour water from a tank and take a seat next to the door, by the window as the darkness and heat of the place begins to bring on the exhaustion I’m so desperate to allay. I drop the stuff I jammed into my purse and pockets before I left the house onto the table – phone, pens, composition notebook, etc. I forgot something. I always do, but then I don’t believe I did and dump the contents of my purse.
I hear my name. Abandon the stuff. Hurry to the ceramic mug on the counter.
And there, before me …
stands an artfully constructed latte with a leaf and a balloon sculpted into the foam. I take a sip. Just right. Perfect, in fact.
The cook in overalls and an Irish longshoreman’s cap waves. “Hello friend” he says. I smile. I like being called friend. I meander back to my table.
The décor includes words embroidered or stamped on signs and prayer flags: Love, Community, Equality, Merry, Neighbor, Sweetness. I can focus on these signs and forget the we don’t hurry declaration now that I’ve sipped the kool-aid—oops, I mean latte. Later, after I decide what to make for dinner, I’ll stroll down to Guercio’s and then possibly on to Bobby’s Price Rite Market, a bodega with a butcher in the back. Grant Street is a walking community. For now, I open my composition notebook, pick up my pen, take another sip of my latte, and write— relaxed, refreshed, and decidedly unhurried.