Day 075: Bev of the Week – La Colombe Oatmilk Latte
I woke up 2 minutes before the alarm. This comes as a surprise, as it’s 4 hours before I usually wake up. The sun is rising slowly, lending just enough light for me to maneuver around the apartment. I brushed my teeth while staring at the humongous mop on my head. I kissed Rachel softly on the cheek, wishing I could crawl back into the warm bed with her. I threw on my coat, left Willy in charge and was out the door in 5 minutes flat.
There was a line of people outside of the train station. An old lady was serving up steaming hot horchata out of a Gatorade cooler. I’ve never seen it be sold before, but judging from the amount of people waiting with their money ready, she must be there every morning. That’s the funny thing about New York. There’s things that you won’t ever see after 11 AM. The dude that sells you street meat after Midnight specializes in donuts and croissants for your responsible counterparts. People hand out newspapers and the recipients actually read them on the train. And those trains are filled with upstanding blue collar citizens, much like the one I rode this morning. Although the train was crowded, nobody was being irresponsible about it. Everyone gave each other their allotted space. Masks were worn by all and there were no loud conversations or blaring tinny music from a cheap speaker. Just a bunch of tired, hard-working New Yorkers keeping to themselves.
There was a line of people outside of the train station. But it wasn’t horchata this time. The line for Covid tests stretched for 3 blocks down Fulton Street. I walked by them, relieved that I didn’t have to stand in that line with potentially sick people but also a little guilty about never getting tested. When I got to the comic book store, I miraculously had 5 more minutes before opening. A group of guys sat in a line on the stairway, a few of them sipping on a coffee. “Ugh, coffee. I need a coffee”, I thought to myself. And older man at the base of the stairs, who everybody seems to know well, starting speaking to nobody in particular. In a thick Queens accent, he pontificated:
“It used to be so much easier to get your comics for the week. You’d be able to go to the drug store and buy all the comics you wanted for 5 cents, 10 cents, sometimes 15 cents. You’d read them and throw them away, maybe keep the good ones or give them to a friend that you liked. Now they cost more than newspapers, magazines, trade paperbacks. You have to go far away, early in the morning, in the freezing cold, take public transit just to buy these expensive comics…”
Someone walked into the lobby and greeted him. He said good morning back and started his speech again, word for word. He followed it up with an interesting thought. The word, “bizarro” is well known in the American vernacular. However, the character has never even appeared in a Superman movie. Before anyone could make a comment, the gates slid open and everyone rushed the entrance. I followed the group to the back corner and there she was: the soon to be elusive Daredevil #25. If I had gone to the store at my normal time, it’d be long gone. I grabbed a few others and got the hell out of dodge.
I briefly relished in a hunt well-done and then didn’t know what to do with myself. I went to the corner store and got a La Colombe Oat Milk Latte. I realize that it sounds like a dumb choice, but it’s just been my bag lately. My caffeine tolerance has plummeted recently, so my usual black cold brews are off the table. Regular sweetened coffees are too sugary and leave me feeling like crap. A regular latte is too bitter. But an oatmilk latte is just right. You get the combination of two earthy tones that blend together perfectly. While some oatmilk latte’s are downright watery and disgusting, La Colombe has one of the best mixes out there. It’s an almost even balance, and the draft can makes it an especially smooth sip.
I stepped out into the brisk morning air, cracked open the can, took a sip and woke up a little. Heading back towards the train station, I decided to keep walking. There’s just something so calming about lower Manhattan in the morning. I didn’t want to leave it just yet. I wandered through concrete canyons with hardly a soul in sight. Soon, this area will be filled with thousands of people. There’ll be tourists and residents, billionaires and hobos, workers and bosses, heroes and villains, all walks of life. But for now, it’s just me, some dude enjoying his coffee, relishing in the moment that always alludes him.