Day 132: Bev of the Week – Coffee

I made my first trip around the neighborhood today. It’s always a scary thing to do when you move into a new place. You don’t want to do it at night, because things might get weird. You don’t want to explore in a bad mood, because it will leave a bad impression. Which is unfair to the environment, as it isn’t its fault that you don’t care about the architecture of the senior center. You also don’t want to be in too good of a mood, because you might romanticize it. This could lead to lots of problems later. Exploring is also not optimal when it’s gloomy or raining or snowing or in the middle of a parade. I’ve learned all this the hard way. But the sun was shining, the streets were clear of confetti and my mood could only be described as neutral. It was the best time to walk around the neighborhood.

I realized quickly that it wasn’t a good time to walk around the neighborhood. From your window, up above the ground, blue skies can be deceiving. They try to convince you, “Yes, it’s nice outside. You should be there.” As soon as you heed their advice, the wind can turn right back around and say, “Fuck you”. And as I walked closer to the river, the wind said, “Fuck you” a lot. And the bitter cold temperature of the wind said, “Maybe you should have opted to not wear a baseball cap but rather something more appropriate to my demeanor”. Meanwhile, Mr Sun and Blue Sky said, “Yes, welcome”. It was all very confusing.

Aside from the atmospheric chatter, the neighborhood was very quiet. There wasn’t much going on at all. A few construction workers having a smoke. A lady outside a laundromat talking on the phone. Just general people doing general things. And I guess I’m one of them. I’m generally a general person that does general things. Nobody expects me to be up to no good or trying to change the world. I’m no hero, but I’m also not a villain. I take a lot of pride in my anonymity. And I think these people do, too. In that regard, I know I’m going to fit right in. As I wandered around the nondescript residential buildings, I wondered when I would see them again. There’s not an awful lot to see, but there could be something really cool at the end of the block. A cool thing that I would visit all the time and therefore walk by these buildings numerous times, almost to the point that I consider them a part of home. Or I could never walk down the block ever again and when I read this years from now, I won’t even remember which buildings I’m talking about.

I stopped by the local post office, as I had to send a package to Italy. I didn’t have to wait in line, but the lady was upset that I didn’t have a customs form filled out. I didn’t know what that meant. I had never sent anything to Italy before. I was a fool. So I went and got that taken care of, but by the time that I finished, there was a line. Both windows were at an impasse. One lady was trying to get a package that clearly wasn’t there. The other lady was seeking legal advice. I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but her significant other is being wrongfully convicted for a 12 year sentence. What that has to do with the US Postal Service, I have no clue. Maybe legal counsel is one of the services that they had to pivot towards to make more money. As much as I wanted to be upset about the line, I just couldn’t. If I had known how to send things to Italy properly, I wouldn’t be waiting. For the first time ever, the wait at the post office was my fault.

After I got everything situated, I needed a bev. A friend of a wife recommended a place just up the block. While I expected a moderately-sized bodega, I actually walked into a gargantuan maze of doom. This was a Mega Bodega. Actually, no. It was a supermarket. A Super Supermarket. I hurriedly maneuvered around the aisles, trying to find the bev section. To my dismay and panic, there were more than 5 bev sections. But I didn’t know which one to browse at, so I started the daunting task of trying to find an exit. After a few dead ends, I made it back outside. It was like Ikea with no arrows and 10 meatball sections. I’d definitely visit again, maybe when I’m looking for food and am able to procure a map.

Still bev-less, I spotted a beacon of relief across the street. A 7-eleven. But as I waited to cross the street, I swiveled my head to spot a better alternative: a coffee shop. The place had the opposite vibe of the supermarket. It was just one room with no high shelves. There was only one person there and he was chatting up the barista about coffee, which seemed like a strange but logical commodity. The Doobie Brothers played softly on the radio and the coffee only cost $2.73. This was a vast improvement to my old neighborhood. Over there, the good coffee shop is always overcrowded, blasting crappy music and the coffee starts at $4. I’ll gladly accept this change of pace and make it my own.

As I waited to cross 31st St, the smell of the Gyro cart wafted into my nose. Such a pleasant smell. My kind of smell. I took a sip from my coffee and it scorched my tongue, as hot coffee always does. But from what I could taste, it was quite flavorful. For the price of a tall deli coffee, I got some real gourmet shit. I could get used to that. Or just make it at home, like a sane person.

As time went on, the coffee became more palatable. It had a lot of different notes that I couldn’t put my finger on. Because I like symmetry, I put on some Charlie Parker, because he also plays a lot of different notes that are hard to put my fingers on. I sat at my desk, sipped deeply and gazed out at the neighborhood. There’s a whole lot of people that live here. They’re all pretty normal and they like it that way. This place isn’t trying hard to be something or hang on to a long-forgotten legacy. They just want to live life, drink coffee and eat Gyros. I can get behind that. I think I’m going to fit right in here.

– TeeCoZee