>> Sunday, May 15, 2011
That would be my friend Win at the counter of Starbucks. He had ordered mine first. And that would be soy latte. I'm a simple guy with simpler taste in coffee so he orders mine first every time, simple to complex. A natural progression. And besides, barristas are humans, too - his philosophy. But they do smell better. Aromatic would be the word. Oh but the ashtray would be for me. Win's quit smoking altogether, affects his tonsils or so he says. But even if he does go back to the habit, he could never outpuff me, not even in his heyday, as I have become a human chimney - it has taken me awhile but my lungs delivered. But I'm a friendly fire, I only smoke where it's allowed. And that's virtually everywhere. But not inside Starbucks. So you have to ask for an ashtray and smoke outside while you drown in your cuppa. Which I prefer anyway. Al fresco, one with the elements and noisy traffic. Incessant talk only heightens the atmosphere. Ahh nothing is more casual and laid-back.
if looks could kill
But nighttime in the same place is a different world and I'm a different cat. The world turns into a black and white dream. Yes, film noir-ish. Or -esque. No, -ish is correct. I become Liam Neeson in that first few sequences of Schindler's List. Brooding, mysterious, dangerous. I would work on that cig like I'm being filmed but unaware. Deliberate yet casual - slow like honey but heavy with mood. And if the air around me is steady, I would let out a smoke ring. And before it vanishes into thin air with your attention, I would produce another one to hold hands with the first. And another, and another. Until I form a chain of white menace that would charm out all the good things your momma taught you.
One thing about my smoking though is that I never smoke for the sake of smoking, it's always with intent. I smoke to determine if I have waited long enough. Five sticks and you're not there yet, I'm gone. Buh-bye. I also light one to imply that I'm done in bed...or the floor. Turn off the red light, the party's over, till the next craving. No amount of contortionistic persuasion could drag me away from a drag right after. I'm selfish like that, but I can share a puff. Okay two puffs. Cigarettes are also my major source of strength. Like when I'm up for a job interview or a blind date. Nicotine calms my nerves, clears my mind and blunts hunger pangs (it made survival possible in the workplace where lunch breaks were a privilege and not a right).
And now to my other love, a selfless mistress given the more considerable time I spend with my Marlboro Lights (lower tar, slower death). If only bringing a cup in the toilet on the throne would make an agreeable sight. But truth be told, my affair with the dark muse started way before I can even spell "M-I-N-O-R". As a kid, I'd have a cup with the adults on the table during breakfast. And black, too. You can say my relationship with coffee started early. And intense. No cream and therefore guiltless.
I generally love my cup blistery hot. Specially during stormy weather. News of a storm abrewing excites me so that even before the slightest hint of a change in the wind's direction is felt by my black lab, I had already conjured a vision of me, on the terrace, the holy grail clasped, within the whispery kisses of the falling rain. I know it's quite ironic, my feeding off of the warmth of a cup and yet exposing myself like that in the cold. But I'm incongruous like that. Like any artsy writer probably is. Otherwise I'd write news Or anything business.
But coffee is the antithesis to my smoking. If a stick unclogs my brain cells, the dark poison suffuses my thoughts with inspiration. Poring over a cup, the deep, mysterious, undulating or still liquid allows my mind to wander and introspect. Suddenly I'm swimming in metaphors and itching to pound on that keyboard and write poetry that would make you cry or feel like crying. Fine, I'm okay with "slightly affeced".
As I've said, I'm pretty much a simple guy in many ways. Black coffee is fine by me. Soy latte? Better. But fancy Frappucinos? I'd have a slice of that dome cake if I want desert.