Thursday, September 21, 2006


Why dream big? If you keep your dreams on the smaller side, they might actually have a chance of coming true. Perhaps this is a cynic's philosophy, but bear with me because I have a small ambition and it is to be a "regular" and I think I have a chance at making this happen.

My one true addiction is coffee, and as such I am susceptible to getting it whenever and wherever I can. I've really made an effort to avoid Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts because I'm opposed to being a link in life's little chain gang, but being the addict that I am lately I've slipped and imbibed the 'bucks. Which I'm not so into. So I redoubled my efforts to avoid Starbucks, and in doing so found a great, non-chain, coffee place.

I found it through my foodie-friend Matt. He'd heard of this Italian coffee shop just south of 57th on 6th and we stopped in on a recent rainy Sunday. I didn't try the espresso on this initial visit, but I immediately loved the place because it looked exactly like the coffee shops I remember from my brief trip to Italy seven years ago -- all gleaming tile, stainless steel, and small marble countertops. It didn't hurt that the Italian barista was more than easy on the eyes and also happened to be the proprietor (I'm not into coffee-slingers but I do have a soft spot for international entrepreneurs), and he won my awkward, blushing interest by allowing me to flirt with him. Which I did. Sort of!

That would have been a singular experience, except that I'm recently freelancing near this Italian's coffee shop. So the other morning I revisited the shop accompanied by a vague terror that doing so might seem utterly forward. "I'm here for the coffee!" I told myself. When I walked in the barista didn't seem to remember me, even though I totally remembered him. But I played it cool and ordered an Americano. "For here or to go?" he asked. "Oh, to go!" I said, "I'd love to stay but I can't***, thank you! Maybe some other time!" I probably would have kept talking but some Italian-speaking regulars walked in and for some reason they were able to make small talk with him and not seem as though they required institutional help. I was relieved when he gave me my drink; both because it gave me an activity and also because it was one of the most awesome cups of espresso I have ever had: smooth, but with a little bite. As I stirred in my sugar he said to me, "You were here before, yes?" "Yes!" I said. "Right," he said, "You are the sometimes performer?" "Yes...just sometimes," I said. Flattered that he remembered me I said "You should come to a show!" "Okay," he said, "You keep coming here to remind me, and then maybe I will see a show." Wow. That is a diabolically genius way to get a lady to buy coffee from you on the regular. I just might do it.

***The truth is, I TOTALLY could have stayed for the duration of a coffee. But: I was nervous. And: always leave them wanting more. Or: maybe?


Post a Comment

<< Home