Another early morning. Frost on the cars and thick fog blankets the streets. We are surprisingly efficient this morning. We head down into town for a quality cup of coffee. The kind where the baristas weigh the grounds before pouring a shot. And for a monday morning, its pretty hoppin’.
I watch the main barista, the image of a PNW hippie, with his wool sweater and dark beanie. He bounces around behind the counter taking orders and shmearing bagles. He smiles the whole time. How wonderful to have so much pride and love for your job.
Aside from the two baristas and myself, I realize everyone else is twice my age. A sea of grey and white hair, sipping coffees and chewing bagles. Some of them stare deeply into their phones, others engage in gossipy conversation. Everyone seems local, familiar with the barista named Patty. Its cold out, and they all wear their name label puff jackets and thick raincoats. You’d rarely see anything less up here. My own no-name, black cotton button up is tucked under the table. Its loud, and echoy in there, the sound of the music long drowned out. A phone rings loudly, and I watch as men feel their pockets, some lift their phones off the table to check them, women dig in their purses, or hold them closer to their ears, only to put them back when they realize if wasn’t theirs.
The barista still bounces around behind the counter. The steady stream of people coming in doesn’t slow. We eventually finish our own cups, and abandon our seats for the cold outside. The fog is beginning to thin, and the sun is coming out.
You’ll know you’ve fallen in love when you no longer want to sleep, because reality is finally better than your dreams…
I slept. I slept. I slept til afternoon. And I dreamt. One tiny Trazodone to help me sleep, one tiny doorway into the world of dreams. And in my dreams, my heart was breaking. A love I’ve clung onto, was falling in love with someone else. By mistake, I was late, or took a wrong turn, or some other random chance, and saw her climb out his window. And with a blush, and a sigh, I knew she was falling in love with him too…
I claw my way out of slumber, like demons climbing out of hell. It is light out and the digital clock on the nightstand taunts my unseeing eyes. I hear the sounds of cooking from somewhere downstairs, and the deep rumble of my displeased cat. I put my glasses on and am surprised to find its noon. I’d slept for 12 hrs straight. The cats both emerge from their hiding places, and follow me into the bathroom..
The day is cold, wintery, and with the leisure beholden a Saturday, we drive down into town for coffee. We drive past the other coffee shops til we reach the end, a special coffee shop. The coffee shop with a How-To juggling book on its shelf. The coffee shop that is a cross between casual and serious. (Casual cat t-shirts and flannel. Serious weigh each shot of esspresso for perfection in a cup.) The coffee shop that drew a penis in my cappuccino foam years ago for a laugh. Nothing like a Cockoccino to start your day..
I sometimes forget how much I like this perfect little dream town. Coffee shops where you can make your baristas blush. Bookstores where clerks know the exact location of the book you want. Theaters that show real movies, not just the Hollywood stuff. And the sea..
I bite into a yellow apple and can’t recall the last time I’ve just eaten an apple. Each bite, juicy and dreamy. I meet a cat with two odd back legs. Living a difficult life, but living it none the less. He pulls his back legs behind him as he crosses the store to greet us. No less life in him, no less drive, despite his handicap. An old man tells me a story about spliced apple trees and magical bites. A distant time, a mystery apple. “Happy bedding…” he says, as we depart.
We return home, only hrs later. My head is foggy and I still feel the pull of sleep. I ascend the stairs, and let slumber take me..
We took our time waking up. We dressed, and packed. Nothing opened until 10 anyway. We watched the market brush the sleep out of its eyes. We drank coffee, and ate french pastries. I gave a man my napkin, and the barista made sexy eyes at my Pops. We strolled thru the narrow alleys of Chinatown. We got tacos for lunch. Then headed to the dock to catch our ferry..
Mid afternoon ferry back across the boarder. Doesn’t feel like it’s been a full weekend, but somehow it has. The sun is shining, the water is calm, and today I see just how much I’ve missed. It’s a different sort of culture, for someplace so close to home. If I end up taking anything away from this trip, it is simply to learn to enjoy my time and not take it for granted. If the price we pay for being stressed out, is that ws are a less welcoming country, then it’s not worth hanging onto the stress. It doesn’t make you work any harder and it doesn’t bring you more reward. What a beautiful thing it was, to spend a whole weekend surrounded by smiling, friendly faces. And to be in the presence of complete strangers, who genuinely wish you the best. The simplest thing to pay forward, to genuinely wish someone well. How and when did my country become such a hateful, angry place? I blink my eye and it is gone like a dream, and we are home.