losing my tongue

It’s summer by most accounts here in Atlanta.  Summer’s a time for coming and going, for travels and for rest. And I found my way over to Emory today. Some of my favorite places in Atlanta are over here, like the spacious quad at the University near the library. Back in my college days I’d use it because of my own campus’s lack of resources. It afforded me pleasant getaways in my times of escape. I like people, and being surrounded by hundreds of intellectual kids made me feel better about myself I guess. But today I’m reminded that it’s summer, and the quad’s solace is in the stillness, the calm and emptiness from everyone’s absence. I move on, and I find my way over to the village.

Normally I’d sit in for brunch at Rise and Dine, but I’ve already had my usual everything bagel at work this morning. So I just stop by long enough to say hello to my friend waiting tables. This afternoon I’m at Method. a newer coffee bar and tea lounge. I’m here because some barista friends have been raving about their espresso.  And as it turns out I’m pleasantly satisfied.  Method. is trendy in a good way; wood floor with the polished finish, post-modern artsy cushioned seats on one wall, simple menu, and a spacious patio. The owner and baristas know what they’re up to. They love what they’re doing, and that isn’t always easy to find these days.

You know, I was thinking the other day…it’s probably a good thing that we have extremists in some sense. I’m glad that some folks aren’t satisfied with just being good at something, just settling with the norm.  If there is no great novelist, then who would the short story writer have to look towards? Or more to the point, where would your everyday barista look without the World Barista Competition? She might end up handing you something more undesirable.  A good cappuccino could make a sad man’s day just a little bit better.

Today I’m tasting one of the most flavorful sips of my life(Maybe the truffle shavings I shared at Serenbe Farm were this distinct). The espresso that Method. recently blended is making me lose my tongue.  It’s remarkably paletteable.  There is an unidentifiable wafer sweetness that comes with their predominent roast, mixed in with some whiskey, maple syrupy flavor and a savory, candy ginger finish from the other varietals. The soft tabacco and spiced orange joined in leave me with a smooth, subtle aftertaste. There is enough bitter to confirm it as espresso, but it is grand. I desire more.

I step outside instead. I remind myself that it’s just espresso. There are more substantial things to consider. The breeze is fitting. It’s enough to make me feel cooler on this warm, cloudy day. Perfection is good, like a beautiful sip of espresso. And that extremist striving is healthy if it moves one towards perfection. It’s all too obvious that extremists can take on great evil when they look towards an imperfection, towards something that lacks truth (like murdering an abortion doctor). Not everything is subjective, lest we forget and can no longer enjoy the subtilties in life. I hope I can care enough to strive towards the truer thing, towards the honest thing even if it is summer time and the quad is still and motionless.

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  • http://thirtyam.tumblr.com Cameron

    I like your thoughts, R. Glad you’re sharing them. A few things your post sparked in my own thoughts:

    From my point of view, the short story isn’t an inferior form, nor should it by judged by novels. The short story is really its own thing, with its own conventions, and can accomplish sometimes what a novel can’t. But I think your underlying point is still true. Greatness compels us toward greatness.

    I also wouldn’t equate perfection or its pursuit with extremism–what is extremism, after all? And who sets the standard? In regard to coffee, music, art or writing (anything, really), “perfection” is a subjective thing. And its pursuit could and often does become distorted, evil, harmful, etc.

    Perfection, on the other hand, is nothing less than the life of Jesus Christ, which we will be (are being) drawn into. Rather than it being extreme, perfection is simply the true character of reality untarnished by sin. It’s the reality we’ll all face, one way or another and will live or be tormented by. And our coffee making and story writing and dish washing can all be part of the process of growing nearer and more like Christ. Of becoming more perfect/real (sorry, reading “The Great Divorce” right now–couldn’t help but bring it in.)

    Forgive my rambling. It’s a disease, I think.

  • BigPopi

    Well done Roberto.

  • http://christinadeann.blogspot.com/ Christina DeAnn

    robert,
    i enjoy your writing.
    i don’t believe this will be the last time i visit your blog.
    cd