The quickest way.

I have reverted to my old ways. I am now sitting in another coffee shop working on some wordpress sites, and by the time I get up and stretch my legs I will have been here at least four hours. I have been diligently working for as long as I have been here- headphones keep me from hearing “gimme a soy mocha frap, extra whip” the dozens of times I assume it has been said as I work.

While my hearing may be impaired, there is little I can do to impair my eyesight. Unfortunately my peripheral vision works wonderfully, and I left my blinders back in the stable. While I write more css and customize a template or two, or prattle on in this blog my eyes catch sight of a few things that seem odd.

Our society is individualistic. It is nearly oxymoronic, but true, based on what I have seen in this coffee shop. In order to order coffee in this particular Starbucks you must walk past a devastatingly challenging curve in your path set by a display of beans. From the way people avoid slumping left then right I would say that this particular obstacle is akin to a double-black diamond in skiing. It is so challenging that only one in 10 ever attempts the maneuver.

This path brings the prospective consumer closer to their coffe by zero seconds. The line will not shuffle forward any faster because they took four less steps than directed, so that can’t be why. What compels us then? There may be the perception that being closer to the counter will get the addictive beans in their bellies quicker, but a small watch can tell you that is wrong.

It is only for the sake of individualism that these consumers disobey the regards of patterns (and of a sign clearly marking the proper way).  It is not the quickest way but rather it is the most independent way, and I am part of that same mindset. While I can manage the turn fine, I am fiercely independent in other ways, but that will have to wait for another post.

I’ve become one of those…

This screen is nearly foreign to me. It has been well over a month wince I have last posted anything on this blog, and have barely been infront of a computer for just as long (I couldn’t avoid this box entirely, it is an addiction that I couldn’t quit). You may know I spent the better part of a month overseas, taking my first vacation in my memorable history.

The basics: I had a few days in London, spent weeks in France, and about a week in Italy. The entirety of the trip was well beyond my expectations, I still can’t fathom how quickly a month flew by. I think you can find pictures on facebook, thanks to Laurel, but we didn’t put too much emphasis on capturing moments in stills. I have always loathed taking pictures: you can’t be active in an experience while hiding behind several layers of glass.

Europe is a different culture entirely, without question. But over the short time I was there, I became accustomed to the atmosphere that now seems more conducive to who I am.  For example, within my first few hours in Paris I experienced Parisian cuisine. Nobody was yet eating dinner, but my American stomach couldn’t wait until 20:00 to eat, especially after a long day of travel. It was difficult to find a kitchen open, and once we did I was expecting similar service to what I received here.

Instead, we found our own table, awkwardly sat down and waited. It was odd not having a smiling hostess push us to a seat quickly, and slap large menus down in front of us. The waiter never looked towards our table until the menus were closed. Paying took effort, the waiter was vacant.

It was wonderful. That first restaurant didn’t serve the best food I had in Paris, it was even a bit of a tourist trap, but I savored the initially awkward experience. As our time in Europe continued, I found our meals expanded to cover several hours. Coffee was an experience that lasted nearly as long, their small cups of brew lasting longer than a vente from starbucks. Conversation flowed, and my usual art of people watching took on a life of its own in this foreign city.

Now I have returned, and this world around me is foreign. I miss those cafe’s, the trains spanning hours past exquisite coasts and through mountains. Each meal brings me memories, each coffee makes me yearn for another cafe creme in front of Canal St. Martin. I have become “one of those” people. I now say “well in France…”  and “Italian gelato is so much better than…”. One of those obnoxious fools who thinks that because I spent a month across an ocean I should remind you of that fact daily.

I am so terribly sorry…


La Spezia- our last night in Italy.