Saturday, October 24, 2009

grande con dos azúcares

". . .You're kidding, right?? Dad, you used to be the biggest coffee junkie in the galaxy!!"

This was the reply from my daughter during a recent phone
call when, for some reason, I mentioned to her that I was off coffee drinking.

She was right of course, I'd started mainlining caffeine really early in my Design career when I was, for a time, operating an offset printing press eight hours a day. (it's what pressmen do) Then came the corporate Art Director syndrome and a coffee maker in every office and then my ad agency adventure with long hours and never enough sleep. Living life in Paradise, stress is less but the habit was formed and the coffee just kept on coming.

Then, a while back, Doc Covington said my blood pressure was up and wrote me a script for a bottle of pink pills. I tried them for a while but they came with strange side effects and so I invoked my "do it with diet" rule and, in concert with a few other changes, coffee was a thing of the past.

". . .God Dad, it was weird enough when you quite eatin' meat and bread! Now you don't even drink coffee? You're gettin' strange in your old age. Don't you ever get a jones on?"
"Yeah, not a lot, but sometimes", I told her.
"Well, what do you do then?" she asked.
My answer? "I cheat."

It's true, I'm as good as I can be, about 98% of the time, but perfect, not so much. To be perfect, I'd have to deny myself stuff. (yeah, that might happen) Besides, being perfect is fascist and I've got no interest in being a Nazi.

But even though I cheat, it's a compromise. When the Blue Moon rises and I'm bugging for a burger, I won't go to Wendy's, I'll get some ground round from Fausto's and home cook a meatball from my Aunt Lu's authentic German recipe, with cheese and a salad. (No fries. Those things'll kill 'ya.)

When the jones jives for java, it's a different story. If I have coffee in the house, I know I'll drink it. So, I outsource. My supplier of choice is "5 Brothers" bodega. They (all 5 of them) are walking distance from the house (even just barely awake), friendly folks, inexpensive but really good con leché and, every couple of weeks, a cultural small step out of my normal day-to-day.

Where else would I get 10 minutes of Miami morning news, find out who, in the neighborhood, just had an operation or a baby, got a divorce or hit by a Conch Train. Or who Judge Miller threw in jail the day before, what Old Town streets would be closed to traffic that day and which son-of-a-bitch cheated on his good woman the night before; all in Spanish that I mostly understand but, probably speak with a Brooklyn accent. (sometimes I get some really puzzled looks)

Now that I'm thinkin' about it, I suppose my java jones has less to do with the con leché and more to do with being a more involved member of the community.

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