Cafe Verde

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Although I try my damnedest to creep the coffeeshops local to my home, it often ends up feeling like a sad chore that fits into the rote rolling through roads and places that disappear because I have seen them thousands of times, and I do not like to do that to special places like coffeeshops. Or perhaps I just like being in my house. I still drink coffee, but I do it on my terms and I can do it in a chair that I like to read in or in front of my machine or desk. On the road I have no choice. Moreover, the little voyages to find these new shops act as conducting bodies in a lengthier consumption of the locale. This is similar to my reflections on bookshops in my hometown, at which I rarely bat an eyelash unless I am parlaying a Corrin 7″ into a used Proust. The distant coffeeshop supports a romance beyond these utilitarian workaday conceits. Thus, I nestled two trips to Cafe Verde into a visit to Detroit.

Cafe Verde

I had come to Ann Arbor from Detroit for 3 reasons, to peep independent coffee shops, to buy books in a college town, and to visit my old friend Perry. I had been thwarted in my first 3 attacks on the city. My first stop, which I was very excited about, was a drive up coffeeshop on Washtenaw near the edge of town called Bear Claw. I have been interested in writing about a drive-up shop. It was not until I had pulled forward from getting my beverage that I saw the list of other locations which numbered in excess of 20. This disqualified the shop retroactively from my scrutiny. I then visited 2 bookshops, one of which only had new books and the other of which had moved, though it was not of interest to me anyhow upon finding it fortuitously next door to Cafe Verde.

Cafe Verde

Having ticked off the quality coffeeshop now on my list I was in a positive mood, the gloom outside notwithstanding. I found myself gregarious to a limited extent in Cafe Verde. I asked a single question on top of my order. I felt, thoroughly warmed by the co-op hippie openness of the shop, that I could be given some solid guidance for my quest for the decent bookshop. I was directed around some corners and down some blocks to Dawn Treader, and feared by the name a shop full of dreamcatchers and books about Shamanism. To my satisfaction I walked out with a stack of nothing of the sort, bought a baguette from a hardware store, and went off to visit my friend.

Cafe Verde

Distance, through time or space or both, has little impact on emotions, and can in fact exacerbate the little feelings or memories into fully formed epiphanies in hindsight. Visiting my old friend turned Ann Arbor into somewhere else, somewhere familiar. Revisiting Cafe Verde and the short stops I made, I find somewhere that has the character of a shop in my hometown. The faces and quality of light in my memory are more of Atlanta and my haunting environs than the places that actually are here because I encountered them in a free state of mind yet with a level of familiar comfort having some tether to the city that held me in at an emotional mooring more than a utilitarian.

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Cafe Verde

216 North Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

fair trade: available

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