Coffee Cat

Portland, Oregon

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Coffee Cat

what a simple yet evocative name. if a comma were added it could serve as a list of the essential components of civilised existence. we made a long trek to coffee cat from the hawthorne district, strolling through neighbourhoods until the heat grew unbearable. then when it became clear that it would be another 2 miles we collapsed in a bus shelter to wait for the trimet bus. the bus arrived. i climbed up the steps and felt freezing air blow across my soaking skin. i nearly fainted. why were we voyaging through this heat into the suburban hinterlands of portland to drink coffee? because coffee cat was a cool low-lit little corner, with a cat astride an armchair often squinting to awakedness to sniff your chai and lick the air; worn rugs over wood floors lay haphazardly, sometimes overlapping one another and coffered wood ceilings set low were illuminated by sconce torchieres. there was no heat outside, in fact there was no outside, this was a sanctum, a library of leatheroleum bound volumes, an arabian tent lavished with pillows, catacombs seen through the thick smoke of a swinging censer, and of course, a large adult cat, preferably half-asleep… thats why.

… but, the bus stopped at an intersection on woodstock diagonally across from coffee cat. i was jerked out my reverie by the heat cascading into the opened door and by the full height glass strip mall frontage wherein lay coffee cat. o’ what is in a name. it bespeaks not checked black&white ice cream shop vct floors, not rooms-to-go armchairs in storefront windows, not pop radio, not a patio on which a transient has apparently been drinking soda after soda for several hours, not a colour scheme of whites, pale blues, and other pales, and certainly not a sterile and hard space where a soft, sleepy cat could find no purchase. there was, in fact, no cat to be found. we had seen more cats walking through the neighbourhoods and would see more cozy atmosphere whilst sitting in front of the clinton waiting to watch night of the living dead and seeing dusk fall upon lit upstairs apartments. perhaps if the place had been named ‘cafe au lait’ or ‘coffee corner’ or ‘well-lit space’ the disjunction and deceit would not have clouded my perception of the cool drinks we purchased and the time we spent there. if it had been called those things though, i would not have traveled 1 hour to get there.


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Coffee Cat

4103 SE Woodstock Boulevard
Portland, Oregon 97202



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CAFE TABLEAUX
is a compendium of literary, anecdotal musings on coffeeshop and cafe culture.
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