Cup-a-Joe

San Francisco, California

tableaux'd by:

it was not the time to be roving the streets of some distant city. sometimes the distance from home helps you feel alienated enough to make assumptions about who you are, who you want to be, how you want to be seen. this is not the case in a motel room, one as tiny as if it were in an upstairs veronese pensione, with one window looking into a ventilation courtyard and a bathroom that you step up into. this is not the case surrounded by associates in intermittent pockets of the city. perhaps over a boule taken in the embarcadero plaza, or poking through the metreon, one can begin to see how others are seeing you, come to terms with how everyone has been seeing you your whole life, and figure out how right they are. there are places in cities where you are so acutely aware of your contribution to the social fabric, even when you are silent and grave. the coffeehouse is one of these places. you fill the role of the silent and grave member of society no matter how accurate that is or how separate you strive to be. i tried sitting at a table on the street, i tried sitting at a table in the window, i used the restroom and drank my beverage and through no fault of the quotidian corner shop i was in flight. i wanted to lounge comfortably in cup-a-joe and address myself to the city, be that quotidian coffeeshop patron, disappear into the city as i talk about doing so much. instead i ran across the city from coffeeshop to park to coffeeshop slugging down soy lattes and loaves of bread, keeping myself in flight, and exhausting myself until the time i could go home.

no one was looking, but the idea that i had to construct myself as a human being before the city could consume me was too much. so i wouldnt let it find me, not in cup-a-joe, not in union square, because i was already gone again. i was so unsure of who i was in that city that i couldnt bear to let its inhabitants see me turning translucent, a walking diuretic with a fistful of batard.


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Cup-a-Joe

896 Sutter Street
San Francisco, California 94109



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