Red Eye

Athens, Georgia

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When I was a junior in college studying architecture I was less than enthused about the stature and promise of my studiomates, much less their personalities. On a Sunday morning I could be sure that they would be significantly less charming than usual with their khaki shorts reeking of some unidentifiable cocktail of Natural Light, Tanqueray, and Big K, and possibly not having picked the dried bits of puked-up Varsity off of their soccer sandals. I was supposed to meet my ‘team’ at ten that morning to work together on a shared chipboard site model for the studio. Had I realized before I got there that the time had changed that night, that I was an hour early, I would have just concocted the inevitable lie without dragging myself from Home Park. As it was I perfunctorily loitered for about ten minutes before heading back home to see what sort of debauchery Jeff was into for the day. Whether I have been more of a grown up since that day is arguable, but I never benefited from ignorance of DST’s mechanics again until this just past fall.

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In Athens for a gastronomic Grand Tour, we had already hit The Grill, 5&10, Big City Bread, Clocked, and The National, and were emptying out our legs for a Rabelaisian brunch at The Grit. We walked through the clear chill of the Samhain morning from our motel to The Grit. Nervousness and immediate hunger pains prickled when we found the place closed. A couple of other fools stood in front of the door with us until we all realized that we were out of step with the world and we decided to recalibrate for an hour in the new cafe that had filled the block husk of Go Coffee.

Go was a great light-filled diner of a shop that we used to spend mornings playing Scrabble in. Red Eye, we found, was significantly darker in pallor and was jamming NPR’s Sunday Morning throughout our stay. It became quickly apparent that Red Eye had something in common with my deceased bros at Method with their connoisseurship of beans and with their Chemex brewing vessels. I noted this to the somewhat disinterested proprietor and he mentioned that Octane, who had bought out Method, was going to be utilizing the same brewing process and would be opening soon. Now in April of the following year I haven’t had the courage to field verify his assertion. I also noted that I used to kick it in this space when it was Go; his disinterest resurfaced.

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It was quiet save for Bob Edwards on the squawk-box and the day with all of the rest of the folks in it loped toward us in the Sunday sun like a slow-motion mob advancing. The cork coaster protecting the glass coffee table kept sticking to my cup and falling in my lap. A man from the real day entered the shop hesitantly. He carried a fresh baguette that filled the whole room immediately with warmth and crusty aroma. A fresh baguette on a Sunday? I recalled another time when I was doing the unstuck. I arrived via treno in Venice on a Sunday morning and hurriedly took a camera at a joint right there in the Canneregio. I had probably been up since four or five because I couldn’t sleep in Florence for some reason that escapes me now. I was hungry and bewildered by the city I had been co-opting for years already and rushed out to find a loaf of bread. Most of the bakeries were closed and a few little bodegas brandished their empty cabinets sadly like I had been at the end of a particularly long Russian bread line. Roman Catholicism’s stranglehold on poor little Venice had reached my doorstep and I languished on the cobbles of a campo until the sun set. It was as odd to me that Sunday wouldn’t be the perfect day to bake oodles of fresh bread as it was that wine couldn’t be purchased in Georgia on Sundays; name two more popular miracles of Jesus than the feeding of the multitudes and wedding feast of Cana. This bastard in Red Eye was lucky, and the smell brought me chronosyncronous with him and the sun.

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Bound as we were back into the world, we headed out to destroy The Grit and stroll through ‘Bear Hollow Trail’ at Memorial Park to kick it with their crippled Bubo Virginianii.


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Red Eye

297 Prince Ave
Athens, Georgia 30601
http://www.redeyeathens.com/index.html


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