One of the first things I ever learned in Spanish was how to order my coffee. “Café con leche, por favor.” I’d often have to repeat it since I’d say it so quietly the first time around and the r’s on my ‘por favor’ would get stuck in my throat as I tried to roll them out just right. (I figured that would be the least of my issues, rolling r’s. Except French r’s purr and Spanish ones roll and as much as you might not think there’s a difference, there is.)
Coffee reminds me of my dad. Permanent rings on his desk at school and him standing at the entrance as students filed in just before class started, mug in hand. How he orders it in the middle of summer while my sisters and I all tell him he’s crazy as we place our orders for iced caps in the Tim Horton’s drive thru and give him gift cards for Christmas, Father’s Day, his birthday. The funny thing is, I didn’t think of that until just now, how he and coffee fit so well together. I’m sure there’s a metaphor hidden in there.
I don’t think I could tell you when having coffee became an affair, a sit down and talk and be present affair. When, “Do you want to meet for coffee?” actually means, “Would you like to spend the afternoon in my presence and we can prattle on to each other?” The Swedish word fika comes to mind, something I became acquainted with over the summer and just feels like the right word to define what it’s turned into.
Every once in awhile, I do miss grab and go coffee, ordering and leaving and walking around. It’s not something people do in Europe, even with Starbucks on a fair share of street corners. People still order and sit down in cramped corners and talk while sipping out of to go cups. But I’ve also come to appreciate the being still of sitting down and ordering. The waiting and the talking and paying at the very end as you get up to go, the sun tilted slightly lower than when I first sat down.
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7 thoughts on “[about coffee]”
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I love everything about this post. I love it when coffee is sit for hours and laugh and talk. I love adorable cafes and places where locals still go. I love the idea of fika (OH MY GOD).
And DEAR LORD, Spanish “r”s are hard.
That’s almost the only way I know how to go for coffee anymore! It’s how my friends and I all arrange to meet and catch up. I also meet up with three Spanish people twice a week over coffee to speak English, so it’s just this very natural thing now. Fika was wonderful in Sweden! 🙂
I find that, if they’re in the middle of a word, they’re not so difficult, but like at the end of ‘por favor’, mine just kind of fall flat, especially since that’s normally at the end of a sentence and there’s nothing for them to roll into.
You should be meeting up with Spanish people to speak Spanish! ;b
I’m actually supposed to be meeting up with some Spanish people on Sunday. 🙂 I do have a few Spanish friends, but they’ve been a bit busy lately.
Also, by the way, coffee totally reminds me of my dad, too. Even to the point that when I was little and still had a bottle in the morning, he used to make me “coffee milk” (like, a drop of decaf in there, but they did start me early!)
That’s kind of adorable, actually. 🙂 And my dad will bring cups of coffee into the truck with him and watch us play baseball while eating Spitz. It’s a wonder I didn’t start on coffee earlier!