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Friday, January 06, 2012
My Transcendent Window: An Essay
In the morning, almost directly out of bed, I make my coffee. Sometimes I jolt out of bed thinking I've slept in too long, the tea kettle is full and whistling, like a locomotive arriving at a small town in Nebraska, yes, I have that obnoxious Alessi kettle.
If you don't have an Alessi fetish like I do, the kettle provides the hot water maker with two tones of boiling alarms similar to that of 1860 freight engines. If you don't get there in time it drowns out the sirens, buses and banter from outside any busy urban intersection. I work as a bartender at nights, and have my days free to write. Hire me, and I'll write it, say it, sell it, blog it, and create it into whatever your needs may be--or not and let me dissolve into the masses like everyone else, holding my flag of "living the dream" high and planting it in my studio apartment rooftop compost bin.
My flag waves vigorously on the border between Western Addition and Nopa, blanching the neighborhood with tasteless fear. I've ground the coffee and rigged my primitive get up ready for the obnoxious boiling water to be poured flawlessly over the old school filter and holder system I have. Maybe its a lack of space in my "sunny" apartment, maybe its because I'm somewhat old fashioned or maybe its because I've bought at least 6 different coffee machines in my life and they all sucked and somehow I don't have one anymore. Nevertheless, its probably a combination of these factors that unite to produce my current cup of deliciously bold, italic and underlined coffee. This semi compulsive but not nearly obsessive and yet a bit simplistically intricate method of preparing coffee has become a current trend in San Francisco. But really, is brewing your cup of coffee one cup at a time really a trend? My dad used to make it this way in the middle of the Windrivers with a gas stove and a frying pan, battered and rationed grounds from the bottom of his 67 pound backpack 8 miles into the middle of the wilderness. However, this philosophy, in San Francisco, as far as trends are concerned, allegedly, started by Phil of Philz coffee. As a long time coffee fanatic, not surprisingly Philz one of the first places I went to when I moved to SF. Yes, 97% of the reason I moved to SF was because I was certain they had good coffee, and good coffee shops. This is not lie. After Philz I used to treck my way to Ritual in the mission, with their coffee mug and logo that seems to resemble the hammer a sickle, this revolutionary coffee was idyllic; from their short espressos that taste like a bowl of peeled citrus to their $5.25 quadruple mochas, tattooed baristas and foreign money on the wall. I should have wrote a coffee manifesto there, but I wasn't cool enough then, and now I work across the street and am probably even less cool. I might have been cool enough when I became unemployed and couldn't afford those mochas and "citrusy" espressos, but would scrounge up some BART money and find a corner to sit in and write, all day, and not search for work. I remember, during those unemployed times we all took part in circa 2007-2008, I treated myself to a Ritual mocha on my birthday/. I took it and sat in Dolores park, maybe it was a Monday, or a Tuesday, never-the-less the park wasn't saturated with the Sunday crowd, moreover, sprinkled with the "industry" crowd, and at this point in time there wasn't much industry because it was 2007 and we were all more or less unemployed. I sat on that grassy knoll and saw a man down the hill on the other side of the sidewalk, his inner light shining. I finished my coffee, took my shoes off to feel the earth and meditated. A phone call from my dad interrupted my transcendence, but because it was my birthday, I answered. He wished me happy birthday and I assured him the job search was going well--it wasn't. I was enjoying myself as a true vagabond, blossoming in some sort of new age spirituality that I was just starting to comprehend. I had just healed my broken foot with herbs, salts, meditation and healing touch and was certain spirituality could conquer capitalism, it didn't.
From my Transcendent Divisadero corner window, I have strategically placed an Ikea shelf on the window sill and watch the flawless camaraderie of neighborhood shopkeepers, distributors and enjoy this view of utmost "cititude" of the quaint urban atmosphere this humble abode has provided for me. In order to achieve this living space, I've developed a strong work ethic in an industry that coincides with my lifestyle very well. As a San Francisc
o barkeep, my job stretches two neighborhoods, I talk to over 300 people a week, concoct more than 400 cocktails, entertain diners, create libations, organize glassware, count money and provide change. "Change always comes from within," a poker player buddy (also a bartender) always told me. Change does come from within, sometimes, for me at least, within the cash register and sometimes, after a good cup of home brewed coffee one cup at a time, change can come from within your soul.