Sunday, May 23, 2010

coffee

On days like today I am surrounded by people, all wanting to talk to me, most needing my help for something. On Sunday at the beginning of the service people ask me "How are you? How's your family? I hear you're going to _______".

The questions are very inoffensive, intended for quick, rather than soul-searching answers. Three minutes at the most.... I am not designed this way. I always think my friends really want to know my answer, my wordy, transparent, heartfelt answer.

I am a person who loves to be seen into, being known. Sundays are not the best day to learn about me. Here, there is an invitation if that's in play, it's called "having a coffee", and it's done to get to know someone.

When you first meet someone, if you are interested in knowing them better, the next step in getting to know them is "Would you like to go have a coffee?" This is an invitation to sit down, get details on someone and decide whether they are a friend, a good acquaintance or someone God has brought into your life.

Coffees are big here.

The places you go for coffe are not places like Starbucks. The closest we have here is called Mugg and Bean (they even have a "bottomless" coffee!) or other small coffee houses where the java is less advanced and lasts a lot longer. Even among coffee officianados it is not customary to drink more than one or two cups in a sitting.

To someone who started drinking coffee at five (cafe con leche, is what my mom called it) I think coffee drinking is a good accompaniment to socializing. In the movie "Good Will Hunting", Will (Matt Damon) tells Schuyler (Minnie Driver) when she suggests going out for coffee "Why don't we just go somewhere and chew caramels." joking about the random attachment of the consumption of one item in getting to know a person.

I don't agree with Will. After all, coffee drinking (or tea, if you prefer) is the backbone to all socializing that is done in "catching up, getting to know, or drawing up a contract with someone. Coffee keeps me alert, but not always talking. It makes me energized but not weighed down. And simply... it makes me coo over the poetry of hot water being filtered through dried, roasted legumes.

It makes me happy that we have chosen it as a centerpiece of communication. It could be worse.

It could be tea.