Monday, December 03, 2007

Lactic And Other

Why is it that seemly no one working behind a coffee bar truly understands what "just the tiniest drip of milk" means? I learned quickly that a simple "yes" just doesn't work for someone who believes a coffee is best enjoyed one fractional shade away from black: barely enough milk to cut the flavor of straight coffee, yet not enough to actually taste milky. "Just a little" doesn't work either, end result there being that milk now constitutes a quarter of my cup of coffee. For the last 10 years or so, the idea of kicking back a lonesome glass of milk has grown more and more disgusting. There's something unnatural about that clingy, gargly flavor coating one's mouth and throat after taking a drink, minerals and goodness be damned. This is probably why all adult versions of us previous to homo sapiens v1.x were naturally lactose intolerant. Then the opportunity to upgrade to v1.x came along (Less back hair! Lose the stoop! Drink milk forever!) and the speculative dairy industry offered to subsidize a full quarter of the upgrade costs for any individual wishing to carry through. Obviously, this was largely a success except for a handful of stubborn and skeptical folks who thought that just about everyone else was full of shit, as evinced by their lactose-intolerant descendants roaming the earth today.

I've come to the point of asking for it in a number of extremely specific manners: "the most infinitesimally small drop," "a hair away from black," "just for the slightest color," "as if it were arsenic," etc. All these work much better than "just a bit," but I still find myself too often in that situation of watching in frustration as the barista dumps a full half cup of the stuff in my drink. If I'm feeling especially plucky, I may say something and they'll begrudgingly dump out half the cup and fill it with coffee. Usually, like today, I just suck it up and fester.

Yesterday morning marked the first substantial snowfall of this season. I completely missed the actual act of snow falling, but enjoyed the evidence for a little while before the rain had it's way with it. I'm happy to be back here in New York, even though Lisbon was a wonderful, warm (and cheap) place to hang out for a while, and at some moments more than others, I really miss their coffee. Two months is a long time to be gone from anywhere, but the change vector is decidedly more sloped here in Brooklyn than most places on this planet except for all those cities in southeast Asia, so a fresh list of new stuff to marvel at presents itself upon each return. That contributes to the Lost-In-Translation-ish feeling that one can have even upon returning to their own neighborhood, as after traveling around even in someplace as comparatively similar as Western Europe can render the goings-on at home strange or even dumb. I've had a number of such realization-moments, staring quizzically at something, wondering how it got to be normal. Surely the remnants of jet-lag or the days spent home alone have contributed at certain points in the last couple weeks, but not entirely. If I can come up with some specific (and compelling) examples, I'll post them here.

So you want stories, eh? And probably pictures too. Yes, there are many of each from Lisbon and beyond. I have a good 20 pages or so of writing in my notebook from those days when I was separated from my laptop, which I shall dutifully post and perhaps backdate, in which case it may behoove you to scroll down every once in a while to see what's popped up in the last couple days, or just rely on The Feed. There are certainly a few Flickr sets to be posted, which I'll be working on regularly. I've got nothing but time on my hands for the present moment!

But what does one do with only time on their hands? I can get old pretty damn quickly, especially when one isn't a naturally-born hermit. That being said, it's all about mindset and moderation, and after a couple months of hotel rooms, a full day alone in an actual apartment can be quite necessary. I have so many books to read, things to build, instruments to practice, and tasks to complete which would otherwise require the hiring of an intern: sort, clean, sleeve, and categorize all records; select, edit, and post all interesting pictures from the last, uhh, few months; etc. No lack of things to do, and the winter months are good ones to do them, especially with good lighting, functional radiators, and enough records to play continually for months without repetition. Add an occasional dinner guest and it all sounds pretty good.

Now, though, time for a jaunt into Manhattan. Gotta see a man about a horse. Check back soon, maybe even tonight...


Anonymous "smokey" ;-) said...

Welcome home, d. If you write it, I'll read it...

6:07 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Don't Fight It. Switch to whitenener (non-dairy creamer, ne? I'll bet that's addressed heavily in the Omnivore'd Dilemma). I subscribe to the religion of Maximum Whitener all day every day.

11:56 AM  

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