Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Usual?

There are at least three places of coffee-related cachet you patronize where you are apt to be greeted with the question, "The usual?"

This likelihood suggests your regular patronage and the formulaic nature of your tastes, which is the medium (two shots of espresso) nonfat latte.

There is another place you visit where, after preliminary greetings which may go on for some moments, you sit in the chair you customarily occupy.  The person serving you feels no need to ask you, "The usual?" nor for you to suggest it, although you both know what "it" is.  You have been receiving "the usual" here for about twenty years.  Both you and she know what is to be done with such hair as you have topsides, and how to manage the cowlick whimsicality sprouting from the sides with the persistence of volunteer flowers finding homes in cement sidewalks.

These ventures, into which behavior would seem to indicate in you a person of scrupulous devotion to habit and routine.


You are no such person.

True enough, every Sunday morning this year, promptly at seven, when the doors to Gelson's Market in the Loretto Plaza open, you arrive to purchase the Sunday edition of The New York Times,whereupon the assistant manager nods at you, and says, "I could set my watch."


Said nevertheless is nevertheless'd in open recognition of the fact that you walk the fifty or so yards from Gelson's Market to Renaud's Patisserie, wherein you partake of what is almost without exception your Sunday morning breakfast, filling in as many blanks of the crossword puzzle as possible before the arrival of one or more individuals who customarily arrive at about the same time as you, and with whom you engage in social banter about books, short stories, politics, and the incredible blonde who sits at the window table.

For some considerable time, you have vetoed the notion that composing a poem, paragraph, or dramatic situation in your head is the equivalent of actual writing, instead producing at least five thousand words of material a week.  Not content with those results, you have, since the onset of the present century, written something every day except for the six weeks immediately following the surgery to remove the malignant tumor residing and branching out within you.

And yet.

You dare say it.

You are not a creature of habit.

TRUE!  compulsive, very, very dreadfully compulsive I had been and am, but why will you say I am a creature of habit.  Ah, much in the manner of Poe's narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart," you argue your marriage to Whim, perhaps even winking at a premarital fling with Caprice.

You are, in fact, pleased with yourself for having somehow acquired the discipline to practice, the willingness to set off on a course that could and sometimes does result in a creaking, lurching, noisy failure.  There is scant room to catalogue and sort the props and pleasures you are afforded by such process; there are so many rewards that you are overwhelmed by thinking of how you should begin describing the entirety of it, and so you content yourself with the smug recognition:  It is what it is.

And you are who you are, borne about on the winds of chance, a hound dog sniffing into the wind.

And you let it go at that.

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