“It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

A meat pie, Sriracha sauce, a diet Coke, a bike, and a concrete bridge

The sound of a bubble coming up through the ice in my Diet Coke sent me into a panic attack. I’m not sure why – I was tired, stressed out and daydreaming – it sounded so odd, unexpected and otherworldly that I was startled, confused and distraught. What was my subconscious lizard brain thinking? Was Cthulhu rising in miniature tentacled horror from an icy bath of artificial colors and sweetener? Was it guilt on spending almost two precious dollars on the unhealthy concoction? Or is it just a sad commentary on my pitiful useless life that a stray sphere of escaping carbon dioxide can throw me into such a tizzy.

Granted, it didn’t last long – I even took a cold, refreshing sip of the evil beverage (everything other than water, coffee, tea and maybe certain kind of rum – Ron Flor de Caña on ice – is an evil beverage) and my panic subsided somewhat. I was left with a vague unease and anonymous fear. What do they say about this? Did I feel as if someone “Walked over my grave” or “by the pricking of my thumbs” or simply a shiver up my spine.


“What’s a rainy day
without some delicious
coffee-flavoured loneliness?”
― Sanober Khan, Turquoise Silence

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

I had to drive down to our facility on Love Field at work today and deal with some paperwork. It went quickly and smoothly so on the way back to North Dallas I had time to stop at the Central Market at Greenville and Lover’s Lane.

I passed the vast rows of perfect exotic vegetables, past the long cold row of waiting fish, past the display of bright red beef, past the beer and wine and into the land of bulk food items – long vertical plexiglass chutes with a sliding gate at the bottom. These are filled with everything from nuts to grains. But I headed to the end of the winding displays – there there was coffee.

As a certified and certifiable coffee snob I’m not supposed to drink flavored coffee because the added artificial essence disguises the delicious perfection of the roasted beans. But I can’t help it. I like to have a selection. I like to open my tiny plastic tubs of beans and sniff them – choose the infusion of the day. I like the smell of flavored coffee in the whole bean, in the grinder, and in the cup.

So I picked up a bag, opened the valve on the Banana Nut flavored accumulation and let a little bit over a pound slide out. Off to the the side there are two banks of coffee grinders – one labeled “No Flavored Coffee” and the other “Flavored Coffee Only.” I ignore those – I like to grind my beans right before they go in the boiling water. I’m not sure if it really makes a difference, but I think it does.

I had to stand in line a long time clutching my tiny single bag – the Express Lane labeled “15 items or less” seemed chock full of folks with fourteen items each. But I eventually made it back to work and was able to re-fill my container with Banana Nut goodness.

My coffee ritual – bean selection, measurement, grinding, water heating, loading the aeropress, brewing, filtering, pressing, and finally drinking – that’s the high point of my day.

Aeropress, from Williams Sonoma