I mean, of course I didn‘t actually take a picture of her. Got this online yo
She sits alone in a corner booth, as natural light peeks through the blinds. I don’t know how long she has been there, or how long she will stay, but I know that she looks comfortable. The table that is meant for four supports her computer, a notebook, a pencil, and multiple sheets of paper that she has spread out. There’s a neglected sandwich and diluted cup of who knows what drink sitting off to the side. The way that she listens intently to her headphones that are plugged into the computer and takes notes diligently seems to indicate that she’s probably in college. Her hair is dark and curly, yet all I see is her profile. People like her go to coffee shops alone because they don’t need to be with people 24/7. People like her either are introverted and work best individually or really just need to put their mind to the paper and study-udy-udy. Whatever the case was, I feel that this girl was truly working hard on that Monday afternoon.
The coffee shop though, was more local than global. There’s only a few of its kind, all through that area. People in Pittsburgh will never taste its coffee. The shop’s got that rustic, neighborhood bread and bakery, homey sort of feel. The sandwiches are freshly made, the regulars are actually real-life regulars, and someone decorated the place so that it’s a one-of-a-kind. Who hangs out here? People who’ve been here every week for the past few years of their life. They come, buy something, and then settle down in a corner with a book or computer, the way that everyone seems to do in a Starbucks or Caribou. Somehow, though, this place is different. Where are the cake pops? The calorie counting menus? Nonsense; none of that here. Whether their coffee is somehow better than worse than the chains’, I will never know. You will never know, as it is a question largely indeterminable, yet often arbitrarily decided by the “experts.” What it may lack in flavor, this quaint little shop makes up in originality and character.
But what about the coffee itself? Where does it come from? You only know what comes in the paper cup. You only taste what is left after the beans have been ground and diluted with water, tainted with cream and sugar. Is it still the same bean that was growing on the tree in Colombia? As it lives, it exists in so many forms. The bean is harvested, packaged, shipped across the world, ground, brewed, and the remains are thrown away. But are the leftover grounds really “remains”? What if what we consume is the unwanted, the residual of something magical? What if the cure to cancer is in those little dregs? In the present day, they speed up the composting process, providing nutrients to soil that will eventually be used to grow more coffee plants. The simple bean reflects a continuous cycle.