Morning: You stand at the bar to drink it when you are rushed. If time and money allow, you stroll to Il Cibreo, order, have a pastry, devour the International Herald Tribune and relish the addiction. Or maybe get your fix at Sant’ Ambrogio market under the guise of getting fruit. I think the morning is the best; it is acceptable and expected to have it with milk. Cappuccino — there is not enough time left here for me to get my fill.
Night: You pop into a bar and have a shot of it with a pack of sugar. Or you get it after dinner, appetite satisfied only when it arrives before the check. Maybe you need to finish a discussion about politics or philosophy, you go to someone’s house and have a glass — talking for hours — seeing the sunrise. Espresso — the life and death of energy.
I enjoy coffee in America (especially when Shelby makes me a cup). But here it is more of a love affair. The ritual is not a private one, it is a national one. Joking this morning about the Italians and their love of strikes, I asked why the coffee shop owners never went on strike. Eyebrows were raised. No, that couldn’t happen. A bloodbath would occur. I don’t doubt it. I’d join the angry mob for a good cup of cappuccino.
So when you see me in line at a coffee shop in the states with sulky glare and pouting lip — take pity on me. Feel the void of my lost love and the absence of my community. Better yet, join me in a revolution demanding stronger brew and smaller glasses. Or best of all, sit and have a chat to lessen my lament.