Sunday, May 11, 2008

Downtown coffee snobbing

April 21st

Downtown coffee snobbing

It was Monday, and Anthony had the interview downtown. With his new haircut he shined-up like a new penny and was certainly dressed to impress. As he got out of the car, he blended well with the other suited young professionals on their way to work - a huge change from the unshaven grimy companion from the Nullarbor. I caught a ride with him and his dad, squeezing my long frame into the small back of his BMW. I was heading back to the Di Croco to buy some gifts for my family. I figured I could do that while Anthony made his first impression to his potential employer. Heather was happy to see me again; I think she thought I might be coming back for the 650$AUD belly skin dress belt, and I no doubt disappointed her with my smaller purchases of leather clad pen, change purse and credit card wallet for my Father, Mother and Brother respectively.

Anthony’s father was quite keen to hear how his son faired and had us meet him at his local coffee shop below his office. It had an upscale counterculture feel to it. In the same breath incongruent and completely at home with the well-dressed businessmen who clearly favored its brew. Mr. Emmett treated us to a few cups of coffee as Anthony related how he thought he faired. I had two cappuccinos and looked happily at them as they were set down in front of me. The coffee and foam were mixed in such a way to create a remarkably smooth image of a heart with dark sprinkles of chocolate on top. In the cities at least, this was pretty typical of any coffee shop I went to. Coffee here is in the Italian tradition where it ceases to be a vehicle of caffeine and becomes a work of art. I am a firm believer that presentation makes food taste better, and thus really savored what I knew to be some of the last physically attractive cappuccinos I would have in a while. Even in Seattle, despite the heavy volume of coffee consumed per capita I have come across far too few baristas that really take the time to create a consumable work of art.
I listened to Anthony relate his story while silently lamenting my lot as a coffee snob and was pleased to hear that our three-week trip on the Nullarbor had made his resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Until Australia, I had never heard this term. It is clearly Latin and translates to the course of life. This sounds much more interesting than resume, and I added my lack of Latin knowledge to things I was lamenting about.

After giving his dad a report, (it was clear Mr. Emmett was very proud of him) we caught the bus back to Middle Harbor. I headed down to the Fish Camp to finish up my packing. That night was my last night out, and it was hard not to have high expectations. However, the reality was that it was a Monday night and despite the bustle of the restaurant that Anthony, Dave and I went to, the city was pretty dead. We headed to the Scubar, the local backpackers haunt. Even its small size (greatly enhanced by a wall-wide mirror) could not hide the fact that it was at about half its capacity. Despite this, the slimjim bouncer made us wait outside. Dave, in typical Aussie fashion, started taking the piss out of him, citing heavily the real lack of action around the place. Our bouncer gave us a nasty look and commented that "everyone’s a joker." I reserved a comment that if he were this grumpy on a dead Monday night that he might circulate his CV elsewhere to find a job that would complement his sensitive humors. If two nights ago stepped it up a notch, then this one stepped it down - no girls of particular note, or particular antics worth writing. The fact is that if you go out with too much of an expectation to find a good time, you are inevitably disappointed. Better plan to take that good time with you, thus where ever you end up, it ends up being a ball. It was good to spend the time with Anthony and great to spend one last night in the relaxing atmosphere of the Fish Camp, with all doors and windows open, and the Sydney breeze blowing over me.

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