Mornings are never easy. I awake from a strange dream or a nightmare, with a full bladder, which becomes the first order of business naturally, and then after that I have to decide what to do, not just reach for my phone, which is the easiest thing to do because with the phone I can be reactive, I don't have to be proactive. It is more difficult to choose one thing to do, the thing that feels most important, but nothing feels particularly right in the morning, and my heart is beating quickly, either from the dream or from the startling passage between the unconscious and conscious. I am thrust into this world, absurdly it seems.
Before I am in the elevator, I am already thinking about what coffee drink I want, or if I want a coffee drink at all, but I am afraid I will fall asleep at the wheel if I don't have coffee, and I am afraid I will become a coffee addict if I do have coffee, and I am afraid that spending $3 a day on coffee makes me a careless steward of money, but in the end I go get coffee, which I suppose by now I could call a ritual, or a routine, but it feels more like a compulsion, a crutch, what's the difference anyway. A quick cup, they call it, which is the pre-brewed coffee, not the coffee they weigh by the bean and grind and then stand over a clear glass cone pouring a stream of hot-but-not-too-hot-water intermittently for a slow cup of what is supposedly superb coffee. I never order the supposedly superb coffee because by the time the coffee is done dripping, it is only a little warmer than lukewarm, which is not the temperature I like my coffee, and anyway, I don't like coffee as much as I do espresso, but this morning I am having a quick cup.
I see the baristas everyday and know them by face, a few by name, but there is this strange exchange at coffee shops you frequent, where, even after you've gone in ten times and all the baristas' faces have become familiar to you, you are still only vaguely familiar to them, like an extra in a television show, or something. This coffee shop exchange typifies my encounters with most people I have met only once because I have a freakishly acute memory for names and faces: I remember them, the context in which we met, most likely their first and last name and other attributes, and they greet me with a generic smile on their face, "Hi, nice to meet you, I'm ________." I used to pretend I didn't remember them, and would introduce myself again. Now I don't do that anymore, unless I'm feeling merciful.