The Prophet Among Us

So I’m sitting in a coffee shop. One if those commercial ones. They aren’t paying me to advertise for them so I will not be plastering their brand name all over this post until they do. I haven’t say in a coffee shop for a long time. The last time I was sitting in one just to sit in one was last fall when all of my friends were struggling with the beginning of the semester and work and I was starting my stint as a professional beach bum/GRE studyer.

Its amazing how productive we feel in coffee shops sometimes. All I’m doing is sitting in a comfy chair, drinking coffee I had to pay almost $4 for and reading “Wathcmen”. How productive is that?

Watchmen: Before you judge my reading let me just say that this is actually reading material for WORK. That’s right. Curriculum development requires reading graphic novels and comic books these days. Well… When I’m the director anyways.

So here I am… Drinking coffee that I know is just going to make me need to pee and will inevitably bring on the lone-coffee-shop-patron dilemma (having a comfy seat and not wanting to leave your stuff to go to the bathroom). I look up and around at all the little peoples typing away on their computers or shuffling around a bunch of papers. Obviously there are other educators with their grading and then there are students with their papers and presentations. And in comes a family for afternoon tea and snacks… That one throws me off a little. Although, I suppose it shouldn’t because my mother would occasionally drag my brother and I into a coffee place of two and make us sit and do our work with our hot drinks while she worked.

I think there must be something about the atmosphere of other people that appear to be so busy that rubs off on us and gets us in the mood to be productive. So we read our comics with even more vigor. We’re analyzing the graphics, the play on words. It’s like we’re in school again and it’s almost soothing. To feel like we’re doing something with our lives. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why does it require some sort of setting like this to get our blood pumping, our brains working?

Whatever it is, this is the sort of place that does it and so it is done. The coffee and opening up neural pathways that haven’t experienced traffic this high in such a long time and it feels… magnificent. Suddenly I’m not just high on caffeine it’s like information overload! Oh my gosh! It’s Blake! It’s William Blake! No… not in person. That would mean I was high on something completely different. I mean in the book. “Watchmen” is just a reiteration of Blake’s “America a Prophecy”. Suddenly it all makes sense. We’re doomed.

America a Prophecy, by William Blake
If I haven’t mentioned it before I have a serious literary crush on William Blake. My iPad is even named after him (Billy) and has the following inscription: “I will not Reason and Compare: my Business is to Create”.

Perhaps the fact that there is a hurricane brewing off the eastern coast of America that has everyone in a bit of a frenzy that also lends to the statically charged environment (and the fact that I really have to pee!) but time speeds up (also the effects of the coffee) and I’m reading like crazy until it’s time to leave and go be productive by eating lunch. At this point I really wish I could get back into my office to start typing up all the incredible epiphanies I’ve just had so that I can release them on unsuspecting students next semester but it is never to be. The storm is getting worse and then they are giving it nonsensical names like Frankenstorm (doesn’t anyone actually read the source literature anymore?!). The university at which I work will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Sigh… The prophet is diverted from the cause once again. But I did get to bake! Since there was no school on Monday and that meant my brother didn’t have classes and my dad didn’t have to teach we all just stayed home, cooked, yelled, ate, yelled about cleaning up, cleaned up, had a party, watched a documentary about Sukiyabashi Jiro….

Click on the image for a link to the film website. Or go to the restaurant website here:

On the menu during the storm? Well my Mexican sister/friend/roommate made some lentils and chilies rellenos (she had to improvise since she hadn’t bought enough chilies to supply the party people at our house). And I made: A chocolate mousse (the one I have tried and like from: “The Great Disappointment (of 2012)”); sticky buns (from: “Rising to the Occasion: Oci on Bread Part I”); Triple Bypass Mac & Cheese (from: “Take THAT!”); and of course, my favorite brand of coffee.

Mayorga’s “Cafe Cubano” (Click the image to go to the website). They used to have a coffee shop near my school that I used to study at and occasionally some of my professors would take us there to have classes. All their cafes have closed but I still got the coffee!

Now if only I could bottle the real productivity of cooking on a day off, getting work done, the coffee shop atmosphere, and my brain…

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