Athena Wonders Aloud

I’m back at Pizziaolo.  As much as I relish discovering a new café that rocks my myopic little world, of course there is a modest back draft of consequence for branching out and trying something new:  the challenge of discovering which drink to order.   In this day in age, one woman’s latte is another woman’s cappuccino.  Every café has a different take on this matter of extreme importance (at least to this privileged American chick with too much life on her hands).  I am very picky when it comes to the ratio of milk to coffee.  Too much and it tastes like a glutinous bathtub full of sweet cow juice, which I find slightly disgusting.  Too little and A) it doesn’t last long enough and B) the drink tastes too bitter for a refined lady such as myself.  And navigating these waters is tenuous because I don’t want to be too annoyingly high maintenance and cause the barista to roll his or her eyes and dissociate every time I come to the café.  No barista bridge burning for Athena.  One of the main reasons that I like to write in cafes is so that I can have my crucial, whopping two minutes of social interaction before I dive into the solitary world that exists in my mind and in the alphabet garlands I string along for your viewing pleasure.

Is it pleasurable for you to read these words?  Sometimes I trip out on how we humans get off on sniffing about in the lives and minds of our fellow homo sapiens.  I just read this book by Huraki Murakami called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  And I still don’t understand why I dug it so much.  It was a memoir-ish book by a Japanese author, exploring his thoughts about his relationship to long distance running and writing.  His voice was very frank and unadorned.  Reminiscent of overcooked turkey.  No, that doesn’t sound appetizing enough… maybe like a sandwich with no mayonnaise or mustard… But the other stuff in the sandwich is compelling enough to make you keep coming back for more.  I can’t say what else is in your sandwich, of course.  It totally depends on your taste.  But what ever ingredients you dig on, you have to chew this mystery sandwich with extra zeal and commitment to make it moist.  And then it is entirely worth your while.  But listen, I totally dug the book, because I am such a curious human being, and I yearn to understand in the utmost fullness what’s up with this whole human trip.  I was spellbound, reading about his long, arduous runs, his day in and day out devotion to the craft of writing.  And enough other people give a shit apparently, because it is a published book available in the Oakland public library.  My writing on the other hand… hmmmm… it is possible that it is a goop fest with mayonnaise and other miscellaneous condiments splooging out the sides with every bite.  Very frivolous condiments at that… cranberry sauce, wasabi mayonnaise, Sierra Nevada Ale mustard, sun dried tomato tapenade… Shrug.  What can I say, I am a condiment whore.

I have something very exciting to tell you now!!!  You know that “Italian looking man”, whom I exchanged a cold, awkward glance with yesterday?  Well, he’s here again, sitting at the table right next to me.  He just got here, and I noticed that he was stirring a new born cappuccino.  So I leaned over and asked him how the ratio of milk to coffee was.  I realize this is a very subjective topic… but I thought maybe he’d let me behold the color of the drink, once he sipped it down beneath the sensuous shroud of thick foam.  I didn’t come right out and ask that of this handsome stranger, though.  I had to build trust first, get him to nibble out of the palm of my hand and THEN go in for the wildly intimate kill; ask him to sneak a peak at the liquid in his cup.

The first thing he said when I asked him if the cappuccino was good was… that he is from ITALY!  I was right!  And he said it, of course, in a very sexy accent.  He told me that all American cappuccinos taste burnt to him, compared to the sweet, delicate Italian versions.  It’s true.  I have experienced them and they are delicious… but they never get me high enough.  Italian cappuccinos are pussy cappuccinos, you have to drink like four of them to every one American cappuccino.  No offense to pussies.  Pussies are awesome… they just don put hair on your chest.  Figurative hair, duh.  That’s the ONLY kind of hair I invite on my chest.  Anyway, as he was telling me about his relationship to cappuccinos, I was busy falling in love with him, imagining him barbarically throwing me over his shoulder and carrying me back to his impressively rustic, romantic villa in the Italian countryside where he has an olive orchard from which he makes his own olive oil, raises chickens and harvests the freshest eggs and has a mama goat and her fluffy little baby, whom he is so bonded with, he allows them to prance about the house, making cloven hoofed music on the hard wood, and considers them intimate members of his family.  Okay, I didn’t really think it through THAT far… but I was loving the intrinsic sizzle that it is to share very innocent shavings of conversation with a [moderately] hot Italian man.  (Even if he’s just moderately hot, his Italianness automatically grants him the bonus points required to go from mere smoke to fire.  I know, men, it doesn’t seem fair… but what can I say?  Maybe you’ll be Italian in your next life.  But Italian men IN Italy are a different story.  Too doggishly aggressive.  They have to be foreigners.)  (He just sneezed.  I blessed him!)

Another thing that rules about today is that there is a little group speaking in sign language here at Pizzaiolo!  Seeing sign language “spoken” always gets me hot.  It’s so expressive, mystifying, captivating.  I always feel tempted to stare… but I restrict myself to a few brief moments of staring, because of the seventeenth commandment, “thou shalt not get all up in other people’s shit, especially if you don’t know them”.  Mostly, getting all up in other people’s shit is my favorite thing to do… Reading books about their thoughts on running, gazing into their cappuccinos as though they were prophetic wishing wells… speaking of which, I forgot to tell you that my Italian boyfriend DID let me gaze upon his drink.  But there was too much foam on top, and I wanted to see the actual liquid, so I could judge it by color.  I like mine to be smooth caramel.  He hastily spooned some foam off into his mouth for me so I could see below it!  And LO!  His cup was a modest caramel ocean.  At least it was oceanic from the vantage point of someone the size of a human sperm…

Why is it so thrilling for me to spend my days discussing such nonsense?  I don’t know, but it is.  When I am writing, it is a brief respite from the worries and fears and worldly concerns that so naturally flood in to my idle mind.  Is the world as ridiculous and fascinating and tripp-a-delic to you?  I wonder.  And then I wonder some more.  This morning I felt sad.  Lonely.  Lost.  But I knew that as soon as I sat down to spin my aliveness into golden, linguistic relics I would feel priceless, sweet relief.  And I do.  And for that, I give thanks.

I thought I was done with this entry.  I was proof reading it when some hub-bub stirred up at the table on the other side of my Italian man.  A very old man suddenly uh… went on a magical mystery tour of sorts, meaning he checked out of this world for a minute and the young man he was with panicked and made a spontaneous, emergency phone call.  My Italian stood up and put his hands on the old man.  (What a good Samaritan)  I suddenly felt like throwing up as I confronted my own mortality.  Then the old man “came back”.  Everyone in the general area is still trembling with the aftermath of a threat of a visit from the angel of death.  Wow.  Life is so life-like… And I am afraid to die, after all.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rosy Moon
    May 12, 2010 @ 22:58:44

    Thanks, yes, I enjoy your writing, I enjoy the sizzling of the various whorish condiments that you splash and smear all over your blog.
    It’s kind of cute to wonder why you’d do such a thing, but if I were to offer some unsolicited, fresh plucked advice, I’d have to say just let us enjoy your passionate, curious, wildly flavorful window on “reality”.
    That would work well for me: “Life is so life-like…And I am afraid to die, after all.” – Athena Grace 5/12/10 Beautiful.


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