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The Edge

Good Morning Joe

Bob Mace

One recent Sunday morning The Edge sorties for errands and some of that people watching. Observation relieves the amalgamation of boredom and road rage resulting from traffic light synchronization simpatico only with the jerky movements of the soccer vans with pilots more intent on cosmetics and texting than on navigation. The Edge experiences each and every red light that morning.

As the journey progressed fitfully, the oddity of coffee habits began to dawn. By way of prelude, in the Edge’s youthful years people didn’t much go out for coffee. Moreover, one didn’t need to speak pidgin-Italian to communicate preferences for a morning cup. No Cappa-Frappa-Expresso-Macchiato-Chino with apricots, a cinnamon stick and marinara sauce. Mocha was a color used by tailors who arrogantly referred to their craft (building dresses) as haute couture.

In the days when an unapologetic America led the world in all things, coffee was served black, with cream and/or sugar. Those were the innocent days of Chase & Sanborn, Maxwell House and Folgers. Ordering any of those blends would set one back perhaps a dime as opposed to the more modern norm of a fourdollar extravagance paper cup with corrugated sleeve to keep one’s hands from discomfort.

In our neighborhood, the Page’s house was a gathering spot. Phil and Dee Page had four children, a bird dog and a shiny percolator that ran most all the time. Denominated, “The Coffee Pot,” the percolator was, to anyone’s memory seldom full and seldom empty. Going out for coffee in those days often meant waking across the street, going through the only void in an always trimmed hedge and entering the back door leading to the coffee pot and the kitchen that surrounded it.

Most recently it’s spendthrift-crazy-demeaning to pay a couple of hundred bucks for a Keurigosity that brews one cup at a time from little dollar a shot foil pans that look for all the world like jelly tubs in a greasy spoon eatery.

It’s perplexing to see otherwise sane fellow citizens of this nation reduced to Soviet-style standing (or driving) in lines to get the most basic of consumed commodities. One wants to yell from the window, “We are predominate in the world, we don’t wait in line behind a dozen of comrades to pay black market prices for bean-flavored water.

That whole line thing reaches apex at one of those re-designed McDonald’s with the double lane thing. If one visits a supermarket on the day before Thanksgiving, it’s a busy place. People scurry about trying to find the Starbuck’s line or provisioning for the coming feast. Here’s the point: the grocery store doesn’t react to being crowded by opening a second meat department, they open more checkout lines because that’s where the bottleneck occurs.

Looking at the line of coffee seekers at this two-lane drive through it comes to mind that cards should be shuffled, not cars! Regardless of the number of ordering lanes, everybody merges back to a place where there’s one kid who splits time between taking orders, asking if we want fries with that coffee and tendering currency. Go figure how these McCafenistas could build a bigger facility that increases rather than decreases customer wait time.The coffee’s good, but it’s not that good.

The Edge returns home to use seven-dollar a pound hazelnut flavored beans from the freezer, grind them fresh and then brew them in a ridiculously expensive Mr. Coffee drip thing. A moment of Edge reflection brings reverie of long-missed simpler brews with the Page family across the street and “the coffee pot!”

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