Coffee Monk

February 28, 2008

Sub zero, sunglasses donned. Cafe, 2pm. New York State Of Mind on the speakers. Order my black & tip the barrista well (I don’t normally tip for a simple pour). Scan the place for a seat. One comfy chair in the corner. Drop my jacket and notebook: round table for two minus one, leather-backed chair. Cream and sugar down the hatch, everything good and right. I spot an unusual in the far corner. A monk in flowing orange robes. Cueball skull, olive skin, no rings, two super large dead soldiers in front of him. I watch him for a minute or two. He’s beautiful and graceful. He’s writing longhand, scribbling page after page, scarcely looking up. I break open my notebook. It’s almost done – few day’s worth of pages at best. I get lost in my own scribblings and enjoy the buzz of sweetened black. I see the monk turn over another page. And another. Time goes by and his pencil goes down. He gets up with a becoming grace…looks downright holy in this place. Walks up to the counter, orders another big one: Double latte. Moves to the side of the till and strikes a patient pose. Slight smirk on his face. What is a monk doing here? I ask myself. a good a place as any, I guess. A moment later he grabs his black, gives it a quick stir, sits back down. Yellow pencil with red eraser churning the air. He cranks out 2 more pages with a focused restraint I can’t help but admire. He appears steadfast in his scribbling, but he packs it in soon thereafter. Gathers his papers and his leather bag, heads out into the sub-zero E-Town crunch, long orange robes flowing behind him. Billy Joel still on the sound system. I also write with a pencil. This 2B lead is too soft. At the end of my cafe sit I am unimpressed with my half page of near-truths and ducked honesty.

Vignette #252

Red and yellow blur image, taken January 2007

Red and yellow blur image, taken January 2007

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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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