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Cafe Culture Italian Style

06/18/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Community, Social Networks, Coffee

I've been working too much. That is a statement of fact, though Sarah at Phoenix may think otherwise. So I have been very intentional to give myself ME time that does NOT include computers, wifi, civic stuff, PR writing, web coding....any of that even though it I enjoy most of it as an activity in itself. But all those things have consequences, obligations, and expectations, and I need some good ol' ME time no strings attached. and no alcohol or late nights that require some recovery time. Recovery time is not ME time.

That leaves coffee (without hawking it) and poetry. So I put on my outback hat, shades, light loose fitting shirt and cotton pantaloons; pick up my poetry bag of my scribblings and a book; and stroll out to Civilizations Coffeeshop by Lincoln Park in Tremont. After getting an iced mocha, I pull out my pad and start writing.

As I indulge my fantasy of being at Parisian cafe, doing the expat bohemian artist thing (midlife crises are great for the imagination), a very stately, European looking gentlemen politely asked with an Italian accent if he may sit at the mini-table next to me. He was holding a demi-tasse, and I was intrigued about his opinion of an espresso from Civ with their not exactly primetime machine as well as having at around 5:30 in the afternoon.

He is a regular at Civ and lunches there each day. He very much likes the espresso from there (Of course, Dessire is barista and she is one of the best.) We introduce each other and his name is Louie, tho I suspected it is really Luigi. He is from just outside Rome, recently divorced, and the last time he was in Italy, he was in Rafallo, Amalfi, and Capri. The same places that the ex-wife and I visited.

With this confluence of commonground, we chatted very happily about Italy, food, coffee, and how much we love Tremont.

To this, he said that one of the reasons he like Civ as a cafe, is that it has the feel of being on the piazza, where you can see anybody and everybody in town, or in our case the 'hood. This was bucked up by a near continual wave of hellos he and I had with people we knew walking by.

Louie added also that in Italy, if you sit down at a table on the piazza, you never order only one drink. You order two. Or if you are there with a friend, you order a third. The extra is for a friend to join you. It is a tacit invitation. It may be someone you know and happened by or the future new friend that you struck up a conversation with. Like Louie.


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