October 12, 2011


I get my cappuccino at the local coffee shop, owned by a lovely old lesbian, the stout and motherly kind, and her partner, a more ethereal Alice B. Toklas type, who likes my cologne. "You smell nice!"  When the shop changed hands and I first started going there, I was on the cusp of my paleo regime. I said that I didn't see soup and salad on the menu... was it available? “We can make whatever you want, sweetheart,” she said. “We’re not one of those corporate places where you have to eat what they want you to eat.” She had me at "sweetheart.”

The first time I ordered a cappuccino, she asked me if I was sure I didn’t want a latte. Seems people often order a cappuccino when what they really want is a latte. I said I was sure. She quizzed me: “What do you call a cappuccino?” OK, I was game:

“It’s an espresso, of course, with a head of foamy steamed milk on top instead of mixed through the coffee. A bitter kiss wrapped in a creamy hug.”

“You know your cappuccino,” she said, satisfied. “Sometimes I’ll make a cappuccino, and when it’s lighter than a fortune cookie, people get upset. Think they’ve been cheated.”

“Like your heart on judgment day,” I said, “it’s supposed to weigh less than a feather.”

Now when she sees me she asks if I want my “regular.” I’d be reluctant to order a latte even if I wanted one. Your regular, once earned, is not lightly waived.