I’d been up all…


I’d been up all night, and I stumbled off the plane so bleary I could hardly walk. There, shimmering like a mirage at the end of the jetway, in the midst of what on my last visit had been a wasteland of Pizza Huts and Burger Kings, stood a newly opened Starbucks. I know, I know. Heartless corporate giant. Monster of coast-to-coast uniformity. Killer of mom-and-pop cafes. But that’s not what I thought at the moment. I thought : I’m going to order a grande latte with whole milk. I’m going to pour in two packets of Sugar in the Raw, and stir really well so there are so undissolved crystals at the bottom. I’m going to sit down and drink it slowly. Then I’m going to drive to the hospital. As I walked toward the counter, I said to myself: I can do this.

Anne Fadiman, “Coffee”, from At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays

Recently I’ve been somewhat busy applying for PhD programmes. I feel like I’m neglecting my blog somewhat, but I will return, and soon. Working in cafés in and around Tokyo, this passage keeps running through my head. Fadiman is a brilliant writer, and this essay is possibly my favourite one in the whole collection. Here we go.