Reflections on the Coffee Buddha Part Two: Holistic Boogaloo

“The edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson

It’s written on a print in the room that I am in on the second level of the Coffee Buddha.  Dr. Thompson said it, but it’s not true.  I have been there, “The Edge,” outside of the Fulton Grand many years ago.  I slipped into another string of time and came back.  That was the edge.

You can get to the edge and stop. Going over the edge is a choice that you make, and just like all choices it has consequences.

It’s snowing and cold here on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day and I will be spending the next two days selling beer to the people.  They enjoy it I think.  Even if most have bad taste in it.  To each their own.  Without Miller Lite we would have nothing to compare good beer to.  Extremes are only extreme in comparison to the very middle.  Pittsburgh is the very middle.

Sometimes I try to sit and think about exactly where I was on this date each year passed and how different my life was.  Here we are in season 35 and I am a husband and a father.  I got to play in the basement with Bennett this morning and we dunked basketballs on his mini hoop and made toy cars go vroom.  Best of all he sat next to me with his head on my side as I read him stories.

Being a father is by far the greatest role I have ever played and all other roles I have played in life in the years passed have been preparation.

I sold wine to the people of Greenpoint for two and half years.  I was the guy on the corner of Norman and Newell who said hello and chatted with the neighbors.  Working at Greenpoint Wines was an important experience in my life.  For all the good memories I had there the most important lesson I learned is that customers are not friends.  I’ve never made that mistake again.

Those were good people and I enjoyed being part of their lives.  I enjoyed selling Craig Finn wine and chatting him up on Saturdays.  I always enjoyed visits from Homer Murray.  He was a good guy with a darker sense of humor than his father’s.

Craig was perhaps the one that made me rethink my stance on never befriending a customer again.  We went to his show at Brooklyn Bowl with Titus Andronicus and when I walked past his lady she stopped me shouting “it’s the wine guy!”  We chatted for a few and waited for beers as Craig played.  She was a genuine human being.

If I was a better person those would be the memories I took away from that place.  However, what I really remembered was constantly being looked down upon and treated poorly by my boss who had me  run her entire business for $10 an hour under the table.  I thought she was nice at first but she turned out to be an awful human being.  I don’t think it was a case where I was mistaken.  I think she was a good person at first and then something happened.  I am willing to bet a lot of it had to do with what a loser dickbag her husband was.  She changed, and she took her anger out on me.  She went out of her way to make me feel small and it was unnecessary.

So when I quit at the end of a shift on Saturday night I didn’t feel so bad.  I was left with a bad taste in my mouth about how it all went down though. I basically had to just cut ties with everyone I knew from there and it was awful.  I still had to live among them because I played in the Word Basketball league.  I had to change my routes.  I couldn’t get my coffee at the same places.  It shouldn’t have been that way, but it was in fact that way.

Everything was changing so quickly anyway.  It was a really strange time in my life.

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