Friday night found me in the place where all bored, good college students go: Barnes and Noble. We go to Barnes and Noble not to get away from school life (because there are way too many other students that are there), or to actually shop (because what college student has more than $5 to spend?) but perhaps to assure ourselves that there are still books that don't have anything to do with school. Maybe it's to refresh our memory of the outside world and the things we don't have time to do anymore, except read about them in books we can't afford. Regardless, being able to buy tolerably good coffee at the same time definitely helps. I'm not sure if that makes me an intellectual, a dork, a goody-goody, or just someone with no life, but at 10 p.m. I found a book by Billy Collins and curled up in a faux mahogany chair in the corner with my tall americano. The Starbucks cup in my hand reminded me of a conversation I had had a week ago that night with someone who described themselves as a coffee connoisseur. I told him that where I come from, Starbucks is like McDonalds: something you go only when you're in a hurry and don't care about the taste necessarily, but rather the substance. We had engaged in a rather animated discussion about espresso as we drank our weak restaurant drip coffee, and I left with a craving for Cafe Vita espresso.
But my Starbucks americano last night was tolerable, and I sipped it semi-contentedly as I flipped through 'Sailing Alone Around The Room'. It was one of those evenings that I didn't want to read anything new, just remind myself of the familiar places, feelings, and pages that I knew. I read the poem about mornings, and 'buzzing around the house on espresso' that makes me long for a little Cape House with hardwood floors, thick handmade quilts, and cello sonatas. I then flipped to 'Japan', in which you contentedly read along until you get to the last verse and sudden intimacy and passion startle you. I kept going, reading the familiar poems that slid into my thoughts like a glove. It definitely wasn't my coffee shop at home, and it wasn't Cafe Vita espresso, but it was Billy Collins, and that made up for the rest of it.