The Daily Walk
Every day, stepping out of my house and crossing the road, I pass a coffee shop. It purports to sell Swedish delicacies, Swedish roasts, and anything else the very American-Brooklyn clientele might want for a quick pick-me-up.
Caffeine and Sucrose peddlers.
At the intersection, once I am confident that I will not be run over crossing the road, I am racked by an everyday decision.
Should I buy a steaming cup of coffee?
It is a minor dilemma and you will be right if you think I am obsessing over trivialities in typical fashion. My expression and gait do not change – (I am told they seldom do anyway) – and the whole decision-making process lasts no more than a couple of seconds.
This, in short, is what I am thinking when traversing the three or so meters of the cafe’s storefront.
Three Meters of Revolutionary Ideas, Romantic Musings, and, Scientific Pursuits
You see, I am weighing the decision of spending 4 USD on coffee when I could be buying books.
Right across the street, a few minutes of dodging aggressive moms with prams and mellow dog-walkers is a second-hand book shop. They sell books that cost the same as a coffee. Every time I buy coffee, I could have picked up a book instead. I might not be able to consume books at the pace at which I consume coffee, but then coffee never changed me as an individual or affected me profoundly.
Before and after coffee, apart from a slight perkiness, I doubt I am changed much. But a great read (some of the books I picked for practically nothing were 1984 by Orwell, 100 Years of Solitude, and War and Peace) makes me question what kind of daze I was in before reading those masterpieces. Phenomenal guides that shape not just my life, but probably anyone having to live, interact, or account, for me in their lives.
If I tried explaining this to someone I would not fault them their doubts about my paranoia trip. It is not as if I have to change myself or read books. I just cannot look at a great book without conjuring up images of a treasure chest, just like how I cannot, but for an instance, look at homeless war veterans and think of contract killers.
How can I debate the thrill of a predictable cup of coffee to the treasures of listening to master storytellers, thinkers, and revolutionaries, laying down their thoughts?
This is an everyday occurrence. But for the few seconds of peering into the coffee shop, there is no indication as to this chain of thoughts that runs through my mind briefly before some other such trivial choice distracts me.