Best Cup of Coffee

4 Aug

It was beautiful this morning.  Early sunrise, cool breeze and the sound of leaves dancing.  Not quite enough to get me out of bed for a run, but enough to make me thoroughly enjoy Hallie cuddling against my chest after her 6 am feeding and the both of us crawling back into bed with Amy for a little more sleep.  Heath stumbled in a few minutes later and as all four of us lay in the early morning light things seemed just about perfect.

The city has moods.  I notice this most on days when the mood is dark.  But today the city was serene, it’s people calm and polite, as if all New York had enjoyed a good night’s sleep.  And it probably had, the heat and humidity having broke with Saturday’s storms, leaving the days comfortable and the nights cool.  My dreams, lately a jumbled mass of high school reunions and old girlfriends, grew quiet, and last night I simply slept.  But, having a newborn in the house, I did not sleep enough.

And so I needed coffee, which I picked up from my favorite cart at the corner of Lexington & 52nd.  I don’t know her name, but I love the woman who runs this cart.  She has taken wonderful care of me these past few weeks as I stumble sleep deprived into the city for another day of temping. 

I discovered her one morning when the nearest Starbucks locked it’s outside door.  You see, I know it’s crazy, but I had actually made peace with popping the five dollars for a Venti Decaf Mocha with skim milk and no whipped cream.  In my defense, I had a rule.  No more than once a week, with exceptions for days when it’s raining (as it was on this particular morning).  But the street door I always used was locked.  I could see customers inside, but the door wouldn’t budge.  Then I saw the little sign.  For security reasons I was required to enter from inside the building.  Which meant going through security.  Metal detector, bag check, the whole nine yards.  Ten minutes before I’m supposed to be at work.  For the privilege of paying FIVE DOLLARS FOR A CUP OF COFFEE!  No. Absolutely not!  I stood out in the rain as people hurried past and I scanned the horizon for a coffee cart until BAM!  I saw one directly across Lexington.  I ran across the street and bought a cup of coffee for one dollar!  And it was goooooooood!  And the woman was nice!  We chatted, we laughed, we became, in a small way, friends.  For whatever reason, she was wearing a head scarf, and somehow that made it even better.  Completely restored my faith in humanity.

This morning the prices had gone up.  That medium coffee is now $1.25.  But despite its having been a couple weeks, my newfound coffee friend remembered that I like skim milk and two sugars.  I gave her two singles and she pushed one back. 

“Just give me a quarter next time.” 

“Are you sure?”, I asked.

“Yes, it’s so much easier.” 

And so it is. 

I walked up toward Park Avenue, smiling in the morning sun, breathing in the air of a happy, well rested city.



5 Responses to “Best Cup of Coffee”

  1. Shelli August 4, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

    I felt as though I was in NYC with you this am…read like a narrated script. lovely
    Thank you

  2. drunkdreamer8 August 6, 2008 at 2:20 am #

    just wanted to invite you to my blog (If I haven’t already- I have a new home)at if you needed some encouragment today.

  3. Tim Heath August 8, 2008 at 8:54 pm #


    You will never know how I have enjoyed reading your blogs.It took me until last week, sitting at theJax airport, waiting on a plane at 6 AM.probably reread everything ten times now!

    Your words do inspire me because they are so real and from the heart. I feel what you say Todd, don’t just read the words. The feeling of how you love your family, your life and even your city…I really admire you and respect the way you can express it.

    Keep it coming!

  4. Erma A August 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm #

    I love hearing about people. People do not surprise me. I believe in the good. You write so well. Hello to your family.

  5. Mom August 22, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Todd, I so enjoyed reading your blog and I told you so in an e-mail. I just want your friends (that I haven’t met) to know what a special son you are and always have been. God could not have given this special angel to two better people. Hallie, Heath and you will all be blessed. You have picked a perfect person to spend your life with (God works in wonderful ways) and I love Amy.

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