Random thoughts of the day

June 19, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Posted in running, Starbucks | 1 Comment
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I just took a library break (have I mentioned that it’s freezing in here? Oh yeah, I think I have) and went for a mid-day run.  I ran up Centre Street from the law school, and took a right and ran down Commonwealth, intending to run some hills on the marathon course.  After about a mile-and-a-half, I veered off onto some back roads and OH MY GOD — Newton has some of the most monstrous, yet gorgeous, houses I have ever seen.  Actually, it reminded me a bit of the north side of Summit.  In the 19th century, Summit actually was a “resort” town to which NYC-dwellers would escape in the summer, and many of the large homes on the hillly north side of town have wide, wrap-around porches, porte-cocheres, stone foundations, and gables.  The Newton houses were similar, although the lots themselves are a bit larger here.  I ran an extra mile longer than I had intended just because I was mesmerized by the homes.  My runs had been feeling a bit forced lately (maybe because usually I’m up at 5:30 and running on the river, the same route every day, Mass Ave. Bridge-to-Science Museum?), so I took yesterday off.  And after a long, cold morning of the Agency and Partnership lecture by a guy who thought he was Gilbert Godfrey, I was ready to get out in the sun, and it was wonderful and made me happy to be alive and healthy and studying for the bar and about to be a lawyer.  A little physical discomfort — just a little — can put things in perspective. 


Bowl of Soul at Java, oh how I miss you!

Random thought #2:  skinny people drink lots of caffeine.  When I lived in Sun Valley, Amy and I decided at one point we would go on a coffee diet.  Every time we felt hungry, we walked the short block from the newspaper’s offices up to Java on Fourth (this is before Ketchum got a Starbucks) and had a Bowl of Soul (lattes, really , but with unexplained extras like cinnamon and nutmeg and probably, knowing the people who worked there, a shot of something…).  This happened maybe three or four times a day.  But only for two days — after that, we felt sort of dizzy and sick and just went back to eating cheese.  But I’ve noticed that the skinniest people I know drink coffee and diet cokes all day long.  I had pretty much given up on coffee for a few years, sticking mostly to chai teas, until I had to stop drinking them (the sugar/carb factor, not the caffeine…) while I was pregnant.  Now they just taste a bit too sweet, so I have made the move towards lattes (I still can’t really stomach plain coffee).  And I’ve never been a soda fan.  But now I’m thinking: maybe caffeine really does take the edge off hunger?  I write this as I contemplate heading to the almost-bare cafeteria (their summer offerings are quite limited, it turns out) for a snack while a very skinny girl walks by me with a diet coke.  Perhaps I shall rethink my aversion to the chemicals and embrace the caffeine buzz:  drinking a diet coke is to me like when in college when you’d sneak out of the library and have a cigarette during the day — just the slightest of buzzes, but without the obvious ramifications of drinking alcohol during the day.

Speaking of cigarettes, my last random thought of the day:  this morning, leaving Starbucks early (7:15ish), Little Buggy and I paused at the outdoor table so I could sip my latte and she could “woof” at the birds.  A guy walked by with a cigarette, and the smell of the second-hand smoke, mixed with a faint smell of street cleaner and coffee, instantly brought me to hot summer mornings in Paris.  Every morning as I walked to my French classes, I’d stop to have a cafe creme and a baguette avec beurre at a cafe near the Odeon Metro.  The windows were open, the streets had that damp, musty medieval smell of stone streets in Europe, and cigarette smoke wafted about.  The only time I have ever loved the smell of second-hand cigarette smoke is in Paris…and no, it’s not because I love everything about Paris.  It just created a persistent sensory background, and if a rare American cigarette being smoked in the morning outside Starbucks can bring me back to that humid, wandering summer of 2001, when I watched Lance Armstrong ride down the Champs-Elysees to win his third Tour, was woken every morning by the atelier clandestine (i.e., sweatshop) across the courtyard of my sublet in the 11th, and even learned some French — before the world turned upside down in so many ways — I am appreciative of the Proustian moment.  (I’m almost tempted to take myself there, solo, for a long weekend after the bar.  What do you think, Tim?)


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  1. I’d love to know how many of your readers know what a “Proustian moment” is. I had to look it up.


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