Today I am sharing a coffee with a good friend. I look forward to it. We always find things to talk about, there is serious conversation, silly asides and observations about people we both know, each of us looking to the other for confirmation that we are accurately reading the other. We listen to one another and will not always agree with each other’s observations. We disagree gently but firmly and then move on. I like all of this. My friend has an excellent sense of humour and is marvellously humble. His example bring out the best in me.
We are an odd couple of sorts, he is very quiet and artistic, even emotional and I am loud, a performer and shove all my emotions into a “locked box”. Still we love people, we love to analyze and we both like to stretch our brains and laugh. What could be a better coffee conversation partnership?
There is a wonderful little program one can watch on the internet called Comedians in Cars Having Coffee hosted by none other than Jerry Seinfeld where Jerry and a fellow funny person go to a café near where the guest lives and talk. At the beginning Jerry shows you the vintage car he is picking up his friend in and why he has chosen that model car for this particular friend. I am not a car person but I do appreciate the explanation. I sometimes wonderful what model of car I would use to pick up a friend on our way to coffee. I think if a friend was picking me up s/he would likely choose the famous New Brunswick car from the 1970’s, the Bricklin. It’s loud, somewhat unique, obsolete, impractical and very open in its design. It also moved fast.
I also love the way the show makes your mouth water with the way the coffee is prepared. After watching an episode or two I want to start brewing my own java. But it’s the conversation that makes having a coffee with a friend worthwhile. There is almost a liturgy to the way the conversation develops, initial greeting, how each other is feeling, what we have been doing lately, what the next few months look like. The conversations I like best are devoid of bragging or covering up missteps or pretending all is well. Likewise I do tire of conversations that are all about aches or pains or hurts or blaming everyone else for our state of affairs. The person I am having coffee with today lives with illness that is beyond comprehension and rarely talks of it. In fact I need to keep at him to reveal his real thoughts and feelings about it.
Summer time in particular is a great opportunity to call an old friend and go out for a coffee. Halifax-Dartmouth is now littered with amazing coffee shops, there is literally one near anyone in this municipality. My favorite coffee is found at the Trident on the southside of downtown Halifax, my favorite atmosphere at Two If By Sea and my favorite overall experience at the Bike and Bean in Tantallon. If you have never been to any of these I highly recommend you call a friend this summer and check them out.
I think the thing I most love about coffee with a friend is how much we learn about the world, ourselves and humanity from each other and how much fun and stimulation comes from a simple and open conversation. Of course good coffee helps too!