Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

the turkish coffee story

she’s in the peace corps now, but she drives people up the wall.
she is an uncompromising individual in how one must live one’s life. for instance, she thinks that if you put steak sauce on your steak, you’re a plebian and an idiot. she does not allow for any compromise in the way one lives life. morality is non-negotiable, and spills across every aspect of human experience.
have you ever heard of turkish coffee? it’s supposed to be the best coffee out there – she says it is, anyway. i don’t really know. anyway, she makes me order it. i take a sip, and it tastes like coffee to me. i mean, it tasted just like regular coffee. she flipped out. she took it from me, and sipped it and assured me it was the best coffee in the world because it was turkish coffee. she accused me of having no palette, no taste. she went on and on about it, drinking the turkish coffee i didn’t appreciate that she had made me order, going on and on about how good it was.
afterwards, she decides to get another just for herself. she signals the waiter, and he comes over. she asks him for another “delicious, turkish coffee”.
the waiter gets this confused look on his face. “what?” he says, “you wanted turkish coffee? i thought you just wanted regular coffee!”
she works for the peace corps, now.
though she does get on people’s nerves, her heart is always in the right place and her morals are basically good. her commitment to the proper way of life will probably cool among the refugees and legless children and the child soldiers and the families falling into the awful virus like a whole continent slowly drifting off to sleep.
Or, the experience will further polarize her. She will return from the awful nightmares and the communities that are barely held together, and the rooms of children that dream of being lawyers or actors in a place where a farm is too much to hope for. She will return from this place, and find herself in the lap of luxury again, and become committed to doing the luxury correctly. If so little of it exists in this world, everyone must acquire the most luxury as possible by doing things correctly.
alas, and regardless of her path, i doubt she understands the greatest luxury of all among the proper ways of life: the luxury to dismiss the lifestyles of others. in the peace corps, she will encounter people with no choice to dismiss the way of things. in the first world, especially in the west, one can make so many choices, like steak sauce or regular coffee or nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all.

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