Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Coffee in a Bowl and Other Little Details

On Sunday, seated in a cozy booth by the window in a creperie in Quebec City, I was served a toothsome concoction of coffee, hot chocolate, whipped cream, and cinnamon in a white porcelain bowl. "I've never seen anyone drink coffee from a bowl before," said Ickie, as I sipped my Viennese coffee with a euphoric grin. "Yes, you have," I responded airily. "In The Bourne Identity, when they hide out at Marie's ex-boyfriend's country house, in the morning I am pretty sure you see the ex drinking coffee from a bowl."

Nevermind there is a brooding, bespectacled Clive Owen in a nearby field with his rifle trained on them, these are the kinds of details on which I fixate, only to reveal them unwittingly at a later time and embarrass myself in polite company.

I once had an argument that spanned several weeks with a close high school friend about which dress she wore to our eighth grade Christmas cotillion. Why was I interested in this? In the same vein, I'm still obsessed with a comment Angela from The Office made on the show two weeks ago when she deduced that Dwight had euthanized her cat, Sprinkles:

"Then why were there claw marks on ALL my bags of frozen french fries?"

There was a distinct emphasis on the all that suggests Angela has hundreds of bags of frozen french fries in her freezer. Why does she have so many frozen french fries? Why? For some reason this question keeps creeping back into my consciousness. I find it intriguingly ridiculous.

With that in mind, there is another reason a coffee-in-bowl reference lept to my mind. Ever since various decorative catalogs began featuring these footed bowls in delicate eggshell shades, I have been romanced by the image of drinking milky coffee out of a bowl early in the a.m. like a simple French peasant. This is the type of aesthetic that so adds to my enjoyment of things (be it food, books, church, etc.)--the inclusion of an object which carries with it a narrative scene in which I can imagine myself--this heightens my emotion. My coffee is comparatively humdrum in a regular mug or [shudder] a styrofoam cup. I can't imagine myself anywhere exciting with a styrofoam cup.

Quebec City was packed with charming details this weekend. It's thrilling to think we live just a half-day's drive from a medievally walled French town.

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