Saturday, January 13, 2007

Coffee Talk - Uncommon Grounds

We just watched Coffee and Cigarettes, a film by Jim Jarmusch described in a one-liner at IMDB as "A series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common." It's kind of like a whole bunch of different versions of "My Dinner With Andre", and I think everyone who's ever had an awkward one-on-one meeting for coffee with someone -- might be a relative or friend you are alienated from, or someone you've just met, or a co-worker of your spouse.

It reminded me of something that several years ago. We drove from St. Louis to Columbia MO to see the Rolling Stones. It was a great show even though we never laid eyes on the band other than on the vid screens, and afterward we met up with Mr. B's co-worker, Mike, to have coffee at a little greasy spoon style diner near the campus. I'm always really uncomfortable with my spouse's co-workers, I'm not that mainstream in my interests or background and find it hard to find common ground with people generally, and I always seem to be older so that doesn't help.

Mr. B started bragging on the coffee that they served there. I was "unleaded" at the time so I didn't even try the stuff.
him: This is THE best cup of coffee I have EVER had in my ENTIRE life!
me: oh, really?
him: yes. I can't remember when I've ever had a better cup of coffee.
me: how about your Mom's coffee?
him: Nope. This is better. [...insert more dead serious endless raving on the merits of the coffee...]
me: hmmmm. I'm skeptical. I think the coffee that MY mother used to make would have been better.
him: Nope. Not possible. This is... hands down... THE best coffee I've ever had.
me: will you please drop it now?
him: [...sipping the coffee...] MMMMMMM, that is SOOO good.
me: [...beginning to steam...]

Then the conversation going nowhere turned to movies, and we got to talking with Mike about the movie "Natural Born Killers" (IMDB plot outline: Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.). It's a very creepy movie, that was not necessarily bad but creeped me out so that I never wanted to see it again. Mike started going on about how cool it was what the kids were doing -- just going from place to place -- killing at will -- wherever and whenever they felt like it -- and he seemed to think of it as a positive thing! Like he would like to do that too! Yeah!!! This is comparable to the times that "Easy Rider", when it first came out, was perceived by a lot of southern redneck viewers as having a happy ending! They stood up and cheered. Well, Mike had always managed to creep me out but this was the ultimate get me out of here before I piss this guy off or something.

It was a long drive back to St. Louis, where the discussion of the coffee in the diner returned in an infinite loop... as it still does to this day whenever we bring up the topic of coffee as every good cup still manages to get compared to that Columbia MO diner cup. It's funny now though, and I'm glad we are now far away from that particular co-worker. Unfortunately we are also many many miles away from the best cup of coffee on the planet.


Old Broad said...

The coffee thing wasn't so annoying to me as somebody thinking "Easy Rider" had a happy ending. You have got to be kidding. Right?

Blueberry said...

Not kidding on the Easy Rider. I read about that happening and it made me sick, but just goes to show how different cultures can see the same thing in opposite ways.