St. Kilda 3.14.19
I fought hard to get into St. Kilda coffee on W. 44th. I was coming from the Upper East Side, which meant I had to cross the heart of Times Square to get to the Hell’s Kitchen hole in the wall. A moment of silence for all the tourists I elbowed.
St. Kilda looks absolutely how it should. Imagine if Rag & Bone were a café. No detail was spared, down to the barista having bleached eyebrows and bangs from east Berlin. As she gave me my coffee, she said “cheers” to me. Twice! That’s two times. No one in this story is British. I’m mystified.
Lilli and I circled around the paradox of loneliness in New York City, both overtly and ‘vertly. There is probably nothing I could say about being lonely in the city that has not already been said by the many great writers that precede me. However, Joan Didion did not have a Facebook. The isolation of NYC is quite baffling when it is so easy to communicate these days. Yet here were us two, friends, and the fact that we were able to meet for coffee felt like nothing short of a miracle.
We had a hard out at 6:30pm. I had to jump up to Lincoln center to pick up my laptop from a frolleague (friend/colleague, I want to make it happen!) and then jump down to Union Square and pick up wine from the Trader Joe’s Wine Store. The irony is not lost on me that, in contrast to resting on the convenience of friendship in the city, I will still go out of my way to get a $7 bottle of good merlot.
My journey to my coffee date with the marvelous Ellington Berg began a bit frantically. I received a text from him at 4:59 saying, "Here!" and I immediately began thinking how I'd told him I was free at 5, but forgotten to mention that was the exact time I'd be free from work. This is not uncommon for me because I tend to give information with little detail, which is why I know teaching would not be a strong career choice for me.
To add to my stress of being late, work ran over 20 minutes all because I am too eager to please a well respected and accomplished professional in my career. When we finished out business, I quickly gathered my things and ran for the stairs. As I walked at a brisk pace to reach Ellington, I gave my mom a call to tell her about the exciting class I had just witnessed. Fortunately, the street lights were on my side, so I was able to get to St. Kilda in record time.
As I walked down the steps to the basement coffee shop, I immediately began looking for Ellington through my watery, windblown eyes. He quickly stood up from a little, round table sandwiched between the window bar seating and another small table with two women and gave me a wave. I ended the phone call with my mom and apologized immediately for being late while giving him a big hug.
We began a much needed friendly chat about life with my very hot tea and his half drunk coffee. Creativity was the big topic of the day, which is hard to find in New York City unless you create it yourself. Lucky for me, Ellington is one of the most creative people I know.
Spending time with a very honest and supportive friend like Ellington can make anyone's day better. I left our wonderful date feeling motivated and stress free. I am very excited for our next coffee adventure.