the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes
One Thanksgiving, many moons ago, my roommates and I walked to Sightglass in search of morning lattes and were rewarded with a sip of wine. The place was practically a shell at that time with one lonely barista volunteering to make grumpy morning cooks their daily cup. He was jovial, friendly. That was when there was a tiny cart in the garage that’s now decorated with bikes on bike racks. The same bench is still there, which I appreciate, because it reminds me of the times we would come and sit next to the friendly baristas in our unusually personal exchanges. That’s rare in this city.
The old location has changed a lot since I first moved to the neighborhood. I hardly go anymore because the faces are different and the lattes never seem quite the same… I think I am a drinker of old habits.
When I heard of the new location on 20th street, I was eager to see the place, because I knew it would elicit some of that new Sightglass sentiment I had when I first moved to the city. I was lucky because on the particular day of my visit, I saw familiar faces behind the counter and it made me feel a bit nostalgic for my present neighborhood in a different time. The latte was a perfect pour and I sat with my camera, thinking about all of the photos I never took of the original location in SOMA and that one time when I got free wine with my latte.
Sightglass isn’t the only place where I happened upon wine while seeking coffee. On one of my first mornings in Paris, my roommate and I wandered around aimlessly in search of liquid sustenance. We landed at a bar about the size of an American bathroom. It was at the juncture of five tiny cobbled streets, hardly big enough for modern motor vehicles. We sat ourselves down for coffee, but we also had wine. The bartender insisted.
Of course, the coffee there and everywhere else in Paris at the time was pretty forgettable. I just remember the madeleines. They came in small plastic wrappers and looked every bit the pastries of miniature people. In retrospect, I wished we sipped more wine, made more talks, spent some more time on those chairs looking at the other Parisians looking at us. I think I felt nervous about the taste of those French words on my tongue so I sat, but quietly.
When I’m in a new city, it’s often easy to keep moving, keep searching for new things to experience, but now, I think I like to feel the same spaces, and feel myself changing with those spaces. Sometimes that takes years, but my years here in San Francisco feels vaporous, foggish – I can barely recall one year from the next. I think I am just yearning for a week or two in a different town…