Old leather couches are placed at various angles around the room. Stained purple chairs that look as if they were confiscated from the uniform décor of Holiday Inns across the country are placed around mismatched tables lining the windows.
Pages from old copies of the San Francisco Chronicle are folded up and stuffed under table legs to prevent table wobbling and spilled coffee.
A chalkboard menu hangs high above the counter and sports selections such as Ambrosia: Coffee of God; Anesthesia to the Upside; and Dancing Water.
My usual selection is either the Philz Mocha Tesora or the Tantalizing Turkish.
Outside, hipsters in beanies and tight jeans scan their iPhones while dragging slowly and deliberately on hand-rolled cigarettes.
This. This is San Francisco.
Where locals sit in front of their MacBooks typing with one hand while sipping specialty coffees with the other. Clad in a style that belong to San Francisco and San Francisco alone, this flannel shirt, nubby sweater, political t-shirt, Converse wearing group of bleeding liberal misfits are united by their love for the eclectic eccentricity that defines this foggy, coastal city.
Sitting at the front window, I clutch my coffee to my chest and relish the feeling of being home after a year spent away. Behind me a group of hipsters bash Glenn Beck’s latest musings and across the street a Mexican bakery is displaying pan dulce and polvorones de canele.
Staring up at the ceiling, wispy clouds are painted against a backdrop of blue and the columns supporting the building have been transformed into trees; their painted canopies bleeding into the mural of the sky.
The bathroom walls of this coffee shop are covered with the scrawling messages of the Sharpie-carrying inspired. Some time ago, I fell under that category and was bemused to find my message to the world still spelled out in uneven letters on the green wall.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” –Thoreau.
One cup of San Franciscan coffee at a time.