Ninth Street Espresso. 9th Street Between Avenue C and D.
Worked myself into having a medium cup of coffee; black- no sugar, no cream, nothing. perfect the way it is.
The crowds over at the Starbucks by NYU would be flipping their shit over it- if it doesn’t have three tablespoons of caramel or peppermint salted bullshit coated on the top of it it wouldn’t be coffee to them- it’d be nature’s piss seeped through some burnt-ass bean that was absurdly granulated to the consistency of divinity.
Decor’s simple but I’m sure a hell of a lotta thought went into it- always does. Floor to ceiling windows overlooks the 9th Street garden and ongoing traffic of middle school students rocking better fashion than Kids Gap ever cared to promote- paint on their levis and boots, strutting hips and carting character. A couple a power outlets creates a sense of community, as self-employed students and bloggers donate their extra power strips- ‘you never know when it comes to coffee shops’- like it’s a trek through the goddamn Amazon- damned because of the mosquitos, though I’ve never been to know. There’s a community table in the middle with glass bottles of simple syrup and simple milk, a pastry bin with artisan bread that reeks of Color-Me-Mine and Panera. Amber Lighting. Cement flooring that was probably chipped away at on purpose. Maybe the outlets were busted on purpose too.
It’s raining. There’s a willow outside that drapes enough just over the canopy of barbed wire that’s sedating the ivy and petunia from overgrowing into the streets.
I just got a job today. I’ve been courting two dollar bills inside my wallet for three days- used to be five dollars but still, the two remain. I’ve been trying to land a job for quite some time ever since I decided to spend the Summer in the City and start building up my savings account and load up the metaphorical shotgun for senior year- lock and loading constant revisions and drafts of plays, aiming to blast them away at festivals promising to reinvent your life all in all with an included pair of chinos.
Finally, I’ll be working as a gardener for a local art gallery. Trimming and pruning and tending to baby weeds.
Figured at that point, once I knew it’d be settled and I’d be reporting for plant duty early next week, I’d celebrate by spending my last two dollars at Ninth Street Espresso. I could’ve gotten the large coffee for two dollars flat- but figured maybe it’be kinda nice to bow down to the medium and get twenty-five cents back in change- the idea of that being revolutionary.
I suppose I think about money a lot. I’m a playwright and I own all that comes with it, except for the fact that I grew up thinking it’d bring me profit. Even worse, now, I’m realizing those dearest to me who aspire to be playwrights as well don’t even measure their success in how much money they’d be making right after school.
I think it’s bullshit. I also know I’m terrified.
Or maybe I’m jealous that they’re able to understand the world- if anything- more clearly and more realistically, even though to me the idea of success through art and not profit comes off a little more romantic than it does practical; we need money for art but then again with money what the hell are you gonna invest in anyways(?)- a couple a tickets and maybe some decorum for the apartment- fuck it, they’re intertwined. Profit (Money) and Art owns each other. Cyclical. Suppose it comes down to which one you think owns the other a little more. 60/40, 70/30, 20/80, 3/97. Maybe it’s the aftershock of either that really matters. Maybe not. All I know is I wish I could’ve afforded the larger cup of coffee for two dollars and still have looked forward to getting a couple dollars 0f change back.
Lucky for me, I’ve been able to find a job that’s part-time, allowing me to write the rest of the time I’m away, or work an unpaid internship reading the same material I’m so desperately trying to give to them. And I won’t get out of it.
You know it’s like I said- all I’ve ever known has been the assumption that there’s a great financial profit with being a playwright, especially right after attending a four-year private university. I’ve been sucked up into believing that if I stepped out now, I’d be even more fucked than I am right now at this moment. If I step out now, I wouldn’t even be able to afford the small; and in spite of me believing and failing at being a remarkable little fuckable boy wonder fresh out of the wadding pool- I’d refuse to get the dark roast at the bodega down the block, just because I’d want myself to know- that I should’ve been able to afford the one seventy-five, and it was my mistake for ever thinking I didn’t have to work harder than I was.