My favorite breakfast spot has a new location. They took their vibe, their egg dishes and French presses and moved a couple of blocks away.
The spot they replaced, their fancy restaurant, always had a slightly fussy vibe. Like a guy whose tie was a little too tight, it had the spirit of trying to be fancy but a felt little uncomfortable.
The location is a little more out of the way, but it maintains the feeling of the old place: intimately familiar, but it’s also a little more grown up.
Every change grows us in small ways.
It works in the way a stream’s steady rhythm cleaves and polishes rock, smoothing out the rough edges and taking away the impurities.
In the process, when there are the small changes, Le Petit Morte as they say, it may not look like anything. Slowly you step down a path—unaware, perhaps, there is any path at all. (That is the most dangerous, as you are not mindful of your step.) It is easy to continue in that way.
Unlike a rock, you have the agency to change that path; to extend the metaphor, you can angle yourself in the path of the stream to change in the ways that are best for you. And in that maneuvering, you can make the acquaintance of that more refined, polished person you are underneath.
“I am busy—trying to become the person I am.” — Philosopher Lena Dunham
I now step more carefully than I had before, but confident in the direction I am headed. And if you ever wish to meet with me for breakfast, I have a great place in mind.
New York Magazine is on fire with this issue (a good friend is in the OK Cupid story). I have been catching up on Here’s The Thing and it’s great (with a few caveats; please ask). He’s a personality whom I’ll miss.
A few years ago, a photo made the rounds. It was taken from the back, its subject unaware. He was a fat guy wearing a jeans-jacket, and on the back he had stenciled the name of his heavy metal band. It was a sloppy and amateurish job. The photo earned a lot of mocking comments in my circle, including from me. Ha ha, look at the fat guy with the rock-and-roll pretensions. Look at him. Looooook.
And then someone said, “I think he’s awesome. He’s found something he loves, and he thinks it’s great enough to share with the world. This guy is a hero.”
And… Oh, my God. That’s right. That’s exactly right. Who was I to judge, much less judge publicly? Maybe his music was terrible, but so what? It wasn’t for me. It was for him, and his friends, and his fans. Nobody was seeking my opinion, because it would be ill-informed and emotional, because those are the only opinions I could possibly have.
I was just pumping poison into the atmosphere, to feel good about myself, for another hit of self-righteousness. I was what was wrong, because I vomited out disapproval — could only vomit out disapproval — without intent or willingness to even attempt to understand.
There are new people in the office—and at least one of them seems to be confused about the etiquette for the office coffee machine. The coffee at the office is critical when you need it—but it’s not really supposed to be a luxury.1 Nobody expects perfection. But…
The reason nobody else will touch this is that it’s actually not universally agreed upon.
You’re assuming that you’re in an office full of people who like good coffee and care what it tastes like. The reality is that most people are in an office with shitty coffee drinkers. They don’t care (or even notice?) that the bottom half-inch of coffee has been burn-warming for 3 hours before they get to it, and they think you’re an asshole if you leave an empty pot at 11 AM.
The only right solution is to abolish the office coffee pot. Those things get grimy in no time at all. (I am the dead-eyed freak who makes a cup or carafe by hand at 3, almost daily.)
At 4:30, there are giant urns of what’s supposed to resemble coffee, but that’s when I switch to tea.
“If there’s one thing that’s surprised me these past few months, it’s how often people struggle to admit they’re unhappy with something unless that thing is objectively, undeniably terrible. Sometimes, things are perfectly fine and you still don’t want them. “
Hits so hard! For the entire year I researched my decision to quit my job (I was also a VERY early hire at a start-up which is now enjoying success), I felt like I owed it to … somebody … to have this horror story about why I left (maybe because it’s so scary that there just MUST be a bigger horror than “I cannot sustain this for the next 40 years” — That particular horror sounds really selfish and, god forbid, you know?). But ultimately leaving just boiled down to, I either get real with myself and call an audible or I stay because it just feels safe.