|Photography by Mary Allison Tierney|
It started in the early 80’s, in high school. I was, from the very start, not a Mr. Coffee girl. Pouring hot water over the grounds, watching the paper cone fill, saturate, the boiling bubbling cauldron settle then sink as the brown elixir dripped into the glass. A science, a drug. This is way before you could stand in line and order a skinny double nonfat and swipe your card. A sincere coffee snob was born, complete with stomach cramps and grinding teeth.
San Francisco was the perfect environment to fuel my growing java snobbery. Visiting foggy frozen North Beach, a typical Arizona college student wearing shorts in July, I delighted in my first cappuccino at Mario’s Cigar Store. This was what adulthood feels like. Sitting at a little café table across from the vanilla cake spires of Saint Peter & Paul’s, sipping my cappuccino, my goose bump covered knees notwithstanding, watching the old (to me) Tai Chi faithful in Washington Square Park. I kept the New York Times on my lap for warmth. The smell of ink on newsprint, the baking foccacia, the squeak of the electric bus, bag laden Chinese women duck walking by my table. I sat until my cup was empty. I would have ordered a second if I’d had the money.Mary Allison has been published in The Sun magazine and the Marin Independent Journal and is looking forward with dread and gusto to starting her fourth NaNoWriMo novel in November. Mary Allison is a novice surfer, a diligent trail runner, and a 4-time Dipsea Race finisher. She tries really hard to read one long New Yorker article each week, not just the cartoons.