My first coffee of the day was at a perky pink diner in Georgetown called Serendipity III that we ate at while waiting for the Thai Embassy to re-open. Everything there was enormous and good, but not so good as the price was high. They spelled ‘coffee’ ‘caffe’ and charged three dollars and twenty-five cents and didn’t do refills. But it was good coffee. This was before walking down to Bridge Street Books. They still have tables set outside with piles of inexpensive books – mostly Dover Press editions. When I was living in a bathroom on Prospect Ave and making $1500 a month, I spent virtually all my disposable income on books at that table. Today, for just twenty-five cents more than my coffee, I picked up a copy of Veblen’s economic classic, Theory of the Leisure Class. Painfully relevant economic insights, though his historical insights… meh. Has the book comparing Veblen’s leisure class to Debord’s spectacle been written yet? Someone ought to get to work on that. And if it has been written, someone needs to send me a complimentary copy.
The second cup was at a Barnes and Noble in Alexandria. An espresso, which was disappointing, as most espressos are. I bought a copy of Asimov’s Science Fiction. I was torn between Asimov’s and sister mag Analog, but Asimov’s had a picture of a dinosaur on the cover and a story called Mating Habits of the Late Cretaceous (which is actually a banal and unrealistic bit of marital realism in the style of Carver, except it’s not really very realistic – the marriage I mean, not the thin sci fi veneer around it), so I was suckered into picking that one.