Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cuppa at Pannikin

Pannikin Coffee & Tea is my Sunday afternoon spot today and I’m soaking in my surroundings. It’s a lovely little place with the feel of a backyard even though it sits just off of busy Girard and Pearl streets in La Jolla’s quaint beach community. A white-washed wooden front with slightly protruding bay windows introduce a natural wooden deck with plastic patio chairs and mismatched, wobbly tables, all of which overlooks a small cement and garden patio with umbrella-shaded tables with chipped Spanish-tile tops.

I’m perched at the corner of the wooden deck with a perfect vantage point of all the diners and drinkers, just under the outdoor speaker exuding pleasantly mellow music in a language I don’t recognize, Portuguese maybe. There’s a man sitting in the space across from me on the opposing porch corner smoking and doing what I’m doing. He languidly takes in his surroundings as he smokes and, I imagine, records what he sees in his mental journal. He seems particularly fond of looking up through the leaves of a big tree around which the porch is constructed, with a big hole in its wooden slats with enough room to allow for the tree’s girth as it ages.
Two women sit below me, chatting sporatically over their cold dishes. One has hair color that, even in Dr. Seuss’ world, does not grow naturally on human heads. She separates the components or her salad (alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, red onion, carrot shavings, etc.), then, spears each in assembly line fashion. Her friend is sipping an impossibly frothy cappuccino and an plate of pita bread, hummus and assorted veggie sides. The smell from the cucumber slices on her plate pleasantly waft up to me.
There are others too, the man sitting at the table directly in front of me is old and a bit grumpy. He, in what must be his 60th year of life, has still not discovered the art of anchoring down loose items that might blow away in the breeze. Since he sat down, he has lost three napkins, the sports section of the Union Tribune and his to-go coffee cup—the latter of which provoked the most grumbling and under-the-breath cursing on his part.
My tranquil setting is interrupted only by the banging of espresso tools and crotch rockets firing down the street I forget is there b/c of the high hedges around the patio and lulling music overhead. I’ve spent the whole last week in bed, at work, and all else is a medicated blur. I did have a few meaningful conversations on the phone, close girlfriends from Lincoln have proven to be as loyal as can be and frequently ring to keep tabs on me. I also had a lovely chat with my endlessly-talented friend, Peter, who has written the most fantastic play. I’ve read it three times now and my liking for it increases each time. Like any good fan, I’m already impatient for his next creation.

(Note: this photo isn't mine, I stole it from the Internet. Again, hopefully this is enough to prevent someone from suing the pants off me.)

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