A change of scenery, a shift of pace. It can be as simple as stepping out your front door and taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Or it can be a morning-long event as you sit in your car and drive the 30 minutes to your intended destination. Sometimes a small change is all we need in order to gain clarity of a situation and of the next step to take. To have the moment of lucidity we oftentimes desire.
Such was the case this morning as I set out to go grocery shopping but ended up instead at The Hideout coffeehouse. Once again, I failed to realise the Austin City Limits music festival was underway. This meant crowds, which I mainly managed to avoid as I arrived downtown shortly past 10:30. After driving around for 20 minutes searching for nearby parking, I decided it simply was not worth any further driving as I was already in front of the Capitol building at the intersection of 11th Street and Congress Avenue.
As the light turned green, I looked over to my left and noticed a car pulling out of a metered parking spot. Oblivious to the double yellow lines, I made a sharp turn into the desired spot before anyone else could claim it. I didn't mind walking the four and a half blocks to my destination, but had hoped I would get there in time for some breakfast tacos. Unfortunately, I was too late as the only options included eggs - something I do not particularly like in tacos. Potatoes with beans and cheese would have been my preferred choice.
Scanning the counter for something else to calm my bout of hunger, soon to approach the level of being hangry, I laid my eyes upon a slice of banana bread packaged and sitting in a basket. I asked the new lady working there if any options existed which were not "gluten free". I wanted real flour. I desired gluten. Ever since the propagation of gluten-free products, I have made it a point to ask for ingredient clarification - or check the ingredients myself if a label is provided.
Coffee was next to be ordered and I dared to ask for a "flat white", even though it was nowhere on the menu board. The lady wasn't certain but would check if someone was able to make one. This was the first flat white I'd had in the States, my introduction to this coffee specialty from Australia and New Zealand having been in Edinburgh last November.
Wikipedia has a more accurate description of a flat white, but it is basically espresso with microfoam with a higher proportion of espresso to the steamed milk. Cappuccinos use macrofoam which is drier than the foam used for flat whites. I'm hoping more coffeehouses in the States start offering this delectable drink.
Of the two vacant tables in the front of the coffeehouse, I chose the one with the pair of old wing chairs on the stage with a view out the large front windows and decided I needed to do this more often and for much longer than the hour I put on the parking meter. So, I sat and watched people passing by. I drank my flat white, enjoyed my gluten-filled banana bread, and occasionally tuned in to nearby conversations. It was a small step towards lucidity, but a step nonetheless.