Tag Archives: Cuban Coffee

Café and Closure

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The first time I met O.D. Churroman was at a Salsa Festival where Willy Chirino was playing.

From the outset, café a lo cubano had been a huge part of our relationship.
After our second date, he demanded I invite him inside and prove my cafecito making skills… or there would be no third date.
In fact, for the longest time I was not allowed to touch his cafetera; he was in charge of the café making at his place.

We had entire conversations about Cuban coffee and, to hear him tell it, he taught me “how to make it better.”
We would send daily pictures of our espuma.
Eventually I graduated to being allowed to make my own cafecito while waiting for him to wake up.

And then he disappeared from my life (just after Labor Day 2011). It took me a long time to recover from being dropped so abruptly, but time heals all wounds and I eventually stopped keeping an eye out for him every time I was in LA. I stopped wondering what I would say if I ever saw him again.

And then there he was.

It was January 10, the night before my brother’s wedding at a Cuban documentary screening. He had to get up and greet me when his cousin, an acquaintance of mine, saw me and came over to say hello. After an awkward hug and exchange about how my dark hair “looked good”, the lights dimmed and the movie was about to start so we all went back to our seats. I didn’t see him after. It felt like a cruel joke from the universe.

And then it was Mother’s Day.
And his birthday.
And I HAD to say something.
So I sent a happy birthday email and appreciated that he wrote back.
I counted it as closure.

And then there he was.
Again.

It was the first time I’ve ever been to the free Cuban Festival in Echo Park because I’m usually in Miami for the weekend closest to 20 de Mayo.

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Since I have dated my fair share of LA Cubans, I usually expect to run into a few exs at these types of events that I’m still friendly with, but I never expected to see HIM.

There was no escaping the moment; we were heading directly for each other.
A polite greeting, a Cuban hug and kiss on the cheek, and the moment was over.

And then he walked by again, “The line for café is ridiculous!”
“I know! ALL the lines are stupid long! Bueno, have fun!”
And he walked away.

And then he walked by AGAIN, “I’m going to try again.”
“Dale! Bring me one, too!”
He stopped. Turned. Called me over to him and asked, “Excuse me? What was it you called me the other day? Joven?”
“Sure! Yes! Joven! Definitely not viejo!”
And he continued on and I wasn’t sure if I was getting café or not… so I waited to see.

And then walked by again.
And he handed me a cafecito.
And he walked away.
And, with that, our story came full circle.

Salud, chico.

He Dropped Me

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It was a long day.

I had an early meeting. I had projects to finish. I had projects to start. I had Cuban coffee to drink.

Somehow my boss convinced the VP to go to lunch at my new favorite Cuban place (Bella Cuba) and so what is usually lunch at my desk became two hours of not being at work with the added bonus of the VP mentioning how much “Kiki LOOOOOVES chocolate” (and he wasn’t talking about my eating habits – though how he learned about that I’m not sure because all three people I’ve dated since being at the company have been … *ahem* vanilla).

As I was finally leaving the office, LATE, the wind howled and stole the last drops of café that were in my cup… and proceeded to spray them onto my favorite pair of white pants.

I hurried home to change into a pair of less favorite jeans so that I could hurry to the cd release party of an African girlfriend of mine.

I called an old BFF to make sure he was going. He was. We walked in together, but then an ex of his pulled him away just in time for me to see the ex-girlfriend of an ex of mine. She was absolutely thrilled to see me and demanded we take a picture together. Why not? Now there is a permanent record for me to review and wonder how the hell I ever ended up following an act like hers…

After the picture, I turn to greet a few other old friends and then see the pregnant wife of another ex. Of course, she has no idea of my ex status because when she and I met everyone thought I was with my BFF (when, in fact, it was his roommate I was with… ish). She is super sweet and absolutely adorable, but I get the sense that she’s not entirely thrilled to be pregnant and is worried that her mixed baby is going to come out less-than gorgeous. After hugging her and catching up a bit on her and then on everyone else who has had babies lately and everyone who was about to have babies, I found my old BFF again and we went looking for seats.

He had someone he wanted me to meet and started steering me in that direction. Of course, the friend he wanted me to meet was sitting right in front of the pregnant wife and her husband (my ex).

The break-up conversation that led to this ex becoming my ex was simple, to the point (something along the lines of “Kiki, you deserve better than what I have to offer you right now“), and we stayed friends. Since this was several years ago, certain things shouldn’t bother me, right? Of course, right!

My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: KIKITA!! It’s wonderful to see you! You’re beautiful! Do you know that? Really! You are so beautiful, and you have a beautiful heart and are just an amazing and beautiful person. Have I told you how beautiful you are?
Me: Not today…
My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: Come! Sit with us!
Me (to myself): You have GOT to be kidding me right now.

It was a spectacular concert. And the sound was done by the awesome Cuban guy from my church because the world is really that small and my night wasn’t weird enough.

Meanwhile… on my phone…

Dance Buddy: Hey there sexy lady! What are you up to?
Me: At a concert having a weird moment.
Me (to myself): I’m sorry, who gave you permission to call me “sexy lady”?
Dance Buddy: Oh, sorry to hear that baby! Just imagine I’m there dancing with you.
Me: Ha!
Me (to myself): Baby? Seriously? And this whole time I thought he was gay…

After the concert, but before leaving…

My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: Kikita, you know you need to have a mixed baby.
Me: Yeah, ok. I’ll get right on that.
My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: Why not [your old BFF]?
Me: That will never happen. Beyond not being attracted to him, when I turned 25 and freaked out about getting old, I asked him to be my back-up plan. If I turned 30 and didn’t have any prospects, I asked him to have a kid with me. Of course he agreed, but then we spent the next 6 months discussing baby names and were never able to agree on anything. So, even if I WANTED to have a kid with him, which I don’t, we could never name it.
My Ex With The Pregnant Wife: You are too much. Poor guy. He’s really awesome.

A little while later, some other individual came up to introduce himself to me. We ended up having quite a bit in common, including a penchant for learning new languages. My Ex With The Pregnant Wife  overheard us going from Arabic to English to Spanish and was kind of amazed.

My Ex With The Pregnant Wife (to the new guy): Kikita is an amazing woman. She’s really quite brilliant. Kikita! Have you ever tested for your IQ? She likes to pretend she’s not very smart because she’s blond, but really she is brilliant.

I guess the sales pitch worked because when some of the other girls asked if we could all go to a nearby dance place (which just happened to be my Sunday night hang-out), the new guy was happy to come along. And fearless about dancing even though he wasn’t very good.

My old BFF pulled me aside: Kiki! You have to dance! I’ve told everyone what a great dancer you are!

No pressure.

Luckily, one of my Sunday night buddies was there. He’s a bit odd, but fun to dance with so that’s all that really matters. We were dancing, but joking around a lot, too. Somewhere in the middle of the dance, he dipped me. No one ever dips me, which I understand, there’s a lot of me to dip.

Well, this kid dipped me, and then we kept dancing.
And then the song ended.
And he dipped me again.
And I am not sure exactly what happened…

He might have tripped me.
Or I might have lost my balance.
Or he wasn’t supporting me…

Whatever the reason, I found myself on the ground… sort of.

I really don’t even know how it happened. I was on the ground, so I knew I had fallen (or had been dropped).

But the kid hadn’t fallen on top of me.

And then he did.

And I didn’t think it was possible, but I fell MORE.

And I think we sort of rolled…

And I couldn’t stop laughing.

He dropped me.
He dipped me.
And he dropped me.

I’d never been dropped before…. Well, not LITERALLY dropped.

Obviously, all the exs of the evening had dropped me at some point…. figuratively speaking.

The lesson: You are going to get dropped and even if it doesn’t hurt too much at the time, you’ll still find bruises.

 

Kikita and the Beautiful Espuma

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This morning was just like any other morning.

In fact, the only thing really different about this morning is what a hard time I had waking up.

And, just like any other morning, I did not pass “GO” and I did not collect $200. I went directly for the cafetera and started making my café.

Just like any other morning, it was Taka Taka Time.

But today was suddenly different.

Today the espuma (SEE: foam) was perfect.

And I remembered a conversation with a Certain Stubborn Bear (aka O.D. Churroman) that went like this:
O.D. Churroman: Did you explain that I taught you how to make café?
Me: You did not! I already knew how to make café before I met you!
O.D. Churroman: Yeah, but I taught you how to make espuma.
Me: Did NOT! I already knew that, too!
O.D. Churroman: I taught you how to make it GOOD. You have learned well.
Me: Hmph.

This morning I smiled at the memory, shared the beautiful cuban coffee with my friends, and continued on with my day.

When I checked back in a bit later, one of my friends (who knows nothing of Mr. Churroman) had said this: You have learned well.

I guess there is just no escaping it…

Thank you, O.D. Churroman.
I could never have done this without you. 😉

 

Creepy Work Guy Asks Me Out

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I genuinely believe he is lacking in social skills. That there is something wrong with the way his brain works and that is what adds to his creepiness.

He carries a Batman lunchbox and has somehow made it UN-cool. It takes real talent to make something that is always cool UN-cool. He has that talent.

I have caught him staring at me. With a creepy look on his face.

One day, while making my afternoon café cubano…
Creepy Guy: Kiki, how much time do you spend making coffee every day?
Me: … Would you like to try some?
Creepy Guy: Ok! I was going to ask you to get a drink with me sometime after work, but now we can just have a drink here!
To Myself: *shudder* Thank GOD I didn’t have to deal with that.
Me: HA!

Another time…
Creepy Guy: I love that dress. Did you wear it just for me? Green and black are my two favorite colors.
To Myself: I’m burning this dress the minute I get home.
Me: …
(I really didn’t know what to say.)

And Another time…
Creepy Guy: Hi Kiki! I love your hair like that!
To Myself: I’m shaving it all off the minute I get home.
Me: Thanks.

Last Friday…
Creepy Guy: Nicole! Come here, I want you to witness this. Kiki, will you be my date for the Christmas Ball?
Me: No. *pause* My boyfriend wouldn’t like it.
Creepy Guy: Boyfriend? I heard you were SUPER single.
Nicole: Boyfriend? Really?
Me: Ok, no boyfriend, but no, thank you.
To Myself: Super Single and Super Not Interested. And now I have to find  damned date to this party.

Spilling More Than Just the Beans

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I don’t know if it was because I’d had a great work out or if I just had too much on my mind or if it was too cold or what, but sleep was just not happening for me. And it was weird because I wasn’t having that frustrated “OMG, I can’t sleep” feeling.
When my alarm finally went off, I was deep in dreamland, but woke up feeling rested so I know I slept.

I then proceeded to spill …
The coffee beans.
The sugar.
The coffee. (I guess I didn’t tighten the cafetera properly.)

As I looked for tacitas to pour the cafe into, all I saw was one, on the higher shelf. I was a bit confused because it was one of a set that sits on the counter. I grabbed it and … the word “spill” does not correctly convey what happened. The tacita had still been full of yesterday’s cafe, which was now all over:
The counter.
The floor.
ME.

Hey, if I’m going to bathe in cafe, I BATHE in cafe.

Abuela (oblivious): Oye, chica, porque tardas tanto con el cafe?