Early Morning Walk to the Cafe

For that first cup of coffee, and to get some writing done.

The plan was simple. Get up, brush teeth, throw on some clothes, pack up the laptop into the bag, and head out to a cafe to get some writing done. A hot cup of coffee and nothing else. It was officially Fall and the weather outside should be cool. There was mist on the water. The sun hadn’t even crept up fully over the horizon. A sweatshirt was in order.

At first the plan was coming along together quite nicely. Left the motel room and headed out into what was clearly going to be a bright blue sky day. No one was around, not even a front desk clerk in the lobby. It’s that kind of place. An old school beach town motel, just glammed up with a hipster vibe (priced to match the sensibility, of course). As I hit the road, a perfect body in expensive workout gear ran by on her morning jog — yep, makes sense that she was up early and taking on the day. I, on the other hand, looked like a guy who woke up too early and probably should have just stayed in bed.

It’s about a fifteen minute walk to the storefronts. Get the blood pumping, shake the head from my sleep — I mean the sleep from my head. These minutes, they’re completely inconsequential, and yet they might just be the most meaningful in the day. The senses coming alive, the body moving, the effort to get from here to there allowing for an achievable goal. You may not remember these minutes, but the deep down recesses record every millimeter of the journey. To arrive at the destination is to lock it down. These simple achievements have a way of making themselves known when you least expect it.

Which is all well and good, assuming that the cafe you spied last night, with its good seats and table options near the windows, was actually open. Aren’t cafes that serve the piping hot coffee supposed to be open before everything else? Especially in a town like this? And of course this thinking is wrong. I realize that right there and then. The brisk walk served its purpose. My mind is clear and reaching proper conclusions, if still having to play a little catch up. There’s surely a diner around here that serves up coffee, not to mention pancakes and bacon. To the diner I go.

But before I can figure out exactly where that might be, I see some activity — trucks and dudes in jean shorts coming and going from a storefront area off the main road. I only need a few seconds to process. This is a donut shop. A beacon in the crisp early dawn’s light. There is no decision to be made here. I am there.

I order a large coffee, a jelly donut, and a cruller. The idea is that I will bring that jelly donut back to the motel, for my wife, but this is false, and I know it, and probably should have ordered two, but that presents a danger. That well before I get back to the motel, I will have not only eaten the cruller, and the jelly donut, but that second jelly donut as well. No one needs that, even on vacation. The gut is just too unforgiving these days.

There are no tables in this donut shop. No place to sit. It’s just as well. I walk outside, coffee and bag of donuts in hand, and start walking towards the beach. I’m there in about five minutes. I plop down on the sand, which is still wet from the overnight high tide. Doesn’t matter. That’s what jeans are for, especially these jeans.

I swallow down some black coffee and scarf the cruller, and then the jelly donut, and take a brief moment to be happy to know myself well enough to not have ordered that second jelly donut. The beach is mostly empty. An old man walking his dog. A middle-aged woman walking along who decided to stop and eat some kind of a sandwich just a bit too close to me, despite the wide-openness of the vacant sands in either direction. A young guy meditating, or sitting in a meditation pose, because yes, there is a difference (or is there?). I leave the laptop in the bag. I just sit there, thinking about how I wanted to get some writing done. My mind trailed back to some early days beach vacation memories, but they were quickly eclipsed with thoughts of a few work-related pressing issues, all imminent, which caused my jaw to clench. I berated myself for not just enjoying the moment. Can you really complain when you’re sitting on a quiet beach at the start of what is clearly going to be a beautiful endless-summer type-of-day, appetite satiated with fresh donuts from the old school bakery selling actual, real, simple and straightforward donuts? Yes, apparently you can.

After a bit, I got up, and began the walk back to the motel. The cafe still wasn’t open. No writing got done.

Jeffrey Yamaguchi | @jeffyamaguchi

Haiku version:

Early walk to town
plan forsaken for better
donuts on the beach

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