Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coffee Shop Imaginarium

My days off usually find me at Black Sheep Coffee, pen, books, etc in tow. I like Black Sheep because it's local, but also because there is always a group of Ethopian guys sitting around chatting in...Arabic, I think? I enjoy coming here because it's one of the few places in this small Dakota city which offers an environment populated with something other than white middle class suburbanites. So while I have no idea what these gentlemen are saying, simply sitting and listening to words I don't understand is kind of a treat.
Today, I walked to the coffee shop, which I do regularly. However, I'm fairly certain that today's temperature didn't crack zero degrees fahrenheit. While my muscles thawed out, I sat and imagined the conversation these guys might have been having. I watched as they came and as they went. When a new one arrived, he's smile his bright white teeth which stood out against his darkened skin, wave to his friends across the room. I understand "Salaam Aleikum (Peace to you)" then imagine the rest of the greeting to go something like this. (Young or easily offended readers avert your eyes)

"MOTHER FUCKER IT'S COLD OUTSIDE! My knee caps are frozen stiff and my car is an igloo. Curse the bastards who sent us here! Acclimate my ass!!"

So, that's probably not what they said, but I often find myself wondering what refugees and immigrants from warm climates must think of South Dakota in January, when even us tough northerners flee if at all possible. Consider: a climate quite similar to our own, Siberia, is a god-forsaken land to which criminals were sent to live out their days in frozen isolation. So, while I suppose that finding refuge in the safety and peace of South Dakota is more desirable than bullets flying past one's head and their house being burned down, my heart still goes out to those who once knew warmer Januarys but find themselves here instead.
On the bright side, I saw some pretty berries poking out of the snow on the walk home. They seemed hopeful.

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