How About That Coffee ?

“Just a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on”

  • Lou Reed

How many times have you casually said “We must grab a coffee sometime ?” and then life gets in the way and you don’t ?

Not as many times as I have, I imagine.

This past week I’ve probably had more coffees than I’ve had in the previous month, all by simply saying yes, or asking, and meaning it.

Last Friday my daughter Robyn and I headed off to Dublin to see the Turner exhibition in the National Gallery. We had coffee and chatted about new jobs, the Lego store, and the Turner fingerprints in the Dundas landscape that will feature in a story I’m writing. We then went to Maynooth to collect Elliott in order to take him to Belfast to meet my “evil” goddaughter , Eimear, before we all headed to Elliott’s first ever concert, The Pillow Queens. We had coffee on the way up the road and chatted about how cool I was…or they both fell asleep and I listened to ‘The Curse od the Koh-i-Noor’ on The Empire podcast.

We met Eimear and headed to The Empire Hall, got great seats in the balcony, with easy access to the bar, and saw Arxx , the support band, for the first time. We were all hugely impressed…even Elliott. We all bought Arxx tees and met the band, who were LOVELY…and who thought we were also lovely. Then we had more beer and bounced along in awe to The Pillow Queens. This was the third time that I’d bought tickets to see them live, but the first time that I could actually go. They were worth the wait.

As we walked back to Eimear’s afterwards I asked Elliott if he’d enjoyed it.


Brilliant ! I have tickets to see Gang of Youths in November, will you come to that one ?


Why ?

“You asked me to go to A concert. I have now been to one.”

Can’t argue with that.

A week earlier I’d tried to give those tickets away, as I’d mixed up the dates, and thought I couldn’t go. As we drove home, via Dundalk, to drop Robyn home, I simply listened to Robyn and Elliott natter away about music, life and our evening, sipped on my coffee, and thought ‘I’d pay anything just to be here’. And here I am.

On Monday I had to go to Beaumont Hospital for scans , blood tests and x-rays. I went for coffee in between some of them and discovered that the hospital has a Starbucks ! I’ve spent 15 nights here this year, and had 21 day appointments, and only now discover that they have a Starbucks !

I ordered my Americano, and an apple slice and found an empty table near the window. After a few moments a lady asked if she could sit at the table, and I nodded , as my mouth was full of apple slice.

After a few moments of awkward silence, other than the slurps of coffee, and then a few more moments of awkward silence, I said “Are you visiting someone ?”.

“No. I’m waiting to see my consultant.” Then she looked down at her coffee, and said quietly “Cancer.” She looked frightened.

 “Their teeth aren’t as sharp as you think.”

“What ?” she looked confused.

“The consultants, there’s no need to be nervous, their teeth aren’t as sharp as you think. It’s a joke.”

“Sorry, I’m not really in the humour for jokes. Very nervous.” She looked back at her coffee.

“They are magic here. Miracles happen everyday. Look at me”

“Did you get the all clear ?”

“No, not quite. I had 16 weeks of chemo, then surgery, chunks removed, and yet, here we are having coffee.”

“I wish I had your attitude.”

“I never know exactly what people mean when they say that, but I get that a lot.” She smiled at that, and I carried on. “You and I are in the top one per cent, of the top one percent of everyone in the world right now that has cancer. Most people across the world don’t get treatment and care like we get here, even if they’re Yankee millionaires. When you start your treatment you will be constantly in awe of the people that look after you. And in all of human history, this is the best moment EVER to have cancer.”

She looked at me as if I was mad…I get that a lot too..and then she smiled, “Thanks.”

“No bother at all. I have to go now, but you’ll be fine, and you’re even luckier than I am.”

“How ?”

“You’ve discovered Starbucks on your first visit !”

Yesterday I went to Dublin and had some free time. I called my oldest, bestest friend Micky , to see if he was free for a coffee.

“Are you still doing that internet stuff with kids on a Saturday ?”

“You mean CoderDojo ?”

“Aye, I have 9 old mobile phones and rather than throw them out, I thought you might use them.”

I said I’d take them, Kae, who is the main warlock at Monaghan Coder Dojo loves to have the kids take things apart to see how they work.

After that we talked about our Dads, our friends , an upcoming dinner with our old friend Padraig, and whether regular Irish fudge was better than Harrods’ ridiculously expensive fudge.

I left Micky on Gardiner St. to hightail it across the Liffey to meet another friend Paula for…coffee in the Chester Beatty Library. I’d double booked coffee with another friend Karl, so the three of us met together for the very first time. Knowing that they were both cool, arty, and musos I was comfortable that we’d all get on great together, and we did…our only frisson being the moment Karl almost said something derogatory about David Bowie in front of Paula…many have died for less.

Our conversation ranged from art in the community, Riyadh, The Pillow Queens, Arxx , houses, and the way our parents used to either whisper, or mouth silently  certain words, such as ‘Lesbian’ , or ‘Protestant’, as in “I bumped into Mrs.Murphy in town yesterday…you know her daughter Abstentia ? You do. She was in your cousin Frieda’s class in primary ? You do know her, she went missing for an hour on the school tour to the zoo. The one who went out with that fella Terence that had the Ford Capri. Yes. Yes. Anyway, she’s a lesbian now.”

We left the Chester Beatty shortly before 5pm, as they were putting the furniture away. I’d arranged to meet then there because Chester features in another story I’m writing, in which he gives my Granda the terracotta sphinx that now sits in my kitchen. But our conversation and coffee was so good that I’ll have to visit again and actually see the inside the next time.

As you read this I’ll either be having coffee with our John in Grahams. My brothers John , Stephen and I try to meet every Friday morning for breakfast. Stephen has the Lurgy this week so can’t make it. Or I’ll be having coffee out in Rossmore Park with my great mate Freddie.

Adventures await.

So , next time someone says to you, “We must grab a coffee sometime.” Say ‘when ?’ , write it down, or better yet say “What about now ?”



Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *