The Return of the Suspended Coffee

If there is one positive thing this pandemic will leave in its wake, it is the return of community spirit. We may have regretted the loss of this long-since departed fragment of our humanity, not seen since Georges Brassens sang bitterly of it in “la Rose, la bouteille, et la poignée de main.” And what can we say of the French, inventors of the “no-fuss meal mindset,” the aperitif, six-hour meals around a table…

There once existed in Italy, in Naples to be precise, the tradition of the “Caffè sospeso.”  A way of thinking of others, of saying that a stranger will remain so as long as we have not offered him/her a coffee or a handshake… Before hurling opprobrium because of the misfortune of others fatally affected by this pandemic, let us recognize that Covid clearly has some good in it… that of having, even for a brief moment, stopped the runaway course of our imbecilic and impervious egoism, infobese and overflowing with compassion fatigue as it is. The return of the suspended coffee perhaps heralds the great return to the world of yesterday in a world of tomorrow; maybe, let’s hope, a world that’s a futurist copy of an era just as wicked, cowardly, and stupid, but with no motive to be superficial and condescending, without the internet and its flow of informational overload (the “telly” of the time filtered it for us) that inundates us until we are drowning in a kind of sensory numbness and dehumanizes us entirely until we are transformed into indifferent digital clones, beings who witness the disintegration, in an immense bout of self-despondency, of their apathetic souls, who nonetheless email, like, post, and tweet to say they are still alive even though they are entirely dead inside.

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