The first person I noticed on my walk to mysore last October was my morning Turk. Or, at least, he struck me as Turkish. He manned the counter of closet-sized CafeTiNY on West 8th Street, its door always propped open, and open quite early. He sat there, day after day, looking sidelong at a Macbook at the edge of the counter. The way his head faced straight ahead but his eyes were fixed at their far-right corners gave me the impression he was looking at porn. He probably wasn’t. I just tend to think that way.
After a few weeks, I noticed the sign in the top right of the door advertised Organic Turkish Coffee. So I was right! Though I’d probably taken that in subliminally.
One day, curious, I got coffee. It was excellent, but much too close to morning practice to digest. My morning Turk was not friendly at all. In fact, he was cranky. This only endeared him to me more.
I asked if the baklava was homemade. “No. It’s not fresh,” he replied. The coffee was good enough, I suppose, because by my walk back home, there was a line of regulars waiting for their small cup to go. (Wait! That review has a photo with the laptop!)
Occasionally the TiNY door would be shut, with a sign that read, “CLOSED TODAY.” I imagined my morning Turk at home nursing the sniffles.
But then, well over a month ago, the shop was closed day after day. There was no sign. I began to worry. Did the morning Turk up and quit? Was CafeTiNY out a surly barista?
About a week later, “We Are Temporarily Closed” appeared in red pen on a folded paper taped to the door. Relief. But temporarily means something very different to a Turk than to a New Yorker, and weeks passed. I began to worry again that he’d quit, never to be seen again, when one morning I spotted him inside at a desk facing the back wall, looking at his Macbook straight on.
Over a month later it’s still closed, the only sign now about mail delivery. I did some research and was confused to learn from reviewers that not only is the organic Turkish coffee adored, but Jacob, the friendly, “always-present” proprietor as well. My morning Turk is either not Jacob or not a morning person.
I want him back, though I suppose not as badly as those hooked on his coffee. I do alter my route more now, knowing I won’t get a site of him gazing conspicuously at the small white laptop.
March 13 Update: He’s closed. It’s gone.