12.16.2010

THOSE SMALL, GRACIOUS GESTURES


Every once in a while a photo pops up out of my file and catches my eye. I think this one did because it brings back the memory of a warm and cozy moment. But what really pleased me about Cafe Fixe in Brookline, Massachusetts, which I visited with my old friend Zoe, was the effort they made in their presentation. (Even their website is lovely.) Just a small touch, those softly deliberate swirls of cream and coffee; it had no impact on the taste, but it made all the difference in the pleasure of the experience. I no longer take such gestures for granted--and being effusive in my thanks always gives the waiters a smile--they have become rare in this world of fast hits. It is soothing to slow down and notice gracious gestures, and take in the thoughtfulness of the gift.

21 comments:

Bruce Barone said...

It is good to see and give thanks.

Madgew said...

Love this.

William said...

Nothing beats hanging out at a great coffee house, but there is some serious 'Coffee Superiority Attitude' going around. The latest arrival in NYC is Stumptown Roasters from Portland. The coffee is good, but wowza is there some serious hipster attitude at times to go along with that cup of joe - not familiar with all the coffee seed varietals and able to distinguish between them? Well, shame on you! Oh, and maybe the first pork pie hat to be worn (in over 100 years) by a hipster in Portland 10 years ago was a cool individual style statement - but now as a hipster costume to be worn by every server at Stumptown just looks silly and contrived and cartoonish. I hate to say it, but the place made me appreciate the 'authenticity' of Starbucks - jesus I never thought I would compliment Starbucks!

Dona said...

Love the richness of the image, the thought by those who created this lovely touch and your passing it on to others. Thanks for taking the time.

Barbara said...

If the only prayer you ever make is "thank you" it will be enough.

Karen said...

Just sent your well-said piece to my favorite coffee place in DC -- Baked & Wired -- as a way of expressing my thanks to them!
Have to disagree with William though. I'm a fan of the baristas/servers at Stumptown/Ace Hotel. Don't see the "hipster attitude" at all -- it seems plenty friendly to me --and personally, I like the hats (and love always scoring a perfect cappuccino).

mary said...

Yes, life is found in the details and hidden treasures.

William said...

Karen, I wanted to love Stumptown, I really, really did. I love coffee and coffee houses and for the longest time the coffee culture. I was very excited to learn they were opening here in Manhattan because I had read so many great things about them. I went the first week they were open. I went back many, many times and am certain to go again. But as the lines grew longer and longer and longer as the buzz caught on and I had more and more time standing there in line to observe all that was going on around me as I waited and waited for my coffee I just couldn't help but think, oh god this is all so silly.

Christa said...

Amen. And a lovely time to remind us all...

Thea said...

i'd love to learn how to do that so i can make it for myself at home.

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

I promise no weird rants today about candles or anything else. And I think today's message is a great one, especially this week. I have been running a POP Up and we tissue or gift wrap their purches and people are so taken aback which only means that while moving about in the world today it is the small things that make people happy. Oh dear, is that another rant? Happy Holidays.

davidterry said...

That's a lovely posting, Ms. Browning.....and particularly timely.

Midway through today (it's 11 pm now) I was throwing a predictable, control-freak's fit.....WHY the f***k does it have to snow/ice TODAY??...just when I need those five packages from amazon (not to mentin the five prints I was SUPPPOSED to pick up at the framers) that were SUPPOSED to be delivered, so that I could add them to the pile of PERFECTLY-WRAPPED presents I HAVE to mail off tomorrow morning if they're to get there in TIME?!? We leave for France in six days!?!?!?!?!?!?!?....

etcetera, etcetera.....

My longtime friend, Laura (I lived with her for seven years before buying this old house two doors up the street) dropped by....and did me the very good favor of saying "Why don't you just write a card to those folks...stick some of those dried flowers you have in the envelope....and tell them Merry Christmas, but they'll be getting the presents a bit late??? The only thing you REALLY have to do is to make it clear that you care, ...you know????...."

I followed her advice.

You (in your current posting) and her are quite right. Maybe you two just have good instincts....but, thanks.

----david terry

Emom said...

Very sweet....smiles....

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

Like you, I make a point to smile and thank those in customer service. It says something of our world when the recipient acts shocked that I say "thank you," "you did a great job..." Change our words, change the world, right?

Dominique said...

David Terry, Have a wonderful vacation in France, you lucky person. Your friends will be charmed to have something to look forward to in January's doldrums.

Vava, I know what you mean about those shocked responses. I often get a thanks for the thanks, quite remarkable. Small changes matter, yes, Gift-Wrapped. I have some things to learn in the gift-wrapping department, though.

And I'll have to check out Stumptown, which I have never even heard of, which only goes to show how not hip I am. Well, this is the place for a respite from hipness, I suppose!

William said...

Yes, Dominique, you must try Stumptown and with any luck the featured coffee that day will be made with the Maragogype seed varietal. Don't panic when you see the fancy name, howerer, the Maragogype seed varietal is simply a mutation of the Ethiopian Typica seed.

Cynthiat at Coffee On The Patio said...

I was recently at a restaurant with two friends and they brought our lattes in beautiful latte bowls, on individual little trays with a small biscotti. It was so lovely. The three of us were totally delighted. Sometimes those little things just fill up your heart with gratitude.

Love your blog. A friend just sent me a link to it as a blog she "thought I would enjoy" and she is so right.

Anonymous said...

A very timely thought. Yesterday, in the midst of travel chaos in Scotland, a young woman offered me a seat on the bus. Being naturally very independent, I declined, albeit in a friendly way. But later I realised I'd deprived her of the pleasure of giving to me, and felt diminished. Slowing down, and noticing the gesture, would have been better!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous, What you wrote is so so true, and you wrote it so beautifully. Thank you for reminding me. Best, Joyce

joyce said...

Dear Dominique, What a beautiful post, and so touching to me tonight,went right to my heart. I aways make a point to look the person in the eye, and say thank you, too. You never know what a difference it might make. People like to feel appreciated. That reminds me, Dominique, I really appreciate you! Hugs, Joyce

joyce said...

ps Holding the door for people makes me feel good.