02 July 2010

MISSION: Fuel for the Body, Fuel for the Brain

Affiliated Agent M is at it again, folks. Three missions in one day! *high five*

Date: Sunday, 27 June 2010

Time: Afternoon.

Locations: Aldo Coffee in Mt. Lebanon, Tazza D'oro in Highland Park, and Coffee Tree Roasters in Shadyside.

Gifts: Quotable cards and a Barnes and Noble gift card

Affiliated Agent M tells us of his adventures:

If I had something of a food weakness, it'd be coffee. Good coffee, not the stuff that drips and stands in a pot for hours and hours on end, but a 'grind the beans, press the grounds, and serve it to you all made to order' espresso drink.

Then it's not really a surprise that the majority of my previous missions involve coffee in some way, shape or form. The mission on Sunday continued this fine tradition, but with an added bonus.

It may be a stereotype, but give me a good book to go along with a fine drink, and hours could go by before I look up from the page. There is something about saying, "I have so much to do, watch, and see, that I am going to deliberately set a few hours aside to just sit down, sip a drink, and read. Nothing more, nothing less."

And it was this slice of mental clarity I was hoping to spread with this mission. Maybe you're out to meet friends at a coffee house. Maybe you're out to get away from the busyness of your surroundings at home. Maybe you just kipped in to escape the frequent roaming thunderstorms of the greater Pittsburgh area. What ever the reason, you're out, sitting down, and boom, there's a card from an affiliated agent, commanding you to open it up, that the goodies within are for no other being in the universe but you. There's a puzzled look on your face, like, can this be happening to me? Is this a joke? Should I open this strange card; obey this written directive?

Let's open this card together, to share the experience, shall we?

Inside you pull out one of the Quotable cards that Secret Agent L and her agents often use. It's heavier than most cards, higher quality. The quote fires off a small spark of inspiration deep within side you; the fire burns to embers quickly, but inspiration and hope work better as slow coals, not a violent Bruckheimian explosion.

You open the card, and a tag falls out. You grab for it, while reading the silly note this stranger left in the card. A chuckle may escape your lips, it may not.

You look around trying to believe this is true, this is happening and not the set up for some vicious prank. Your friends pull the card from your hands, eager to read the cryptic message, when your attention turns back to the envelope.

It is heavy. Too heavy...

Inside there is something else, forgotten in the initial excitement until now. You reach in, a golden ticket moment if any. Your reward, if you so choose, may grant you access to a chocolate factory, but that is only one of an infinite set of options: a gift card to Barnes and Noble. The only question that remains is if you can choose just one wondrous thing to read.

Simulation over.

It was my intent that this scene, or something similar to it, would play out at three different locations across Pittsburgh. These places happened to match up to some of my favorite coffee shops in the city.

The first was Aldo's Coffee in Mt. Lebanon. Inside I took the table closest to Aldo's own library, as seemed fitting for the mission. The crowd there was steady, and it took some time to find the right moment to leave my card behind and make my exit.

Not that I minded, it simply meant I could get through a few more pages.

The next was Tazza D'oro in Highland Park. If Aldo had a steady flux of people, Tazza D'oro had what amounted to a full house. One of the few tables left was hidden by a small Christmas Tree and Virgin Mary statue.

It really seemed fitting to have some higher power watching over this little gift of mine, so I took it for the sign it was.

The last was the Coffee Tree Roasters in Shadyside. I personally love how they'll open an entire wall during good weather so the boundary between inside and outside is lessened, and given the length of the shop it can generate a nice, constant breeze.

Sadly, the photos of this last gift in the wild did not take, but one of the small tables near the back had a surprise waiting for the next person to sit there.

A good day for coffee, a great day for reading, and it's my hope that three Pittsburghers choose a book they've been thinking about for a while and now have no excuse left; that the instant smile generated on a hot Sunday afternoon is constantly fed every time they flip through the pages and continue the story.

1 comment:

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Then it's not really a surprise that the majority of my previous missions involve coffee in some way, shape or form. Brain Abundance Brain Fuel Plus