RE-PRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE NEW YORKER, JUNE 6, 2012
AMHERST, Ma. – I walk up to the barista, a troubled man of ambiguous age. A perfectly groomed muffle of facial hair hides his muted expressions as he rubs the stainless steel milk frother. I don’t see a menu anywhere in sight. A wayward professor peers suspiciously in my direction: I haven’t seen her before. From the vinyl stereo in the corner, anguished minor chords rumble gently; an unknown tune from an unknown psychotic.
Amherst Coffee is jostling with young anxiety.
And I’m not leaving.