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Back Buzz - July 18, 1997

pumping heart Diva Espresso, 7916 Greenwood Avenue North, Greenwood

I have to admit I don't make it up to Greenwood very often. Usually the only occasion is when I need to do some shopping at the big Fred Meyer's on 85th Street. But I suppose there are a few other reasons to drive this far north -- for instance, if you happen to be in need of martial arts lessons, stove parts, facial contouring, sheet metal, a good drug recovery program, automobile upholstery, hearing aids, radiator service, cemetery headstones, self-service storage, perhaps a good sausage factory outlet store...well, you get the idea. But I do have to give Greenwood credit for having several good pubs, most notably the 74th Street Alehouse; therefore it follows that there ought to be a few good espresso cafes as well.

Diva Espresso is a small, inviting place. Its decor is reminiscent of Uptown Espresso in Lower Queen Anne: same mismatched collection of distressed wooden tables, same wall treatment, same magnetic poetry on the counter. Classical portraits adorn the walls and elegant chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The espresso shots -- made with Batdorf & Bronson's Vesuvio beans from Olympia -- were rich and hearty; but I have to give the place an F for presentation. My double short cappuccino, as well as Max' single short, were both served in big glass tumblers undoubtedly meant for grande lattes. With a huge mountain of foam filling my glass there's no easy way to get to the shots below or to mingle the milk foam with the espresso -- in fact, it's physically impossible! Just give one of these double cappuccinos to any physicist and see what they say. Whether they subscribe to the unified field theory or quantum theory or something altogether different, I'm sure they'll all agree there is no theoretical way those forlorn shots of espresso hiding at the bottom of the glass can possibly work their way up through the milk foam to produce a mouthful of what one expects from a proper cappuccino.

Also the only spoons available seem to be plastic -- a forgivable slip if only the drink were properly served...

Attached to Diva is a small patio with a view of a parking lot, not to mention a pleasant blonde dog (although it's likely the dog won't be there for you, unless it's a frequent visitor). A few antique-style garden tables are arranged out in front on the sidewalk. There's a dance institute just kitty-corner, too. I suppose it's not possible to sit on the sidewalk and actually see dancers practicing, but this is probably as close to Paris as Greenwood will ever get. The particular day we were here, however, it was a bit cool to be sitting outside. I know it's July as I write this, but for some reason Seattle seems to be having an unusually cool summer.

Oops! I realize now that having written that last statement will assure us of 99-degree temperatures for the rest of the summer, starting tomorrow. To all you like-minded Seattleites, I apologize.

But all the local sun worshippers (yes, there are many of them in the Pacific Northwest) would probably thank me if I could actually control the weather through my words. I'd probably get personal requests all the time for higher and higher temperatures. This is one weathercasting phenomenon I've never been able to understand. If, for example, the normal temperatures for the time of year and climate are, let's say, 55-60 degrees, and the weathercaster predicts we're going to have an unseasonably warm 70-degree day, this is what seems to be universally called "great news". And if it happens to get up to 80 degrees, everyone talks about what a "gorgeous" day it is, this gorgeousness increasing logarithmically as the temperature rises. So if we're "lucky", perhaps it will make it up to 85 degrees -- won't that be beautiful? And then maybe, if we're really lucky, by next week it'll be up to 90 or 100! Magnificent weather, isn't it? And then perhaps it'll reach 110, and perhaps by August we'll see some really beautiful days in the 120s and 130s! Just makes you want to skip work and go to the beach, doesn't it?

As a member of the minority of human beings who prefer cooler weather, I think I can speak for our group when I say I'm pretty sick of hearing this slop every morning on the weather report. What will make these idiot weathercasters stop saying it's "gorgeous"? 160 degrees? 212 degrees Fahrenheit? 5000 Kelvin? What about if the Sun cremates the Earth into a dismal ball of ashes? Mmm-yeah! Gotta get out there and catch some RAYS!

I remember one day last winter when it was extremely bright and sunny but very cold. For some reason -- I guess because it had been cloudy and rainy for so many days that month -- people were out in their shirtsleeves washing their cars and pruning their bushes. When Max and I went for a walk we passed several groups of people on the sidewalk basking in the sun. I felt a little self-conscious in my wool sweater, winter coat, and gloves, but then I decided it was probably a lot colder in the shade where I was walking. Or perhaps, I decided, there's a form of sunshine hysteria that hits SAD-afflicted people in the winter, causing them to run outside in their shorts and tank tops, hypnotized by the sunshine, when it's 38 degrees.

All I can say is I don't claim to even remotely understand the average person. I have enough trouble understanding myself, much less figuring out when my cats are hungry.

The world is full of mystery.