Late to the party, but made it eventually.

Adding the already enormous list of shops in SF that threaten to drain my bank account, I visited the map store today for what was supposed to be a practical errand (those of you receiving a Christmas card will understand the reason I was at the map store, though in the end it turned out I didn’t need to buy a map to accomplish it after all). This map slash book slash art shop is the ultimate chocolate peanut butter pretzel kind of place that i get really overwhelmed in. I held myself back from hugging the bookshelves and tried to read and comprehend one title fully before moving on too soon to the next.

I spotted “Empirical San Francisco” which Rick had recommended the night before, so I reflexively pulled that off the shelf and justified buying it without a lot of thought. Moving on, I continued finding book after book that demanded being purchased and I was soon completely unable to make any clear, responsible decisions about anything at all. But then one book rose above the chaos, like the dog that you spot at the ASPCA that you know in your gut is “the one”. Of course, keeping in mind that the whole point of going to the store was to buy a map, not a book, and I had convinced myself at this point that maps are for suckers and I didn’t need no stinking map.

The book that was eventually purchased is by far my favorite book I’ve acquired in a very long time. Titled “All Over Coffee” it manages to amalgamate fragile, beautiful ink drawings of an intimate view of spots all over San Francisco with organic thoughts and observations almost comic style and finished off with various washes of actual coffee. There is absolutely noting left to desire with a combination like that.

I justified the purchase as my annual Christmas present to myself (what? Come on – tell me you don’t buy yourself Christmas presents! Go on… ) then headed to Barce’s to share the joy. I was met with equal joy when he presented me with the 10lbs of Bitches Brew beans that he’s smuggled back from L.A.. So, backpack bursting with caffeinated joy on many levels – drinkable and readable – I headed back to Excelsior for some extensive card making and coffee drinking.

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