Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 41 – When Logic Dies

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Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 41 – When Logic Dies


It had been quite a week. I had wrested with the challenge that John had thrown down: the nature of the golden-antlered doe in the Heracles story. He had hinted that it was symbolic of something that underwent a transformation in the human being; something that was a key attribute, an ability that developed as an extraordinary kind of skill at a certain point of the spiritual path.

I entered the cafe. Once more he was there before me, folding a large sheet of paper into a complex pattern of triangles. Beside him on the table was one he had finished earlier, which appeared to have six pointy legs holding it upright, in a stance that looked quite formidable, as two of the six were pointed up at me.

“Morning, Alexandra,” he said, without taking his concentration from the intense act of paper folding. “Meet Canopus who is a kind of Argonaut,” he added, nodding to the six-legged creature which seemed to be staring up at me.

“Isn’t that mixing up a whole set of principles?” I asked.

“Sufficient to get us thrown out of most schools of antiquity,” he nodded, folding furiously, but flicking his gaze up over my shoulders towards the counter. “But I’m desperate–probable cause: lack of coffee!”

“Here you go, love,” said Rose, putting my coffee down next to me with a supportive pat on the shoulder. Then she turned to John, with, “You don’t take sugar,” as she thumped down his drink, ensuring some of it spilled onto his careful folding. The two sugar sachets were similarly dumped onto his masterpiece.

“Thank you, old friend,” replied John, wounded in the manner of the perpetually misunderstood. It was obvious he had crossed some sort of line in his preparation of the ‘scene’ this day.

“Hope you choke on it!” said Rose, scuttling backwards, but not before she patted me on the other shoulder. Then the room began to shift again, as though her simple gesture in the face of our collective antagonist had opened something up for me to see.

“Strong shoulders, then?” asked John, all innocence, and still intensely busy with his, now, coffee-stained origami. “Strong woman, that Rose,” he said, sucking air through his teeth. “Shouldn’t want to mess with her…” There was the faintest edge of a smile at the extremities of his tight lips.

Other than ‘good morning’ I had said nothing since my entry into the cafe. I looked down at the now near-finished pair of objects as John sliced open one of the sugar packets with a finger nail and triumphantly wrapped it around what miraculously became the worst rendering of a crab I had ever seen… but it was, unmistakably, a crab…

Still mute, I sipped the hot coffee, holding it with two hands that seemed to resonate with their supportive ‘strong shoulders’, and the figure of the crab before me, with its impromptu and highly coloured paper carapace.

“And now it’s time for the journey of the crab – or, should we say the journey begun in the time of the crab.” With that, he marched the dreadful beast, for which I had developed an unlikely fondness, into the open hull of the coffee-flavoured boat that took up the entire middle of our table.

“Are we missing a Noah?” I asked.

“It’s a very good question, but not necessarily helpful,” he said.

“Then this is a much more generic crab boat?”

“Yes, he said. “This is a boat that sets sail, like a shepherd begins a long summer journey to move his flock of sheep.”

“So the crab is a generic state of mankind?”

“Excellent!” he enthused. “And where do crabs live?”

I was beginning to get it. “They live in two worlds; so, symbolically, they can climb out of a lower one and into a higher.” Something chipped away at another part of my shell and more light came in. “From water – instinct and emotion – to the air of the intellect…” my voice had faded to a whisper.

“Great,” he said, then added, “Not all philosophers have loved them, mind,” He was shaking his head in the general direction of Rose who, presumably, was scowling at his antics from behind the counter. “The Hebrews disliked them so much, they didn’t even give them a name… apart from ‘unclean’!” He rubbed his fingers into the dirty pile of sugar and twinkled them up over my head.

“Key piece missing, though,” he chuckled. “Damned if I can make that from sugar bags and folded newspaper…

I looked up from my intense study of the crab boat to stare at the madman’s flicking fingers, with their twinkling coating of sugar.

“You’re doing the stars, aren’t you–unlikely though it is–you are making a very passible, if lunatic, impression of a night sky arching over a boat with a crab in it?”

I’ll swear there was a tear in his eye, as, he lowered his arms and took hold of his well-earned, if slightly spilled, coffee, which, by then, was probably half cold.

“So, put me out of my misery, dear niece,” he appealed, beaming a genuinely tender look my way. “and tell me what this is all about?”

I took a deep breath, seeing more and more of the pattern, and composed my thoughts… I owed him a very good answer to that question.

Curiously enough, Rose chose that very moment to arrive with two fresh coffees – and a wet cloth which she used to clean up our table, using surprisingly gentle fingers to raise John’s creations out of the way of the all-conquering rag. When she had finished that, she used the cloth to wipe his sugared finger tips, as though he were a naughty child.

It took me a while to realise that she was laughing between the tutting. But, it was a tonic to see him sitting there, helpless, before the force of nature that was Rose, cleaning.
(To be continued)


Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.

All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.

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