I know how this next bit is going to sound. Unbelievable. Unlikely. But I type truth.
I was born and raise (mostly) in the Mobile area and I have never been to Carpe Diem. I regret not spending time here before because it’s simply a lovely establishment. It is everything you want in a quaint, independent coffeehouse.
I drove up and there was one parking spot available. The air outside the little house converted into a coffeehouse was lightly scented and we all inhaled deeply. They were roasting coffee.
There was a group of college students in the area up front, all hunched over notebooks and laptops. The coffee and pastries littered every surface, book bags and nap sacks strewn across the wooden floor. There was an air of urgency to them.
The back room had a few moms on lunch dates and a business man or two sitting. It was well lit with local art peppering the walls.
The coffee was smooth and robust. The chai was creamy and spicy. The staff was kind and efficient.
But then there was Jerry. Sitting comfortably on the sofa, observing the atmosphere as he sipped his drink. I asked to sit next to him.
He was almost engaged once, never had any children. A librarian with an air of calm tragedy. He has cats, a boy and two girls. He smelled like coffee and old spice and reminded me easily of my grandfather.
Then a baby crawled into the main room from the back. A tiny plump thing with blond hair and round cheeks. The baby crawled here and there, into the center of the room. People stepped around the baby and smiled. Minutes went by. Longer than is acceptable. Everyone started looking around for the parent. Suddenly a woman came running frantically into the room and scooped up the baby.
Slowly our coffee disappeared, patrons came and went. Jerry watched everyone casually.
This coffeehouse has been here for over 20 years, the place has a constant stream of customers. I can easily see why.
I’ll be back here for another chai.