I stayed with a friend over the weekend who made me lattes. I used to have a bialetti, but I gave it away because no one ever really wanted to share a half a cup of straight espresso, and its wasted existence depressed me. Jenny owns a mini bialetti and a mini saucepan. She packs the espresso into the canister and pours the milk into the saucepan, puts them both on the same burner on low for a few minutes and suddenly–while you page through a magazine wondering if you’re going to get the chance to get real coffee at some point today–this milky frothy creature of caffeinated serenity is handed to you.

I find it easier to adapt other people’s habits if I can watch them in practice. Jenny said she learned to make her latte from her aunt, and she carried the tradition to Denver. I may just carry it right back to Boston. Habits learned this way can be delightful, or they can be the strangest part of a person. You might not really know why you even have that habit. If I get a letter in the mail, and I don’t have fifteen minutes to mull it over, I save it until I do–even if that means six hours later. Joe will rip it open as he walks back from the mailbox, and read the first line out loud before he even reads through the whole thing. Same thing with early-to-arrive birthday presents.

There was a scene in a movie, whose title has unjustly faded into the carefully filed but illegibly labeled drawers of my memory, where a woman used her mixing spoon–the little spoon usually provided with coffee, set on the saucer along the cup–to measure out her sugar before she poured it in her cup. I was shocked. I had never thought to use the spoon that way. I dump the sugar in, pretending to be calibrating but really just furiously shaking it out, and then use the spoon to mix it around.

Things I wished this worked for, but no luck so far: hair stylist doing my hair, ballroom dancing, origami master.

photo from Angelo 60 because I wasn’t quite thoughtful enough to take a picture in jenny’s kitchen.