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Opus Magnum

February 27, 2008   Everyone on this campus is really into the Opus scene.  In my early days it was a single Dark-Side coffee shop, that has since expanded into a new location in the Science Center affectionately, and lazily, dubbed Opus 2.  While ostensibly a coffee-shop, Opus has been many things to me. 

While many study and socialize on Opus couches, I never could get into that whole jive-session.  I tried reading Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man there once, and found myself people-watching.  Read a word, watch a person, and the pattern continues.  It's not that people at Hamilton are especially interesting (of course, we do have our share of eccentrics, beauty-queens, fashionistas, Che-ruffians, and body-builders), more just the never-ending line of movement always draws my eye.  It's like when I was a child at a slumber party: if there was a Godzilla movie flickering on the screen I could not sleep, no matter how red my eyes would get.  While my mind craves the furious movement beneath the abstraction of words, my eyes seek out the mundaneity of everyday movement, with all its attendant causative stimuli.  So, anyway, long story short, I never was an Opus man.  It was a transit cookie shop for two years of my college life.

Then I started to notice something.  People would line up, through couches, walkways, tables and chairs, all the way to the doors of the auditorium, to purchase whatever the day's chalkboard promised.  I have a friend who plans in advance for mango and brie panini day.  I did nothing.  The dining hall was an extra twenty feet, and free was usually the price that most attracts my attention.  My foolishness was made clear to me one day last week, when the individual threads of my interest clumped in my room, overwhelming me with the force of its message.  Apolon walked in, jittering and stuttering in an endearing manner, bearing in front of him, like the Olympic torch, Opus' flagship beverage: the Opus Magnum.  The beverage is a simple mixture of coffee, multiple espresso shots, and a partaker confident enough in his or her sense of self.  The drink is mood-altering, to say the least.  It also happens to be delicious.  So now, I too, the perennial passer-by, shop at Opus.  Not for study-aids, Opus Magnum is a bit too strong for focus, but for the unbeatable test of one's control over one's own blood system. 

They make a fine chai as well.  And someday I'll get to that mango and brie panini.