Coffee and Butterflies at Voxx

All around this city's cafes, a great metamorphosis is in process, hailing the arrival of December freedom. Students, blinking sleepily, are emerging from their cocoons of books and finals to take up their callings as the social butterflies they were meant to be. Finally acting on all their worn threats to "get coffee together sometime," couples are sitting shyly across tables from one another, being awkwardly intentional with their eyes and their hands as they try to dust off and remember their finer social skills.

Tucked into the corner of Voxx Coffee in Eastlake on a sunny weekend afternoon, I am enjoying the show. People in pairs or as individuals are slowly waking up, stretching their metaphorical wings in the daylight, over coffee and pastries, with uncertain body language. Energy is high and hopeful, coffee cups poised mid-air in earnest conversation. This is winter break.

I miss those sudden 10-day holidays from school, when all of life's demands would come to a grinding and anticlimactic halt, announcing that it was time for you to go and play for a bit. But even as I miss it, it's fun to remember, and there is no better place to remember than in a small coffee shop that is designed for intimate conversation.

Voxx Coffee, one of the rare decent coffee houses in the Eastlake neighborhood of Seattle, is situated on the corner of Eastlake and Lynn, right across from The Zoo, and easily missed if you're not looking for it. The interior has a sense of being sparse and practical, due to a repetitive use of simple geometric shapes, and exposed structure. Layered on top of that foundational sense, however, are the decadent smell of coffee and sandwiches, a wine and beer list, and a comfortable, upholstered (sound-absorbing) horseshoe shaped bench running the entirety of the main room. There isn't an unoccupied table in sight, but the cafe sounds neither empty nor full, compliments of the acoustic juxtaposition of concrete and couches.

Voxx serves Stumptown's "hair bender" espresso and an assortment of pastries, mostly from Macrina and Flying Apron, with a sandwich menu supplied by Mike's East Coast Sandwiches. The baristas are solidly skilled, and it is one of the few cafes in Seattle to offer the non-dairy option of almond milk (a personal favorite, if perhaps an acquired taste).

Stop by this week, before all the patrons flutter off home for Christmas, and be reminded that it's a good thing to switch up life's daily rhythm from time to time. Perhaps you'll be inspired to sit down - even if it's not for more than a few minutes - with another human being, and enjoy the challenges of face to face conversation.

...Or, you could opt to be like the amiable fellow in here who is sitting alone, communing with his latte, and laughing out loud at his laptop. Never mind all this nonsense about butterflies.

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