10 December: “Suspended Coffee Day” 

In a well-known Italian novel, a certain Professor Bellavista, while giving one of his philosophy classes to his condominium neighbours, explains to them that Mankind is divided in two categories: “men of love” and “men of freedom”. The former prefer having a bath, because it’s a moment when they can let their imagination run free, the latter are in favour of taking a shower because it’s practical, quick and inexpensive. Men of love are endlessly hugging; men of freedom can only tolerate air. Men of freedom prefer Christmas trees, men of love prefer nativity crèches. Having made such a distinction, the novel’s author, Luciano De Crescenzo, divides the Italians – northerners and southerners, with Milan and Naples as their respective capitals – into these two categories. He then goes on to describe a dual Europe, where the art of loving is adopted by the Spaniards, Greeks and Irish, while the philosophy of self-importance is definitely the prerogative of the Scandinavians, Germans and British – the French being split between one side of the fence and the other.

But it is a fact that the Neapolitan “suspended coffee” tradition (i.e. consuming a cup of coffee and paying for two so that a hard-on-their-luck customer can be served a coffee for free) has managed to win over also the Lombards, Gauls and Alemanni. Whether one goes north or south, “suspended groceries” are becoming increasingly commonplace, and rumour has even reached us of a suspended baguette tradition.

If this means that the frontiers between emotions and cognition have been broken down, then we can safely say that the so-called men of love have transformed Europe into a cocktail in which diversities co-exist side-by-side… a wonderful “suspended world”, one might say. And to think it all started off with a cup of coffee!

Name Day:
St Maurus