Coffee & Breakfast Sandwiches: A Symbolic State Staple

There’s just something about the smell of coffee and a breakfast sandwich on a round roll in the morning that causes a wash of memories and emotion over me.

In no particular order, here’s a list of the thoughts a single whiff can illicit:

Main streets of Jersey towns, the storefronts lit with the gleam of a new day’s sun, doors swinging open & shut to release the smells of morning into the air.

Men, charged with the responsibility to build, manage, and sustain our livelihoods, economy, and infrastructure chat with the deli workers, wait for their order, which both parties understand as the “usual.”

Rough working hands, faces lined with stresses of urban life, manage smiles as they grab the coffee, sandwich, and fold the local paper under their arm upon exit.

The sound of the wax paper wrapping sandwiches, cash registers dinging, brown paper bags folding, are the background music to the backbone of the state workers, preoccupied with thoughts of family, work, and the world’s problems.

Each single deli is a communal starting line of hundreds of individual lives, heading in completely unique directions, and then brought back together for a common purpose the next day.

The coffee and sandwich smells fill the cabins of the contractor’s van, the taxi driver’s cab, the landscaper’s truck, and the doctor’s luxury coupe all the same.

Coffee ignites the senses of each man, driven out of bed, away from children and wives, and slowly eases them toward a purpose. Sandwiches fuel bodies that are tired but willing, soon they will be in motion and the morning will be long forgotten.