After having struggled as an employee in so many coffee shops, she now employs 14 people. In an almost unheard of practice for the café business, she offers them profit-sharing and dental coverage. And she plans on expanding the business even further, maybe opening up to four or five locations. With the proceeds, she hopes to one day open a halfway house for people who have psychotic episodes—a safe place where they can go when they are in trouble.
Tea was a very special institution, revolving as it did around the ceremony and worship of Toast. In a place where alcohol, tobacco and drugs were forbidden, it was essential that something should take their place as a powerful and public totem of virility and cool. Toast, for reasons lost in time, was the substance chosen. Its name was dropped on every possible occasion, usually pronounced, in awful public school accents, 'taste'.
'I was just having some toast, when Burton and Hopwood came round...'
'Harman's not a bad fag actually. He makes really majorly good toast...'
'Yeah, you should come round to my study, maybe, we'll get some toast going...'
'God, I can hardly move. I've just completely overdone it on the toast...'
- Stephen Fry, The Liar
At bottom, Carrelli says, Trouble is a tool for keeping her alive. “I’m trying to stay connected to the self,” she says. Like one of her old notebooks, the shop has become an externalized set of reference points, an index of Carrelli’s identity. It is her greatest source of dependable routine and her most powerful means of expanding her network of friends and acquaintances, which extends now to the shop’s entire clientele. These days, during a walking episode, Carrelli says, a hello from a casual acquaintance in some unfamiliar part of the city might make the difference between whether she makes it home that night or not. “I’m wearing the same outfit every day,” she says. “I take the same routes every day. I own Trouble Coffee so that people recognize my face—so they can help me.”
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