I can admit this: I like my morning coffee a bit much. Same for coffee in the afternoon.

I’m not sure the shift toward very well made and handsomely priced coffee in endless varieties is best thing in the world, but weighed against the world’s many vices, trials and troubles, it’s harmless.

We have choices. A dollar or so for a cup that’s quick, hot and good enough. Or two or three bucks for something perhaps brewed on the spot, in a cup that’s not an environmental disaster, probably served in a space that invites you to take a breath and enjoy the most precious part of the day, a moment of quiet and pause.

Our choices add up, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot. These are tense and tenuous times. Let’s just say that each day it feels as if things are on edge.

They say people are turning more to what they can do in their immediate communities to make a difference, and in my observation there’s something to that. Respond to the anxiety of our days with work toward some good purpose. Help at school, help at church, plant a tree, run for office. Something.

Something that runs roughly along these same lines is remembering to not take for granted what we have. Yes, the sweetest things in life are free, but our day-to-day choices matter, too. I’ve been trying to put a little more of my money into the things I want to have around for a long time.

Kansas City is not alone in steadily running out of bookstores. We are poorer for it. I like the big-box bookstore just fine. It’s reliable. It’s spotless and well lit. But the older style, where you might discover something new, funky and challenging in the musty shelves, also has great value. I’ll do some of my Christmas shopping at one or two of those.

The same is true for locally owned and blessedly distinctive gift shops, movie theaters – I like movies a bit much as well – and other places. Put your money into what you want tomorrow.

Like coffee houses. Now let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not unvarnished civic virtue to spend more than you need to, and spend locally, for the cup of coffee you’re going to drink anyway.

But choices add up. We have fewer bookstores. Bad. We have more great coffee. Good. Support it while it’s there. Nothing lasts forever.

– Reach Jeff Fox at jeff.fox@examiner.net. He’s on Twitter: @FoxEJC