the star in a buck.
01/02/2012 § 2 Comments
I had an alias by the name of Briz Wevera. This aspect of myself believed in the people, was against the tyranny of major corporations, and an avid supporter of grassroots movements. She held strong to these principles, passing on the potential of a round at Monopoly, against conglomerates and amalgamation and selling out.
She still lives, but has learned a little humility from real life circumstances.
The other night, we experienced a loss of a loved one. Our kitten passed away, premature in life but, oh, what a full life of love it was. It was painful to watch, to endure, to come home from work to. For a moment, darkness crept into the Sheridan home: Tears, “what ifs” and “shoulda, woulda, couldas”.
I needed some space, because the brave face can only save itself for so long. I remember once being told I was as tough as stone, but chisel away long enough and there is nothing but molten brie beneath the surface. I decided it was necessary to find a bar or coffee shop to sit and write some notes about my thoughts and feelings, to gournal away for another time’s reflections.
On the streets, I could feel the cold from the sidewalk coming through my boots. But, I walked and walked, looking for a place with bright lights and cozy chairs. The bars were dark, too dark. The restaurants were too busy. Can’t a girl get a little space, was all I could wonder.
It was nine o’clock p.m. — almost insidious to think post mortem — and I walked along Dundas, Dovercourt up to College. And there it was, the only coffee shop open at that time: Starbucks. I have never been a fan of Starbucks. It was partially a political thing and partially a taste preference of coffee-snobbing. Still, the reality for the need for some quiet time and caffeine had jolted me into impulse indulgence. Inside, the fluorescent lighting was slightly obtrusive, but the consistency of space allowed me to automatically order a tall latte and ginger molasses cookie. It was convenient because in the moment I didn’t want to think, I wanted to feel. I wanted to purge on paper.
Perhaps there is something wrong with this notion: that a coffee shop that gains ground is able to psychologically dissect the masses into what they need: consistency and comfort. Eventually, it made me wonder whether that is corporately immoral?
With so many struggles in life — change, death, life, inconsistency — is it really all that bad to be reliable in superficial ways?
I remember sitting in a McDonald’s in Buenos Aires with a friend from the United States. Although there were meat and sausage shops all around with better quality food, they were usually jam-packed with regulars. This McDonald’s was off one of the main streets, Paseo Colon, but inside you felt like you could be anywhere:
“It’s funny. Whenever I am feeling a little homesick, I just want a fudge sundae and french fries. When I come here, I feel a little at ease and not so overwhelmed with it all.”
It pulled me back a little and took me in. I could give advice, tell her to ride the wave, to be where her hands are, to offer to eat some empanadas, but I knew I couldn’t. This was all too familiar a scene and the only thing I could think of doing was taking a french fry — pureed potato gel mash — and dip it into the hot fudge sundae — whipped oil-by-product. We sat in silence and relished the comforts of The Man-made home.
When your home, the one you go to every night, becomes turbulent where are you supposed to go for breathing space? In a city where space can be limiting, the feeling of anonymity is a challenge. There is too much going on at home, your coffee shop is closed, the bar is too intimate, the windows are too big in that restaurant, the library is closing in five minutes… Sometimes you choose the next best thing: Mine was sitting for an hour in a Starbucks, finding the fluorescent light within a dark night.
Viva la vida.