On most days, I frequent a Starbucks in my locale. I used to drive all the way downtown, to my fave cafe in all of Toronto, Ezra’s Pound, whose environment I’m still certain brought out my utmost creativity. But as I caught myself driving back and forth in traffic, looking for downtown parking, ensuring I only stayed at said cafe long enough to avoid an inevitable parking ticket for inhibiting a spot on the road for over two-plus hours, I made a grand (and much needed) realization. That the environment in which I surround myself in, shouldn’t matter as much as feeling confident and comfortable in the environment of my own mind. I realized that it was about high time (a handful of parking tickets to be paid later) that I become more adaptable; more realistic. More brave.
I decided to go to just your everyday, basic, Starbucks, the one closest to my abode up in the suburbs. At first I missed the quirky indie music, and the edgy looking baristas. But then, something magical happened; I created a home. I inevitably developed relationships with regulars and baristas alike. I begun both looking forward to – and loathing – our transactions (the latter due to being deadline ridden and not being able to be abrupt and end conversation.) It is through consistency that I was able to develop strong bonds and a comfort next to none. These are the people in my neighbourhood. Mothers, children, elders, police, and the people who work at the grocery store in the same plaza. I have a Starbucks dad – a man who is currently in the hospital and who I miss dearly, everyday when the clock hits 3:30pm and he fails to enter this specific Starbucks.
It’s really rather wondrous the bonds we create if only we allow ourselves to do just that. Ezra’s Pound, a cafe only open until 4:30pm, was a place for us ‘artistic’ types to go and work on our scripts/music/articles alike. This didn’t call for much conversation as – if you know anything about artists – we are all narcissists at heart. So to enter into a completely different world, whether it be commercial or what not, was to open myself up to change.
I now look forward to certain scenes that tend to play on repeat here. The elderly-80something couple who spend time at a table with books, newspaper, banter and hand holding, despite their inability to barely be able to walk to the counter. I admire the women who come here in their workout gear, making time to engage with their friends despite an obviously busy life.
An interesting thing happens when you take in your surroundings. You learn. You grow. You blossom. And know too, that you just being present has an equal effect on others as well.
– Jenny Jen