Thursday, July 2, 2015

Plant Your Feet Somewhere

One way to feel at home anywhere that you are is to have people you love around you. Another way to feel at home anywhere that you are is to find a place where you can plant your feet, even if just for a little while. It doesn't have to have a solid roof or a comfortable bed. It can just be somewhere to sit.

There's a small coffee shop downtown, where the barista will greet you in comfortable jeans and a t-shirt, hair cut in a pixie style--flopped over to one side of her face--and say, "What can I get you?" The bar in the coffee shop wraps around in a semi-circle that ends in a glass case full of scones, sandwiches and bagels. All experiments with different fruits, vegetables and cheeses--sometimes hybrids of all three. They only take cash at this coffee shop, but the paninis are pressed, the bagels are toasted and the scones are warm. The benches and chairs are hard, polished wood. Not the most comfortable, but they're sturdy. You can find focus there. 

I have a favorite: It's an Almond Joy-inspired coffee with almond milk. The coconut and almond blend perfectly, iced or hot. When I'm done ordering, I take my coffee with a smile and go to the bookstore next door. There are several stretched across those few, adjacent streets--some with shelves and books crammed into tiny spaces, some large and impressive with space for other novelties and merchandise. Sometimes instead of going next door, I explore them all.

No matter how old or new, the secondhand bookstores are cloaked in the smell of moth balls and worn pages passed between many hands. There's a section on the top floor of my favorite bookstore where old National Geographic magazines sit and collect dust. The October 1910 edition's cover stories are "The Portuguese Colony of Mozambique," "The Lost Wealth of the Kings of Midas," "A Talk About Persia and Its Women," "The Greatness of Little Portugal," and "The Woods and Gardens of Portugal."

I open up the plain paper, almost ripping at the corners from the slightest touch and read each headline, skimming the copy. I imagine the gardens, the kings and the women. I wonder what it must be like to be in the early 1900s as a travel journalist. I thought about the books covering the shelves nearby, telling stories of people and places I've never seen with my own eyes. I imagine a photographer with a Newsies-styled paperboy cap and camera sitting on a log, feet planted, pointing his lens towards the next big story.

4 comments:

  1. This was such a good read. I always feel "at home" in my local coffee shop, and completely adore your description of that book store. I love old smells, and pawing through old National Geographics.

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    1. Yes! I used to collect National Geographics and subscribed when I was a kid to the real ones, not the kid-versions. I wanted to be a travel journalist and photographer. Sometimes I still want that.

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  2. Sounds magical! I would love to see these old NatGeo mags! My boyfriend and I like to do a similar thing when we have time. We grab a coffee at our favourite coffee shop around the corner and go to an alternative book store that has the most unique coffee-table books about streetart, duck breeding, rubber gloves and other funny things ;)

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    1. Oooh I love the sound of that, too! :D

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