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When the Community Board is Empty

Most of you know that I have recently moved. I live in a very strange community that has come to make me appreciate the effects of foreign property investment on our ‘communities’.  In effect, all of the empty grand homes in our neighbourhood  are mostly empty, with lights on timers, regular professional landscaping, and someone who clears the local newspaper and flyer delivery from their front porch. There is no neighbourhood here, only bank accounts in the form of houses.

It robs us of community. It robs us of mom and pop shops able to keep their doors open to provide goods and services for the neighbourhood.

Yesterday I popped in to a local  Starbucks for a delightfully refreshing iced drink, and while I was waiting for my sweetie’s pour-over, I turn to the community board as I’m often want to do.

This is what I saw;

A picture is worth a thousand words. Nothing. There is regularly nothing related to community posted on this board. Despite there being a steady stream of people in line to buy their caffeinated bevvies at all hours through the weekdays and on the weekends, there is little if any sense of community.

I’m a writer, and admittedly, I’ve spent way too much time in coffee shops picking away at my keyboard, and I’ve spent way too much money on coffee. I have however honed a keen sense of place while I’m out and about mooching free office space.

I have never (not even once) settled into this location for my hour long writing sessions, arranged for a meeting with friends, or lingered any longer than it takes to make my Sunday-morning-one-bag-in-one-bag-out herbal tea.

This weekend in Toronto while getting settled in to a workshop, I was recommended to a coffee shop just down the street from where we were gathering. And this is what their community board looked like;

 

img_1025
Mallo – Located at 785 Bathurst Street. Worth becoming a regular meet-up spot. Definitely make time to try their absolutely delish menu.

I stopped, took off my coat, enjoyed a cup of tea, and ordered one to go. The staff were so friendly, and vibe was so great, that I came back again after my workshop and tried their menu with a pal who was in the neighbourhood. $70.00 later I felt like I had a new place to add to my favourites. Lesson learned; a sense of community translates to profit.

Earlier this week, I was back in my old stomping grounds at my favourite Starbucks in Mississauga, and their community board looked like this;

community board

 

When your community boards are empty at informal meeting spaces like coffee shops, there is a fundamental problem within the local community. There is a disconnect.  People go out to write, to gather, and to get their over-priced half-caf-low-fat-made-exclusively-for-me beverages because they are craving connection as much as they are craving sugar and caffeine.

When your community board is empty, I challenge you to go out and find one that is overflowing with posters for yoga in the park,  poetry readings, amateur nights at the local coffee house. I guarantee you’ll be a happier, healthier person.

 

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NaNoWriMo – My First Time

writersclockI’ve been writing, and chiding myself for not writing enough for what seems like a life time.

Often my blogs are a ritual of sorts before I get down to the real business of writing my novel.

My poor novel.

It’s been neglected for a couple of years now, and it’s time I either gave it wings, or set it free to find someone else to write the story. I am a believer in the vision of creativity that Elizabeth Gilbert explains in Big Magic ; Either use it or lose it, and I’m on the very precipice of losing it.

Already there is a movie in the theatres called, Mother. That’s the main character of my novel, and just a couple weeks ago I met a dog named Clover…another character in my novel.

The universe is sending me signs that it’s time to write or drop my pen. So, I’ve decided I must make a serious commitment to my writing.

This is the year I commit to NaNoWriMo. This is the year the rest of the things that tug on my shirt tails for attention get a swat.  This is the year that I re-establish myself as a regular at a local coffee shop and get lost in my own little world of characters and creativity.

…and all that I can think is…YAY!!!

Andshelaughs · Comedy · Customer Feedback · Girl Stuff · Guy Stuff · Humor · Humour · Life · Living · Starbucks · Starbucks Canada · Starbucks Reviews · Wisdom

Dear Starbucks,

starbucks2015This letter has been coming for a long time. An event this weekend encouraged me to reach out to you, my beloved.

First of all, let me say that I adore you.

I love everything about you. I love your dark wooden décor, and your comfy leather chairs. I love your hipster music, and the red cups and aprons you’ve brought to us for  the winter holiday season.

I love that you are a relaxed place for dates, getting together with the girls, and allow writers like myself to occupy a table for an hour or two with just enough stimulation to feel like we’re not crazy, isolated artists.

As a self-proclaimed city girl, I am convinced that I could not survive winter without your eggnog lattes and cranberry bliss bars. Simply put, you are one of the simple pleasures in my life. I love you.

I love you so much that I must share with you a little suggestion regarding your tea. You see, as much as I live for your coffee, I also adore your tea. Youthberry is my favourite followed closely by Peach Tranquility. Your tea is often my most reliable counselor during times of self-doubt and rejection. It is however rather hazardous to drink. if I’m not enjoying the ambiance in-house, I’m likely enjoying your beverages and nummies on-the-go.

Which brings me to the tea. Yesterday, the cute, little, paper tab attached to the string on the bag was tucked directly under the little sippy hole. I’d gone through one of your drive-thrus prior to getting on a very busy highway for a roadtrip. Did you know that the cottons string wicks the moisture from the tea, soaks the little paper tab, causing it to drip down the side of the cup? Perhaps you didn’t. Well, it does, and it gets kinda messy.

Whilst trying very hard not to get wet from the drippy tab yesterday, the lid of the venti cup popped off as the paper cup folded, and splashed boiling hot tea all over my hand, my lap, and inadvertently, the steering wheel.  Fortunately I had a co-pilot with quick hands and a lovely sense of humour.

We managed with giggles no-less, (while still in 120 km+, four lane traffic) to wipe the steering wheel and wedge all of the serviettes I had prudently stashed in the glove box under my soaking wet derriere. I managed to drive to the nearest service centre, all the while holding my plump rump up off the seat, kind of like holding a 120 km an hour squat  for ten minutes.

My pinky finger was burned, as was my pride, but it could have been worse had I not been an old experienced driver. A precautionary word to drivers – you may wish to order two beverages instead of a venti.

My darling, precious, true-love coffee-house Starbucks, my suggestion to you is two-fold; please fix the tea bag wicking problem, and think of a way to make your venti cup design less tippy, less likely to collapse, and still hold all of the nummy-nom-nom goodness that your beverages are known for.

Please know that I relate my tale of warm-woe to you so that you can simply become more awesome.

Your most devoted fan,

Andshelaughs