Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I Love This City
Whenever I have some thinking to do, I like to get out and walk around the city. I feel safer going out for a stroll here than I ever did in the suburbs. That weird, eerie quiet in all the neighborhoods I lived in was unnerving. I was sure people were watching from behind their carefully chosen drapes.
But in the middle of the city I can be invisible. I can walk and get completely lost in my thoughts, knowing I'm just another stranger among strangers.
Hmm...that may have sounded paranoid and sad. Hold off on your intervention. When you're a woman walking around anywhere alone you have to be aware of your surroundings. It's been drilled into our heads. As a result, in certain situations, my safety consumes my thoughts. I've found that isn't the case here in Calgary. So when I have a decision to make or a problem to solve, I hit the path along the river and let my brain go to work.
Sunday I was in the mood for a new route while I tried to figure out why I'm having so much trouble writing lately. I headed over the river to the section of Calgary called Kensington. It's a very cool, youth-oriented area with consignment shops, tea parlors, restaurants and head shops. Lots of skinny jeans, eyeliner and jacked-up hair. And that's just the guys. It's an active, interesting, vibrant place to walk around where I always feel COMPLETELY out of place. ha.
I put the deep-thinking on the back burner, determined to explore Kensington Avenue without turning around after one block due to my glaring uncoolness. "That's right! I'm old, but you will NOT drive me away with your hipper-than-thou attitude!"
I looked in the windows of a cupcake shop, a furniture store and browsed around a resale clothing store. The prices were unlike what I'm used to seeing in the states. A pair of (gorgeous) used gloves were $20. Purses were forty and fifty dollars. Still, I enjoyed running my fingers over these gems and peering at the vintage jewelry in glass cases.
Back on the street, I spotted a Starbucks on the corner that made my heart leap a bit due to its familiarity- an oasis in a sea of strangeness. Alas (why am I suddenly writing like the author of a Harlequin romance?), the interior was dark, so I assumed it was closed. Someone pushed open its door just then and stepped out onto the sidewalk. Yay!
This had to be the coolest Starbucks I've ever been in. I expected someone to stand up and begin reciting poetry at any moment, followed by the finger-snapping approval of the audience. Nothing unusual happened, though. I ordered a latte, couldn't find an empty chair and left. I plan to go back when it's not so crowded.
I felt good. Sipping my Starbucks booty as I crossed back over the bridge, I stopped to admire the ice sculptures the river had created all by itself and wrote, in my head, the first few lines of a new story.
This city seems to be good for me. I love it.
And now, if you don't mind, I'm going to pack up my laptop and head over to my new favorite Starbucks. I'm in the mood to do a little writing.