Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to go visit the first real coffeehouse I'd ever patronized, back in the day. For the most part, it looks exactly like it did when I used to go there almost daily back in the mid-90s -- same gold walls, same delicious caffeinated drinks, same cake-slices-as-big-as-my-head. Awesome.
I started coming here on a regular basis just after my first marriage ended: I'd moved out of the safe suburb outside of town where my ex and I had lived, choosing instead to find an apartment closer to downtown and closer to city life. Until that point, I'd lived in safe, homogenous, suburban neighbourhoods all my life (both here and in Trinidad), and despite the fact that I'd traveled extensively by that point, the experience was so eye-opening. I hadn't realized how sheltered I'd been. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it was at this coffeehouse where ...
... I finally realized that choosing an artistic life as a career is just as valid choosing science or engineering as a profession...
... it finally dawned on me that tattoos weren't solely the domain of large, mean-looking men dedicated to a life of crime, but actually a form of art and expression that men and women from all walks of life enjoy ...
... it first occurred to me that having a college degree isn't the sole indicator of intelligence (and, in fact, sometimes isn't an indicator of intelligence at all) ...
... I really, really understood that professors, doctors, artists, architects, dancers, tattoo artists, models, and, yes, dominatrices (long story) actually come in all (and sometimes surprising) shapes and sizes.
In other words, this was the coffeehouse where I finally grew the hell up. And now that I think about it (and although I wouldn't have known how to articulate it at the time), it was the place where I first realized I'd been the victim of many single stories. It's where I finally opened my eyes.
I don't visit this coffeehouse as much as I used to. It's incredibly popular, sometimes even visited by famous people (Jeff Goldblum and Mary Steenburgen once walked by me to grab their cappuccinos here) -- but as a result, it's often a little too bustle-y for my liking, so I usually bypass it for my favourite quiet coffeehouse up the street. Still, I feel very nostalgic when I do come here.
It was a good place to grow up.
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Some breaking news: The new book Kirtsy Takes a Bow, will be officially released November 15th! In celebration, Kirtsy is throwing a number of launch events around the country, and the first one is right here in Houston:
The Kirtsy Book Event Tour of Justice
Tuesday, November 17: Houston
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Sterrett Street Studio
1305 Sterrett Street, Houston, TX 77002
I'll definitely be there, as will a number of other contributors, to meet, greet and sign books. It'll all be very cocktail-party-like and fabulous. If you're in town that day, I hope you'll stop by.