August 11, 2008

Silence and noise

How do two weeks go by so fast?

So much to do, so much time, for a change

Avoiding most of it in favour of sleeping, reading and

6 hours a week of Dexter episodes

My god, when it’s not on the TV screen it doesn’t feel like it’s TV

6 hours in a weekend of transit riding

I forced myself to take a break, stay home, catch up, rest, revitalize, restore

And caught up on Dexter episodes missed the previous nights

Fed by Darkly Dreaming Dexter, its parent which

so inspires more writing, more creativity with its intricate words but somehow

when I want to do any of it, there’s something else to be done…

like going to bed. Or not waking up sleeping children downstairs

(as is the case with the piano).

Feeling ambitious but lazy, motivated but tired

Energized by long bike rides, sexy design and a potential purchase

that had to wait because dinner would be better than sitting on a bus.

Two weeks’ absence feels like less when I write snippets in between,

pieces that are waiting for completion as I contemplate them further

and think of things to add.

Ahh — I have one.

August 7th, lunchtime

I’m sitting in Meinhardt’s on Granville (at 14th), having a delicious mini goat yogurt.

Smooth jazz music is playing overhead and I hear people talking everywhere around me. In the windowsill are two glorious orchids, with more outside among the other plants. A woman just took away one in the sill, in a sexy wrap and bag. People here are so polite and friendly. I have to break out of my shy, suburbanite shell.

Now if only there weren’t cars outside.

This store has the atmosphere, organization and products of a Capers or Choices type, with warm lighting, cosy compactness and plenty of eye candy. There is not so much as a hint of the cheap-cheap-cheap no name ugly food-like crap that is such a staple at Superstore. (I hate that place with a passion.) The cashiers are friendly, warm, and you interface with them as you walk up straight at them like any normal store. They don’t give off the sense that they just want to get out of there. At Superstore sometimes they don’t even say hi. But then I guess they’re not paid to act human.

This place is romantic, relaxing and very European-feeling. Yeah, I could get used to this!

Just wish it had wifi nearby. I’m chicken-scratching on my notepad.

Nobody’s in a hurry there. The din of voices in the background suggests conversation, something that I’ve read is more likely to occur at a farmer’s market than a regular grocery store, and though I don’t remember why, I can guess, and it makes perfect sense. Everyone says hello, and instead of trying to get on with what suburbanites call a life, they’re living life… being around people. And no kidding, they’re not standing under a 20-foot-tall ceiling and metal hallide lights, waiting for the 10 pm closing and pretending to talk to too many people. When you have a lineup, who has time to talk? And when your customers just want out because the place is so sterile, who wants to stick around? Let’s face it, the only reason Superstore exists is because it’s a cheap, one-stop shopping, cheap (yes I know I said that already) place to get the daily bread. Not as cheap as it looks once you fill that massive cart, but that’s ok, you’ll come back again and again. I did, all the while devising ways of going there less often.

The small footprint of Meinhardt’s also means you don’t walk a kilometer (and then run back again when you realise you’ve forgotten something) just to make the rounds of the shelves. In fact, you probably walked to the store and will walk home again, which is much more pleasant! And they do have everything necessary for your daily meals. That’s the beauty of it. Just food, everywhere. Expensive, yes, but… what’s the price of the experience? I’m sure much of it is the cost of rent — no doubt it’s steep on South Granville. No ugly-fronted, unkempt stores down there. The consignment stores must make good money. And there are so many people on the street. Though busy, it’s relaxing… it doesn’t have the same quickly!-point-A-to-point-B feel as do many downtown streets, from my memory anyway. Or maybe it’s just me. Gastown felt fast-paced but that’s because I stormed through there except on lunchbreaks… when it did feel relaxing. Ah, see… it’s just me. When I’m in a hurry, the slow-moving seem fast. In Meinhardt’s I just perused with curiosity, bewilderment, and adoration. It’s going to create a culture shock next time I go anywhere else.

From their website:

“Food is romance.

Food is adventure.

Food is travel withought going anywhere.

Food is history.

Food not only transcends language, it offers a language of its own.

Food is sensuous.

Food is colour, texture and possibility.

Food is life.”

Everything a Taurus could ever desire in a store. No wonder I like it.