There was a coffee shop in the hills of York County that took up the inside corner of a cluster of businesses. The buildings were grey and made to mimic old german facade, with the hardwood latticing and outlines that always make something in my soul strike. It changed hands, the corner coffee shop, and once in 2010 and maybe still now? was a Starbucks. I remember the year it happened because it was the first time I’d ever gone to a Starbucks to write.
Until then I felt above Starbucks and avoided it for some reason I loosely affiliated with as being punk. I was in my early 30’s and mostly had no money and so mostly punk back then was an easy way to see my life through. In 2010 I went to the Starbucks in the hills of York County because I was practicing coda recovery, and decided to take a time-out from my family system. Starbucks was there, when I showed up at the closest coffee shop I could get to so I could go write.
A year after that I was on a solo trip living out of my car. I had a gas fund of under a grand and about $1200 extra in a brown paper bag with me and no real plan other than see if I could go reinvent myself in California. Somewhere in the middle of Arkansas the earth was so parched I started towards heat stroke but didn’t know it so I was weary and drowsy and on the verge of hallucinations all the way to Oklahoma. There was a Starbucks there then for me too, on one side of a camp trip into or from a national forest or rustic site during that red zone heat stroke midwest summer that broke records that year, the first for that area maybe in what’s now become a trend.
I lived for five months the following year on Main Street in Huntington Beach just inland enough to be in walking distance to the last open Blockbuster in the area and a Starbucks. Also in the other direction some unreal homemade donuts and the best Mexican food I knew but those are stories for other times. In Huntington I got myself an older beachcruiser from a bike shop that had a nice used selection and Starbucks to write became for a while my second home. By the summer after that, 2013, the Starbucks on the corner of PCH in Laguna Beach was one of three coffee spots I went to weekly, for the whole of the three years I settled a bit and cozied in the place in the canyon there. There were two homeless folks, both with mental health edges blurring static reality who frequented that one, too. Protected by the downtown locals. They became steady companions of mine.
Anyway what’s more punk is you showing up to your own process and sticking to it the more the culture tries to deaden you to yourself.
Anyway reinventing yourself is real feels like a message that brought me here today to the Starbucks down by the college, on the side of town with all the eateries where I don’t normally go. I am out touch with the youth here in as much as they don’t see me because I blend in like the middle-aged Karen maybe some beachy looking probably mom. It is good to sit here in their presence, think about what they have to teach me and us. Thinking about access. Creative process. Thinking about punk. Knowing also at least in some ways who I am and how that happened, what it means to stand safely on my home ground taking my shot.
There is something in the air, the jasmine heady and fragrant and showy in bloom, calling to me from along the Wicomico River close to my therapist’s office. There is friction but too right now in front of my eyes so much joy and laughter, tenderness. There is love. There is bloom. It is mid-September and all around buds are just opening even as near as it is to Fall; I am so, so grateful to witness this, too.
2 responses to “Small love letter of thanks”
Love this. Your use of the punk concept was effective and true.
Beautiful Kelly so glad you’re writing again. You continue to amaze me. Talk to you soon🥰