Yes, we Canadians do have big issues.
Last Thursday I challenged myself to not be a coffee snob and write in a Tim Horton’s coffee shop (Can I Write with a Double Double?). My adventure was more than a little interesting. For thirty minutes, early on Saturday morning, I soaked in the culture, drank coffee and enjoyed the view.
This Timmy’s is open 24/7, but dawn was a good time to be there.
The sun was rising over the coastal mountains peaking above clouds in the distance ( not visible in this photo ), the harbor is in front.
I found “Timmy’s” a place of inspiration, a place where ideas about characters and dialogue flow… but it’s not “a get down and dirty” writing place for me. That is, I didn’t’ crack my laptop.
Standing in the coffee line-up at 7:40, I listened to one man ahead of me greet a friend and tell him about a curling tournament he was in. (Can’t get much more Canadian than that, eh.) In a voice laced with humble pride he explained he’s going to the Nationals this year. The friend acknowledged this information with a few manly nods, but was more concerned about the trailer parked in front of the guy’s house. “Is it for sale?”
A group of twelve senior men sitting at two tables near the washroom talked loudly, too loudly, and laughed a lot. I sensed the loudness of the banter signified something, but I’m not sure what.
I sat down with a “medium coffee double cream” and a breakfast sandwich, which I later regretted.
The woman opposite me looked to be in her forties, plain looking with stringy hair and a weathered face that spoke of a difficult life. She was someone to watch. She started with arm stretches in the air like a cat flexing its claws. She greeted four people who came through the door and chatted with each one. For her the place was like “Cheers” in the TV show, a place where everyone knows your name. She read a newspaper over the shoulder of a man sitting at the table next to hers. I was waiting for him to complain, but after a few minutes he turned and smiled at her. They started a conversation about the headlines. She said, “You’re a stubborn man aren’t you. I feel sorry for your wife.” Go figure. She tried to make eye-contact with me. I put my head down and scribbled. I wanted to be an observer, not a participant.
The coffee line up was steady, men of all ages wearing ball caps, two children in toques, Mom’s looking tired. A large man in a Hawaiian shirt and cowboy hat sat in the corner taking in the scene. A woman sewed feathers together as she drank her coffee. Was she making a dream catcher or a headpiece? A petite blonde woman in scrubs bustled in. Her shift at the medical clinic down the street must be starting soon. A west-coast Canadian Montague, a place where you feel like you’ve stepped in from the cold to join your people. …and I sat there scribbling, as weird and wonderful as all the rest.
At 8:10 the line-up lengthened, the room filled. It was time for me to move on. I walked a few blocks to “Serious Coffee” and spent two hours on my laptop. It was a great morning and I think the stop by Horton’s got me going.
Go figure! I’ll definitely stop by again.