Coffee cat

Mmmmmmm… coffee, latte, cappuccino, espresso … it’s everywhere I look and I love it.

I’m partaking of city life this week… Vancouver specifically … java jewel of the North American west coast (or as many of us know, it’s really the “wet” coast).

I need to re-learn city life and what it means to me.

I grew up a City Mouse (Hamilton, Ontario) but have spent the past 40 years as a Country Mouse in smaller Canadian burgs like Yellowknife, William’s Lake, Hantsport, Comox, Summerland.

One of the phenomenal things about the central core of the big city – most big cities – is the boundless opportunities for a legal drug dose … even if I choose to ignore the spreading contagion of legalized medical marijuana spots.

The drug I’m talking about is CAFFEINE.

In Vancouver, there are Tim Hortons and Starbucks and Blenz and Waves and Caffe Artigiano and dozens of smaller independent coffeehouses within eyeshot – often spitting distance – of each other. Most cities around the globe have their own collection of caffeine hangouts where java junkies can find their fix.

And because I’m a languorous lover of the latte, I never feel panicky that I’ll be lost in the city jungle without a potential “fix” within a moment’s reach.

All of this caffeine has infiltrated my excitable core and like a spirit-lodge experience, I’ve emerged with an epiphany.


The epiphany? Ready?

WE are ALL small town dwellers.

Yup … even New Yorkers and Tokyoers (what are Tokyo residents actually called?) and Londoners all live in small villages.

Small towns of our own creation.

No specialized hardware or game software, no batteries required.

After only a few days living in the large city I realize it doesn’t take long for someone to build their own little town within the metropolis’s boundaries.

I was reminded of this last night when we went out to see Jerry Seinfeld “in-concert“… reminded that big cities are filled with thousands of small towns. Jerry and George and Elaine and Kramer created their puny township while immersed in Manhattan.

seinfeld town

Seinfeld Town …

This week, Gary and Dean at Urban Fitness gym joined my “town” … Miriam and Jiffy at Romer’s Burger Bar signed on too. It happens so quickly that we’re barely aware of it. In a few weeks or months, I’ll have a fully inhabited village within the mega-city limits.

Friends and activities and organizations become part of our Sim Life… we just transit through others’ little towns to access our own.

So in reality, it doesn’t matter whether I live in a municipality of 1,000 or 10,000,000, I will always live in a small town of my own fabrication.

This epiphany has me questioning within myself.

For most of my adult life, I’ve inhabited small town living and the relaxed, quiet roads and low cost lifestyle; the sightings of wildlife and accessibility of outdoors pursuits, the luminous views of unimpeded stars in the inky night sky.

But I get reminded each time I visit the larger city that there are parts of me that love a more populated life.

I delight in the boundless selection of street foods and restaurants, the flow of music and dance and evenings filled with thought and magic and colourful wonder, the access to huge bookstores and music shops and museums – and when we become age-challenged, higher quality healthcare and facilities.

Sure, there are downsides to being in the city jungle: lack of friendly eye contact, noisy car horns and sirens, traffic jams, air pollution. You can add your own negatives here.

But, with a reasonable pocketful of $$ and time and energy, there is no time for boredom and no lack of stimulation for those of us ADHD-inclined types.

I’ve spent time in many many cities over my years.

Barcelona, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Shanghai, Cusco, Sevilla, Montreal, New York City, Havana, Leon, Brussels, Paris, Marrakesh, Athens.

For days, nights, and sometimes weeks, I enjoyed them all for a lot of different reasons. Even the smell of stale urine wafting from alleys is distinctive in each city.

I love the lights, the buzz, the variety, and yes, even the smells.

And when the evening grows late in the city?

When the night is stretching onwards and my middle-aged eyes grow increasingly tired and I just want to kiss the moon and stars goodnight?

A lit energetic beacon in the night is always there waiting … a neon sign that yells out through the evening air, flashing:

COFFEE – 24 hours.

Yes, living in my own little town inside a city can be more than OK.

coffee 24 hours