A few times a week I get out of the apartment and go to my new hangout, La Vida Java, a coffee shop in the middle of Westport Village. I never would have gone to this area to hang out several years ago because it was dilapidated. There were only a few businesses in the former shopping center, then known as Camelot Shopping Center. Only two businesses remain there from the previous days, Mr. Gatti’s and Jade Palace. The rest of the center was torn down and rebuilt. Now it’s this little quaint shopping center that I just love. I can walk around and window shop and eat at any one of a handful of restaurants.
The baristas caught on quick when I started becoming a regular a few weeks ago. One of them commented when I came in, “Back for more reading?” when she greeted me. I take a book with me to read for a bit and then one of my notebooks to do some writing. This is where I work on most of my character sketches and writing more poetry in the last few weeks than I have in the last few years combined.
The baristas are warm, friendly, and greet everyone that walks in as if they are the most important person in the world. There are quite a few regulars and the baristas engage in small talk with them. That’s the kind of service I like to see in places like this. There are two sides to the shop, one on each side of the counter. It breaks up the chatter when people are meeting there or just jawing on their phones. There is seating outside, too. If it’s not too hot, I like to sit out there and read while soaking up some natural Vitamin D.
I’ve tried almost every drink they have. I tend to try something different now and then. This morning I intended to just get a decaf, but the chai was the special of the day again and calling my name. They roast their own beans and sell them so you can have it at home, too. There is no need for adding anything to their coffee at all. It’s rich and flavorful, not bitter like some coffees I’ve had. My favorite – Costa Rica Decaf, black.
The atmosphere is just inviting. It says to me, “Come in, have a sat, and stay a while.” I’m normally there for about an hour or so a few days a week. Today I was there for 3 hours. Long time, I know. But, I took my laptop with me this time. No reading got done. I did 3 hours of editing and writing for my book. I didn’t get much writing done, but I found a lot of things that needed fixing, which is always happening when I go back through and skim what I have so far.
Sometimes when I sit at a table or even in one of the comfy conversation areas, my creativity just starts to flow. I get so many ideas, it’s hard to contain and focus them. Last week I was reading and for some reason was itching to sketch. Which was an odd feeling. I’m not a sketch artist and the last time I did any sketching was in college. Then I wanted to create some jewelry. Then I thought about a dream I had and had to write it down. Then I was thinking about scrapbooking. I was being bombarded by all these different ideas from all directions. Can you see why it’s hard to contain and focus them? I think when I’m at home, there is so much there to distract me as far as cleaning and keep things orderly that I’m not letting my imagination loose until I’m away from all those distractions.
My husband says I’m hooked and I have to agree. For a few hours a week I get to focus on me and my creativity, which I have long neglected. The Me Time I’m having at La Vida Java is every bit as important to my health as what I’m eating, how much exercise I get, or what toxins are around me.