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The east side of Roncesvalles is lit.
It’s afternoon, and the long strand of shops there is lit with amber sunshine. The churches, trees, and residences on the west side get cool shade, but the east side is hot. It’s hopping. A stretch that at one time seemed to be aging and peeling is now renovating and appealing. The street is busy with streetcars and bicycles, and the sidewalks are alive with people on foot and their dogs. This is what you get when a street is a place for people, not a gutter for isolating metal boxes.
Of course there are coffee joints. Several. I’m in one right now, right in the heart of it all. I have a view of a church, a big tree, a streetcar stop, bicycles, and life. But I’m far enough inside that I’m not baking in direct sun. It’s warm in here and it’s busy, and it’s not too dim. It’s comfortable. It’s alive. It’s lit.
It’s Lit Espresso Bar.
It’s not an especially small place, and it’s mostly full. I lucked into a table for one right across from the baked goods. There are a couple of guys behind me having the kind of conversation that some kinds of guys have whose adjustment to not being young anymore is just to assume they know more than kids do though they haven’t actually updated their understanding of the world. But the music largely drowns them out. And the music is… much of it is kinda cute and charming and I don’t think you’re even allowed to play this kind of music in places that don’t have raw wood and exposed brick and maybe pressed tin and probably a big old mirror like the one on the wall here. But it’s not manufactured quaintness in here. It’s a real neighbourhood place. On the other hand, it’s modern enough that you don’t have to go downstairs to use the washroom.
The age range of people in here is wide, from school-age kids to people who have been seniors since before those kids’ parents even met. Sure, there are plenty of people in their twenties and thirties, as is usual, but I’m not the only person of Generation X sitting here with a Macbook. And people come and stay a while. Hours. Even the guys who are sitting and chatting. But while they could probably keep going on about cars and music indefinitely, your computer’s battery only lasts so long, and there aren’t any outlets in the walls, so eventually you’ll be off. Me, I’m going to go have beer and pierogis with some friends. It’s a short walk.