Biography 9: Megan

Megan is my latest Starbucks Barista.  It’s amazing how close you can get to the person who makes your coffee. When I had just moved to Sydney, Australia I was desperate for a place to live and lamented to my Bondi Junction barista in between ordering and picking up my beverage.  I take that “hows your day going?” shit seriously. He told me his dad might have a space and we exchanged numbers. The next week I moved in. Since then I’ve been very serious about my Barista Therapy.

I met Megan at the Starbucks near my mom’s place when I was living there earlier this year after being reno-victed.  Actually my first False Creek barista was Nick but after spending so much time there I got tight with the whole clan.  Megan and I both thought the other was 24 until a less significant barista brought it up. She couldn’t believe I was in my 30s and I could not believe she is 19! Fresh out of high school basically. She’s so open about her struggles and anxiety, I hid that shit from the world until super recently.  She’s got no shame about her therapy, or being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or casually stalking local musicians, or Instagram flirting with the cobbler’s son. Our Starbucks is next to a cobbler, a florist and a pancake house, the shoe artisans being the most compelling.

When I moved across town, into my own place, I sent Megan a Facebook message that read “Guess where I am!” with a pic of my new Starbucks’ outdoor tiling.  Within 20 minutes I saw her on the street. Bitch is good at her stalking. Turns out my new Starbucks is next to her Wednesday therapy session and we’ve hung out a couple Wednesdays since.  She’s taking me to stalk screenwriters at her favourite coffee shop, Renzo’s.

Megan has an Indian Status card but looks totally white.  “Indian” is a dumb name the Canadian government still uses to indicate First Nations.  She got me hip on where to buy genuine Native Art that actually pays royalties to the artists. So far I’ve gotten a dope magnetic leather card holder and a bunch of incense.  She also sent me some photos from her visit up North, which is cool cuz it’s a place I’ve never been. How odd, since I’ve been around the planet. Note to self, visit Northern British Columbia. I felt reticent about featuring Megan in this bio project since I’m a bit big-sister protective over her and didn’t want her to feel exploited. But I gotta remind myself, that bitch is stronger than me.

This story is part of: “10 Bios in 10 Days” by Jane A. F.

Cops and Starbucks

So I’m writing this blog at a Starbucks in Vancouver near where I’m staying. It also happens to be the nearest Starbucks to a police station so there are a couple of cops sitting at the table next to me. This is quite unusual except today it has a different affect on me. I’m sure you can guess, it’s about Turkey. As the protests continue on (I just watched a women my age get arrested at the tea garden up my block via youtube) we’re starting to find out which business are for and which are against the demonstrations. There have been calls for boycotts on some but more important support for others.

The Starbucks in Taksim square has been opening its doors to protesters, letting them use the bathroom, distributing free coffees and even administering first aid. It’s unclear whether this is a corporate decision or an action taken by the local store managers but either way it deserves to be recognized. It’s a great example of a community coming together and taking care of each other. I know from my personal experience getting caught in the tear gas that a pick-me-up coffee and a little water to flush out your eyes can be a big deal. So thank you Starbucks for being an environment that people can count on.

I seem to be getting more comfortable with this double reality thing as once again I find myself caught in the comparison between a café in my hometown in Canada where cops and civilians intermingle over lattes and my most recent home in Istanbul where the same café has become a refuge from the police. Really I think the most important thing is to find  a community made up of people you have confidence in, no matter what neighbourhood you find yourself in.