Day 19. Coffee Culture

I go out for coffee everyday.  I like to write in cafes.  I like the ‘buzz’ of human energy.

When I work I tend to zone right out.  Especially when the writing is going well.  So although I know there are other people there, I’m not really aware of them.  I have no idea when they arrived.  I don’t notice when they leave.  And I can’t tell you what they talk about while they’re there.

But from time to time I do look around.  It’s fascinating.  Different purveyors/brands definitely attract very different people.  And depending on the time of day, you may also find totally different types of clientele — at least much of the time.

Tim Hortons is as Canadian as the maple leaf.  Founded in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964, today it is a multi-million dollar franchise, best known for its coffee and doughnuts.   Although I’ve worked in advertising, I’ve never worked on the Tim Hortons account.  I’ve never seen one of their creative briefs so I don’t know who they would tell you their audience is.  I can only speak about what I’ve seen any time I’ve visited:

Go into any Tim Hortons, anywhere, and you’ll see your average Canadian. Ethnically diverse. Families. Parents with kids.  Multi-generational families — grandparents, with their kids and grandkids.  Seniors on fixed incomes.  Students on tight budgets.  Office workers.  Hard hats.  Policemen.  Some professionals.  Highway travellers stopping for gas, bio breaks and a coffee  on long road trips.   Shift workers, because so many of the stores, even in the city, are open all night.  But regardless of how they earn their living, they are hardworking, decent, looking for friendly service, a good cup of coffee and a price that cannot be beat.  It is not Continue reading

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Day 15. Bitter Taste

This seems to be my time to re-visit my past.  My brain is just bursting with memories.  Most wonderful, some not so great.  Just like life, itself.  So today I am thinking of a crazy friend I had, back in Montreal.  Sadly she passed away from cancer, a few years ago.

She smoked like a chimney (Gitanes, a brand of French cigarettes she got hooked on when she lived in Paris).  She used one of those filtered cigarette holders, thinking it somehow protected her from the evils, and perils, of smoking.  Considering she ended up with lung cancer that travelled to her kidneys, I’d say her thinking was flawed.  She also drank like a fish, but never got drunk.  Or obnoxious.  Her voice was husky, her laugh infectious; and she told one and all that her breasts (which she’d had enlarged way, way before it was fashionable) “were so beautiful they belonged on a mantle.”

I have enough stories about her to write a book.  She was just fun.  Gorgeous (a model).  And from an extremely wealthy family, although you would never have known it.  She was the wild one in the group.  Her name was Jayne — spelled with a “y”, as she would be quick to point out, the minute she was asked what her name was;   and I swear if you were to google Auntie Mame, it would be her picture you’d see.

And she loved radishes (ergo, my ‘bitter” reference).

They had to be whole, slathered with unsalted butter and dipped in salt before every bite.  She ate them by the bowlful.  Often after a very late night on the town (which was most nights).  And trust me, of all the strange and Continue reading