Lawrence, KS doesn’t generally get a foot of snow. Not all at once, anyway. So, when a heavy snowstorm hit on 2.4.2014, I couldn’t help trekking out in it and taking photos. Here are a few of my favorites from my walk down 9th St. to Mass. and back:
“They say in the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. Perhaps if he has enough time left over, his fancy can even make room for a cup of coffee.” –Richard Brautigan, “Coffee”
People on Instagram take photos of a great many things. Some people take selfies, some people love airplane wings and seem to book flights just to take photos of them, some people take photos of lovely sunsets or streams flowing through wooded areas you could look at forever, some people are fascinated by manicured elaborately painted fingernails or beauty products, some people endlessly take photos of food so they can relive every meal and savor the memory. Looking through my Instagram account, I don’t take many photos of food, but I can’t help but notice several photos of coffee. I decided to compile my favorites here.
This is from La Prima Tazza several months ago. One of my favorite coffee shops in Lawrence, KS.
This summer I enjoyed this cup of coffee from The Merc at Centennial Park just off 9th and Iowa.
A cup of coffee after breakfast at Milton’s is the perfect start to your day.
Coffee at The Bourgeois Pig. Watching the world go by.
Reading over a cup of coffee at Aimee’s.
Late-night coffee at my apartment after drinking too much at The Replay.
A coffee from Starbucks at Target I drank myself but which was a virtual Instagram coffee I bought for my friend Miljana.
Coffee from Parisi at Union Station in Kansas City.
Just wanted to show off my cool Wonder Woman mug.
The Bourgeois Pig again. This time with a real mug rather than a to go cup.
There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee on a cold November day. At La Prima Tazza.
If you’re at a loss for things to do in Lawrence, KS, the default options are to either go to a bar or to a coffee shop. For the indecisive, there are a couple of combination bar/coffee shops, like Henry’s and The Bourgeios Pig. However, for those who like to do one thing at a time, keeping your bar life and coffee shop life separate, there’s The Java Break, the only coffee shop in town open 24 hours a day. The 24/7 business model allows people to either spend endless hours at a coffee shop instead of a bar; or to get a cup of coffee and then go to a bar; or to go to a bar and then get a cup of coffee after the bars close at 2 a.m.; or to get a cup of coffee, go to a bar, then get a cup of coffee after leaving the bar. It’s a system that works.
Writers face similar challenges. Write at a bar? Write at a coffee shop? Which to choose? While some people write in notebooks or on laptop computers, other people take to writing on walls and tables with felt-tipped pens and permanent markers. Perhaps this is a way of getting exposure for their work, similar to keeping a blog; I don’t know. But there is a room at The Java Break dedicated to those people who can’t stand being confined to the traditional page and who just have to get their work out there somehow.
If ever you happen to go to The Java Break, be sure to go into the Graffiti Room and read the walls, because, as one graffiti-ist put it, “Earth without art is just ‘eh.’”
Here are some other memorable works:
I enjoy romantic walks under the moonlight as much as anyone, but being distinctively single, I’ve been going for walks alone, perhaps hoping for a random encounter with a beautiful woman. Here are some photos I’ve taken along the way, all made pretty via Instagram.
A view of 10th and Mass from the top of the parking garage downtown. Later there will be a drunken mob wandering about, looking for love. Perhaps they’ll find it under the tarps at The Replay (in the foreground).
A bicyclist in front of The Bottleneck. Maybe he’s on his way to meet his girlfriend for a game of pool. I don’t go to The Bottleneck much anymore, but there were some great bands that came through in the ’90’s.
A silhouette of a trumpet player outside of The Jazzhaus. Looks like he’s playing the blues because of a broken heart. His woman probably did him wrong. But you know how Jazz musicians are. She had an excuse.
I want to name this duck pillow, I do, but I can’t because it’s not mine to name. It belongs to Kelly’s friend and is hers. A duck pillow like this must have a story behind it, and I want to know that story, I do, but I can’t because it belongs solely to the nameless duck pillow and will only be revealed if the duck pillow so chooses to reveal it.
We all have such stories, I feel, and can either choose to remain reticent or share them.
A string of events lead me to this duck pillow. A walk down Mass. St on arguably the nicest day of the year at that point.
Beers with friends at Harbour Lights and then Frank’s North Star Tavern for the Andy Stowers benefit, where Jamie played pool.
I went home around 9:30 p.m. and was just going to call it a night until the German entry to Eurovision, “Glorious,” by Cascada, got me in the mood to go dancing. Went to The Taproom and then The Replay, where things were getting crazy.
Then the duck pillow. It is what it is, just like Lawrence, KS.
So there you have it: drinking, dancing, and a duck pillow. Sounds a bit like a traditional blessing: “May your day be filled with drinking, dancing, and a duck pillow!” It’s another way of saying “May life be good to you.”
9th Street is lined with trees. Trees never have to worry about what they wear or what women will think of it. They never spend a cent at Urban Outfitters or Wildman Vintage, trying to define a look that will impress strangers at bars. Oaks, Maples, a few others I know by sight but not by name; they always look impressive. Tomorrow Jamie and I are planning on shopping for clothes on Massachusetts St. Today I’m going there for a cup of coffee.
A FedEx truck turns left onto Arkansas Street, perhaps delivering chic and stylish clothes purchased on Amazon.com or eBay to a mid-priced house that may need a new coat of paint but still has a well-kept lawn. I’m tempted to nab a bagged copy of the Lawrence Journal-World that’s still in the driveway of someone who apparently reads the newspaper later in the day and not over breakfast, maybe so they’ll have more time to pore over the style section as they watch Project Runway.
The scenery changes. People filling up their tanks at the Kwik Shop. Cars in the drive-thru at the Burrito King, a mural of a Jayhawk, the mythical bird mascot of The University of Kansas, painted on the wall facing 9th–at the Burrito King, the Jawhawk wears a sombrero and craves burritos or soft tacos.
I cross Mississippi. People in the run-down but functional Payless Laundromat appear to have been waiting for their clothes all day. The clothes are not in a hurry, however. It looks like a laundry version of Hopper’s “Nighthawks” painting in there. An attractive girl on a bicycle wearing black spandex and a pink coat rides by on the sidewalk rather than in the bike lane. I don’t mind. Maybe it’s because I like the way her light brown hair lights up in the sun and seems to sparkle under the cloudless sky. I could stand to buy a new pair of pants, I guess. She probably reads VOGUE.
A few more blocks and I am officially downtown, resisting the alluring smell of freshly-baked bread coming from Wheatfields Bakery and the temptation to buy tea from House of Cha and am then at the corner of 9th and Mass, standing next to one of the oldest department stores in America, Weaver’s, established in 1857. The mannequins in the window display are mainly female, outnumbering the male mannequins 10 to 1.
It is too early for a cocktail, but not for coffee. The Bourgeois Pig serves both. The place is nearly empty, unlike at night, when the small interior is filled with drinking people and it’s impossible to find a place to sit. Right now, there are just a few people at the bar who seem to be friends with the barista and someone sitting at a table alone working diligently on his laptop computer. The coffee is more pricey than at most places downtown, which fits the Pig’s upscale image, but is on special for 50 cents off a cup. I pay the two dollars and sit out front on the patio.
There is the sound of construction from the covered parking lot across the street. A girl in a white fur-lined coat walks by, carrying a brown paper bag. A man with a long, white beard rides a bicycle out of the alleyway. The bike has a basket that seems to be filled with cogs and screws, mechanical things. Across the street, a young man wearing shorts and a coat walks by the US Bank. A steady stream of cars passes by, stopping periodically, waiting for the traffic light to change. At night, this street will be much busier than it is now, dressed differently. And I’ll have to find an outfit to match.