Luxuries. Special things. Things I do for me; spaces for myself.
I started hanging out around Newtown in 1989 when my dad moved into a share house there. It was full of cafes and restaurants and had a uni vibe. I was never much of a pub person but developed a liking for cafes and when I finally moved there myself in 2001 (when dad and I bought a house together), Newtown felt like home.
Somewhere in those years, long forgotten now, I started going “out” for breakfast on the weekends. I would spend hours alone in a cafe, having brekky, and a coffee or 3, while wading through the weekend edition of the SMH. Brekky, in a cafe, with a newspaper is one of my favourite things.
Occasionally friends would wander by and say g’day, sometimes joining, sometimes not. Everyone knew which cafe they were likely to find me. For around a decade or so, I was ensconced at 381 King St and in that time I think it went through at least 4 owners and 3 different refurbishments, and several names. It had the rare attraction of being a cafe on King St with a view of blue sky and trees across the road. That particular section of King St is home to the School of Performing Arts thus is more open than the rest of the street.
I recall many years ago, that one of the ownership changes was rather sudden: I turned up on the Sat morning, barely awake and looking forward to my first coffee, only to discover it was no longer. I stood there for quite some time as my brain was in no condition to process the new information and in fact for months after, every week, my morning autopilot would bring me to the same spot. At which I would exclaim “bugger” and continue on.
That cafe time, with the papers, has become something of a zone for me. Sometimes I like people about, but sometimes I just need that space alone, a morning ritual, to relax and regain a sense of me. Particularly so when I’m going through major stresses or big changes afoot, that timeout has long been a spot to stop and breathe. Mostly though, it’s a chance to pause, to be at rest.