Coffee Shop Cosiness

Photo by Alaric King

Photo by Alaric King

I felt inspired to write today, for the first time in ages and it got me thinking. Uni life, especially third year, and especially two weeks before the end of term can be beyond stressful. I don’t think I’ve slept properly in weeks, my head is all over the place and I feel like I’m ambling aimlessly through one day to the next. I feel on edge all the time and I hate it. So that’s why everyone needs to find that one place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s important to get away from the stress and just give yourself a break. And no, I don’t mean the silent area of the library. I mean somewhere so detached from uni that you can escape the campus bubble and remember what it felt like to live without deadlines. Here’s what happened when I found mine:

Today, I found my own little slice of heaven. And it was glorious.

Having bravely ventured into the center of Canterbury on the first Saturday of December, I felt overwhelmed, suffocated and incredibly claustrophobic. I needed to get out of there. So I walked, and I kept walking until I found my new home.

A quaint, hidden away, cosy coffee shop. It was peaceful and secluded and cut off from the Christmas crazed shoppers outside. With a coffee and my writing journal, I sat back and just wrote.

For the first time in months, I didn’t feel stressed. I actually felt happy.

It’s one small room laid out like someone’s living room (with a till and a coffee machine in the middle), with snug sofas and dining tables where we all huddled round and wondered if we were sat next to the next great author. Who knows. But it felt like an exclusive little club of people, all content that they had found this small haven in among Canterbury’s mishmash of shops and cobbled streets.

I love this small, homely city, but now I really truly love it. Now I have found somewhere that I can relax and look forward to visiting.

Today, I sat among writers and workers, busily scribbling thoughts and ideas into their journals. It made me smile and there seemed to be some kind of unspoken pleasantness and understanding between us all. A brief warm smile or a small nod of the head as if to say, “I understand. This is my heaven too.” As bizarre and cliched as it sounds, I felt like I’d finally found people like me, who shared the same thoughts and understood why I was there but without needing to question me. They left me to it and let me write away to my heart’s content.

Now there’s no way I’m giving you the name or location of this haven because it’s all mine and I feel I can be selfish about it and not share it. But I suggest you go and find your slice of heaven, hold on to it and never let it go.

Now back to reality, and that dreaded library. Deadlines await!

Advertisements

Black Friday: “We’re consumed by desire and greed”

It’s Black Friday; it’s half price; it’s the last TV in the shop and you’re not the only one who wants it. What do you do?

You fight to the death. You don’t leave that shop until you’re dragging that TV out the door with your bloodied teeth. Right?

Well the scenes of Black Friday would certainly make you think so.

It’s the latest unwelcome tradition from across the pond and apparently we’ve fallen head over heels for it. We all love a good bargain; I’ll be the first to admit that. But this. This was unbelievable. And there’s never any excuse for such barbaric behaviour.

I watched countless videos of human beings morphing into animals, and the most unevolved ones at that, brawling over electricals. Lions and cheetahs fight over the watering hole, over their next mate or over the remains of a carcass: water, life and food. We fight over TVs, mobile phones and iPads.

And what’s worse is that I wonder how many of those crazed shoppers know the real origins of ‘Black Friday’. One highly debated, but recognised understanding of the phrase is that it was once the day after Thanksgiving, when slave traders would sell off their slaves for a discount. Half-price sale doesn’t have the same meaning now does it?

Essentially, by buying into this craze, we’re advocating a racist tradition and reducing the value of a human being to the value of a trivial material possession. It’s just plain offensive.

And so what if you can’t afford a full priced TV? Who needs a TV to survive? Look around; why not have a conversation with the people sat with you instead. Watching scenes of people clambering to discounts they didn’t need, it felt like we’d taken another step towards becoming completely consumed by desire and greed and I for one refuse to follow.