Cock a doodle DO…

It’s a grey and windy Sunday morning with a light and intermittent spitting of tiny, warm raindrops. Sometimes a morning such as this brings with it a sort of sad melancholy. But not today. Today it brings calm and peace and a gentle, rolling clarity; the kind that allows you to forget your ‘to do’ list for a couple of hours to happily and simply pause.

I sit comfortably at the window of my absolute favourite coffee shop in all of Toronto. It’s just after seven and Jay and Adrian behind the bar are so warm, welcoming and sincere that I feel like I am in the living room at home rather than out in public. The other customers are transformed into siblings whom I lovingly ignore for the most part as I devour my latest favourite book (it changes pretty much every time I read a new one), the brilliant and brilliantly funny “How To Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired” by Dany Laferrière. The customers are equally kind and friendly and acknowledge each other and say good morning and even ask your name. What is this magical place where humans are still human?

Why it’s The Rooster, of course.

A sign hangs on the cash register that reads “All I’m asking you to do is LOVE more.” Reason number four thousand three hundred seventy-two why I absolutely love coming to The Rooster and feel so at peace here. Do they realize that just by hanging this sign they have already accomplished what they are asking of us? “The question is, will you do it?” Adrian asks me as he notices me taking a photo of the hand-written cardboard message. “Yes. I will.” I reply.

And I mean it. I will.

One time, on another similarly dreamy visit to The Rooster, the sandwich board out front read: “The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the BEST conversation you EVER had.” –Unknown. See what I mean? This place is awesome.

And that was the most delicious sandwich-board I ever did see.

The fact that this fairy-tale coffee shop sits directly across from the majestic Riverdale Park with its stunning view of our handsome city skyline and its therapeutic dose of nature below seems too good to be true yet absolutely appropriate.

My personal philosophy on a rich, balanced, happy life is to enjoy all three of: a creative input and output, a physical input and output, and a spiritual input and output. With this view and these people and this ambiance, I can accomplish all three right here. Of course, I’d have to run or bike here to fulfill the physical outlet part; which, not today but in the past, I have done. And this brings me efficiently and tidily to my number one favourite Rooster visit of all.

It was a few summers ago and I had been out all morning on my super cool Surly Instigator mountain bike with its huge front shock that would make your jaw drop. It was hot hot hot, and I was tired, sweaty, dirty, hungry and thirsty. For the last hoorah of my ride, I climbed the hill of Riverdale Park on my beloved steed and then headed directly for The Rooster. I had a one-track mind for an Orangina, a milk and an M-bar. With these precious items in hand, I got to the front of the line and that’s when I got hit with this Mack truck:

Cash only. And I ain’t got no cash.

I once lived around the corner from The Rooster on pretty Langley Avenue but moved over to Leaside many moons prior and thus had not been by in a while and so, most tragically, forgot that debit and credit cards just don’t fly here. Normally, I actually like this little throwback to simpler times; adds to the charm. At this particular moment, however, not so much. My dreams of glorious thirst-quenching and magnificent hunger-ending were DASHED before my very eyes.

Or were they?

I thought it was the utter devastation on my face that caused the nice man behind the counter to offer: “If I let you pay me later, will you?” “PARDON?” I replied. Shocked. “Yes. YES. For sure I will.” Then he pulled out some sort of ledger and asked my name and wrote down the date and what I owed and smiled and wished me a good day.

Just like that.

I was humbled and honoured and my starving human spirit was recharged and soaring. I had been long-contemplating a tattoo of another of my life’s philosophies, or my simple version of religion, that is expressed in two, simple words: love and karma. This lovely act of plain old human trust so rarely glimpsed made me realize that today was The Day to get such an apt tattoo.

And I did.

I went over to The Danforth, got my tattoo at Definitive Studios, went to a bank machine, withdrew twenty dollars, and rode back to The Rooster and paid my bill.

Three cheers for love and karma!

I’d love to keep writing, one of my very favourite pastimes, and tell you all about the other cool features of my favourite coffee shop like the big neato mosquito wooden table at the back, the kick-ass coffee of which if you have more than two will have you grinding your teeth like a raver, the antique portraits, the board games, the public sketch pad, etc. etc. But, I cannot. I must be off.

You see, I am a woman of my word, and I have some more LOVING to do. 

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À propos de Stina

If I could tell you about me in a neat and tidy definitive statement, I don't think I'd be writing this blog.
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