I'm sitting at FIDO with an incredibly blank sheet of what the romantics might call, "Crisp, white paper" in front of me on a wooden table that is soft and worn away by the chafing of plates and mugs, and the deep etches carved by the pens and pencils of brilliant students, corrosive indie beatnuts and a host of coffee shop regulars that dot and fill the rest of the stereotype spectrum.
I used to sit in the booth closest to the bus tubs back in 2005 when I first started coming here three or four times a week. In those days, hardly anyone I knew came to the Village to socialize, so I felt as if I had discovered a parallel universe where organic relationships and authentic community lined up at around 7 o'clock each night for a cup of Bongo brew and giant piece of cake (or was that just me...).
I had it in my head that I wasn't quite the person I should have already become; I had it in my heart as well-- I was simply out of touch with myself. So I did the only logical thing a 26 year old administrative assistant who never finished school could do: I purchased a Latin textbook, escaped my Purpose Driven Brentwood enclave each night and began to teach myself Latin from a little booth here on the edge of the universe.
I did actually learn some small bits of Latin--like, "Bis das, cito das." But while I've completely forgotten the meaning of the words I tried so hard to learn in my little booth world of miracles, I've never lost the feeling that FIDO is one of the most magical, special places in this whole city--and it's still the place I escape to and the place where I challenge myself to become the person I'm most afraid to be and most afraid I'll never truly be.
The sheet of paper is still crisp and still blank at the moment.