As I bit into my brioche breakfast sandwich again I started to think that maybe my ideal “day-in-the-life” as an East Villager would go no farther. Maybe I’d just lounge peacefully on the banks of the Bow for hours and hours.
But… how long could my latte last?
I lived in Calgary’s Beltline for four months in 2014 and it was a crash* course in parallel parking.
My move from Sunalta to Beltline came about when my best pal needed a roommate (after her old one got hitched), but only for the summer before she moved across the country for a Master’s.
We both agreed it was likely our last opportunity to be roommates. It was a short enough stint that we wouldn’t compromise more than a decade of friendship over dirty dishes, but long enough to make some memories over cocktails.
I moved in and put my name on the list to get a parking spot at the Beltline apartment tower. Spoiler Alert: I did not get that parking spot.
I love hosting friends and stuffing them with cheese and crackers and pickles while they sip some kind of fizzy brightener. It’s what sunny June afternoons were made for.
When I learned about the East Village Resident Ambassador job, I knew I would have to find a way to integrate some social cocktailing into my bid. And a locally inspired, super shareable drink was definitely in order.
I decided early that my drink of choice should aim to live up to the reputation that East Village is building in Calgary. I also wanted to tie into East Village’s “newest, oldest, coolest, warmest” tagline and I wanted to get make sure my friends were in on it.
We enjoyed this process rather a lot.
The “Newest” Part of the Cocktail
When I was concocting the cocktail in my head, I wanted to go with something in season or something with some other local significance. But because I wanted it to be orange, for a not-so-subtle nod to East Village’s branding, “local and in season” didn’t seem like they would be easy to come by.
This week I made an unplanned grocery trip to Superstore. I have a soft spot for the store, but this time I had no bags, and worse than that, I had no loonie. Regular Superstore shoppers will know you absolutely need a loonie for access to one of their chained-up carts. My loonie deficiency meant I would have to rely on the grace of gravity and my brute strength to carry avocados, tomato sauce and a really good deal on a box of nine mangoes.
I survived, though my right bicep still smarts from lugging Basket No. 1 down the ketchup aisle.
When did grocery store outings become quests of urban survival? I can’t be the only one who avoids going on a fridge-filling journey for a long and creative list of reasons that begins something like this:
- the produce section at my local Safeway is depressing in a variety of ways. A variety that dwarfs their variety of overpriced and underdelicious fruits and vegetables.
- everything ticks upward in price (except the perennially discounted frozen shrimp) and brings with it an aching reminder of our mortality.
- all the checkout clerks know they’re being replaced by machines whose only perk is that you can buy embarrassing items for free and fight out loud with the robots about whether you bagged the sorbet yet.
- those unmotivated checkout clerks at my Safeway have to work understaffed even at Grocery Rush Hour. And Grocery Rush Hour isn’t anything like Handsome O’Clock, which was rush hour at Co-op Midtown Market when I was single. (That tip was for you for free.)
It would have been around 6:30 a.m., while sipping coffee in the nook I called a home office, that I first heard my neighbour “Boris”.
It wasn’t that I expected my bachelorette apartment to be a hermetic chamber against all outside noise. Not for $650 a month, that’s for sure. I heard my west-side neighbour channeling Adele through my living room wall three nights a week. And my east-side neighbour’s cell phone vibration was enough to wake me up on a Saturday morning, if the leaf blowers in the parking lot outside weren’t cacophonous enough through my single-pane windows.
The problem was I could hear “Boris” across the hall as he went about his morning routine, which as far as I could tell consisted of (1) not shutting his bathroom door and (2) the things he did after not shutting the bathroom door. The worst bit, you may be surprised to read, was his oral hygiene routine. I’ll spare you the details.
Calgarians are super stoked on brunch. We’ll stand in line in a snowstorm to get us some hollandaise and hashbrowns, even with a hangover.
But there are some days when you don’t want to stand in line, you just want to eat some egg-related meal and wash it down with a hot cup of coffee from a cute mug with some humanity about you. It’s OK to want that.