Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Way I Do the Things I Do

I took a walk on the warm side, looking for some adventure.

Eager to check out the new Lamplighter on Morris Street, I made a bee line (actually more like a "J" line) to find the green space out in back of it crawling with people, sitting, standing, stretched out on the grass.

Inside were almost as many people but what was notable about both contingents was the diversity. It wasn't just the hipster crowd  from Addison Street, it was young and old, hip and not so hip.

I said hello to a few familiar faces before spotting an icon from my childhood: chocolate meltaways, under the glass of the counter.

Meltaways were something I'd found in my Betty Crocker Cooky Book (back when we apparently spelled cookie that way), a cake style brownie, iced with butter cream frosting and covered in a thin layer of dark, unsweetened chocolate.

back during my teen years when I'd discovered the recipe, they seemed like the height of fancy cookies.

Lamplighter sold two versions, one with mint butter cream with which I was familiar having made that variation and raspberry, completely new to me.

Memories were lighting the corners of my mind.

I bought the mint version, took my little bag and headed back outside leaving the caffeine-starved masses to their fixes.

When I got back over to Harrison Street, I ran into musician Prabir, also a J-Ward resident, pushing his bike to Harrison Street Cafe for some vegetarian breakfast.

When I told him where I'd just been, his first question was whether or not the full hipster crowd had followed. Hearing that I'd found a much more diverse one, he considered changing his plans.

"I'd like to be a guest blogger on your blog sometime," he mused."Write about the stuff you don't," which probably means from the vegetarian point of view.

Taking to the idea, I suggested a "he said, she said" post after he goes to Lamplighter and he began to nod.

"I think you just changed my plans," he said, smiling and taking leave of me. We'll see what comes of that.

Walking by Rumors boutique, I spotted the cutest dress on the mannequin and stopped to look at it so I could listen to the Temptations singing "The Way You Do the Things You Do" coming from the store.

Posted in an empty shop window nearby was a VCU crew poster so clever I laughed out loud.

Row like you stole it.

I'm sure on some level, that's not the right image for a school's team, but I found it brilliant.

Walk like you want to get a good story out of it, that's my motto. It's so easy.


  1. So, Sundays are usually my day to meditate (i.e. sleep in) and start my day slowly with some coffee and a documentary on human evolution, if possible. I usually try to keep our species’ evolution in mind when wandering around freely on a day where I assume many others wander around freely. Starting the day off learning about how every day was a hustle and struggle on the plains of Africa makes me feel like literally every day in my life is a cakewalk on the streets of Richmond, VA. The Ape Man Evolution series volume six ended and I grabbed my wallet, keys, mobile, and sweets and walked out the door.

  2. The sun was doing its thing juuust right as I left my little home in Jackson Ward and decided to see what the kids are doing over yonder on the VCU campus. As I made my way up Broad street I was reviewing the lessons of both the documentary and a recent study I had read on the concept of goals and distractions for early humans. Back in the day impulsivity (which leads to procrastination) was a genetic evolutionary advantage. The faster you could react and execute new plans the more likely you were to be eating that day. Of course a lot has changed since then and the types of distractions we encounter are way different. With that said, today was a very hard day to focus on human evolution since the sun was out and…well…people were dressed for…ya know…carrying the next part of evolution on. Lotta skin is what I’m getting at. Hurray for spring! Anyway, so I kept getting distracted everywhere I went, so much so that I had to get off my bike and just walk it by my side. How ridiculous.

  3. I meandered up Broad street and saw people running, painting new business buildings, lining up outside restaurants and barber shops, and so on. “Goodness, the town is alive” I thought. I turned a corner and walked up Harrison when all of a sudden I ran into a 20th century woman living a 21st century life in Richmond, VA. As always, an opportunity to talk to Karen is an opportunity for fun. She and I chatted about the weather and the new Lamplighter coffee shop that had just opened up. so I decided, why hear stories from Karen when I can experience it first hand! Then I thought I would go ahead and write my opinions on it and maybe she would like to share it, and here we are, hello.

  4. So, I departed from my brief buy fun chat with Karen with an objective, study the new Lamplighter! I threw my headphones back on and let Digable Planets escort me as I looked at all the distractions walking past me in uggs, boots, wedges, and sundresses. “Focus amigo, you’ve got a Lamplighter to get to…” I reminded myself. Crossed Franklin, saw a few art students moving a giant sculpture across the street… “Let’s go investigate that!” I thought, but then soon after I reminded myself “Lamplighter…sculpture another time.” Made my way up to Grove where I saw a few Indian VCU students practicing a traditional dance on their front stoop. “Comrades! Let us chat Bollywood and life in this strange nation!” is what I was thinking would make a good opening line, but no, I decided to stay on track and head to the new coffee shop. After several bouts of distractions and suppressing every impulsive urge in my body, I finally arrived at the coffee-pearly gates of Lamplighter.

  5. I opened the door and my first thought was “OMFG!! PEOPLE!!!” Wow, that place was “mobbed” as Karen had put it earlier. True story dot com! There were people everywhere, every table, every bar stool, every outdoor seat, and even some young lovers sharing laps and stools (…give it a month, he’ll be asking for his own table, sweetheart!).

    I was greeted by an old friend as soon as I walked in and we chatted baseball diamond ethics and coffee addicts. A good conversation is a distraction indeed, but a much needed one. After that reminder, of the benefits of a warm hearted random conversation, I took my place in line.

    “I would love an iced coffee and a vegan tempeh sandwich for here please.” Part 1 of my mission, accomplished!

  6. As I waited for my food to arrive I noticed a bar stool had freed up, so I went in for the scoop. I got my work out and started to crank away on an article on human evolution and distraction, but the strangest thing kept happening, I kept getting distracted! We are a fun bunch here on Earth. With so many people there I decided to take a moment to see how everyone was doing. What a beautiful group of productive and caffeinated individuals! My stool-neighbor was trying to talk to a cute classmate so I had to listen in on that one. She was talking about class, but you could see that he had no interest in studies, he was on a mission…he had to focus. Every story she started with some reference to school he would try to turn into a pick up line or date proposal. I was hooked!

    Her: “These three reports are due by the 18th of April I think”
    Him: “Sweet, that’s the day before my band plays at that show I was telling you about, you should come I’ll put you on the list.” (Classic trick fella, classic!)
    Her: “Maybe, I’ve got a bunch of stuff to get ready for the exam the week after too.”
    Him: “The bio thing? I’ll help you study for that the day before, I took it last year.”
    Her: “Okay, maybe, so when can we finish this paper stuff then?”
    Him: “How ‘bout we do pizza and wine at my place? Knock it out there?”
    Her: “Well, can we just do it by email?” (ouch!)

  7. The food was amazing, the coffee was delicious, the people were more than entertaining, the new layout is awesome, the service was great, everything got two opposable thumbs way up, but I had to get out of there or else I’d never finish my article. So, I finished up and walked out of there to sit in the park next door where three girls were playing with hula hoops and listening to Kanye…so naturally I got distracted and had to go have a quick conversation about hoops, twirling, and hip hop. Had no idea people had so many opinions on hooping, but of course they do…why wouldn’t they?

    From the beginning of the day I was assaulted by distractions. No wonder evolution takes so long, if I had payed attention to literally every person that I found interesting or fascinating I would not have made it to Broad Street much less Lamplighter. I don’t know what it all means, but I’ll tell you I’m glad to be alive when I am. We’ve got distractions, coffee, hip hop, big sidewalks, and an article that’s due at 8am tomorrow morning. Wouldn’t change a thing.

    I’m going to go work on the article now, I swear!