18th Street Coffeehouse

Santa Monica, California

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i haven’t been to the 18th street coffeehouse in about 4.5 years, but it was the kind of place i sense would not change so much over time. it seemed frozen in its little sundrenched plot and the strains of patsy cline ambling across the tile floors and echoing against the cast iron ceiling must still sing out into the doldrums of santa monica. in a truly dismal and forgettable spot in the city, this coffeehouse became my living room for a few months at the end of summer in 2000. a large mexican family had moved in downstairs from me bringing with them a large stereo and a passion for ranchero and polka beats. i learned to stuff clothes into the crack under the bedroom door and sit without my feet touching the floor to avoid picking up the vibrations. it was a nightmare that accompanied a particularly alienating stint in the beige city.

i sought refuge every morning at 7am, driving out of the way on santa monica backroads, to wander into 18th street where i worked on various things to keep occupied. in this transporting atmosphere i could almost think of those situations from which i was hiding as impersonal fodder. the small patio style mosaic tables were a bit hard to write on but when the bay windows onto the street were open and david duchovny and tracy ullman were breaking off coffees and getting harassed and crazy, i’m crazy for feeling so lonely tinny across the room, and the wretched apartment was gone and i was working, and i couldn’t change a thing about it ever again, not the kind of pencil i write with, not my productivity in coffeeshops, and not my memories of that little place. after those few months and after i moved out to culver city i rarely went there again. this little place deserved more than to be used for self-indulgence. there is a way that you abandon a place not because you burn out on it but because it doesn’t make sense or seems offensive to that dreamy place somehow to include it in your new phase of life, as if you wanted to selfishly rely upon it to conjure up some feelings that had no place in your new situation.

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18th Street Coffeehouse

1725 Broadway
Santa Monica, California 90404

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