Aurora L5P

Atlanta, Georgia

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Aurora would probably be the coffeeshop I ended up making a pilgrimage to on my visit to Atlanta if I were a wayward anti-tourist from Marked Tree, Arkansas or Searchlight, Nevada. It is a safe place that has a patina of freshness to it, it is in an area where one could easily spend an afternoon wandering, buying records, looking in a used bookstore, loitering, or eating some vegetarian Indian food. It alone is not a destination, it is in support of a greater destination, its presence completes the entirety of a district that is found in every somewhat major city, the ‘funky shopping district,’ where you can buy patent leather outfits, stupid graffiti inspired toys, or Jack Kerouac texts, all while flexing your independence for the 4 hours that mom has allotted you to pretend you are a street-urchin. But as I said, this would typically be a destination for me as a wanderer. But for me as a resident, it merely exists as another place in the city that has worn out its welcome to me and teems with the archetypes of human annoyance.

Aurora L5P

As it happens, the only times I seem to end up at Aurora are those where I explicitly put myself out of sorts. Maybe it is a lunch taken biannually with a friend in L5P that we feel like extending out of sentimentality and continued conversation potential by dropping into Aurora for a cup. Or it might be a multi-annual MARTA fugue in which I get on the 107 bus and inexplicably follow the same route through Little Five Points, through the Highlands and Piedmont park to the Arts Center train station and points north. I fantasize that the day is going to transport me from the workaday usage of the city as a prop for making ends meet into a world of pure experience, of pure focus, in which any moment that I put my ass down on a flat surface will coincide with the inspiration I am fishing for to put pen to paper, or media to medium. I cant say it is exactly like this when I am traveling even, but it is certainly an association I have with traveling. Can one truly get lost or transported in one’s own city? Of course you can. But you cant trick yourself into letting it happen in a place you have been coming to for 14 years. My enjoyment or immersion into the experience becomes a pantomime.

Aurora L5P

Even the funky rabble and pedestrians casting the farce of an early morning coffee in the proscenium of Little Five Points, whom I might use to get into character, the wandering scribe, the flaneur drinking in the twists of behavior that define each and every individual in the vertebrate world, noting them, letting them play off of my own behaviors and gestures in silent jibing with the new, are, when I unscrew my eyes, the same damn people I somehow manage to bump into in the most dehumanizing stages of my day. A barista that I faintly recognize from ‘back in the day’ serves my delicious locally roasted beverage; in from his car with steel drum strapped to the roof strolls the slovenly French Canadian (I think) who I see draping his mat of hair through the Publix check-out, MARTA trains, and every other debilitating den of human limbo that I pulse through; if I am lucky a police-officer who I repeatedly see naked in the YMCA locker room will come in and try to make eye contact with me.

Atlanta, GA

Normally, either in a coffeeshop in Atlanta that floats outside of one of these reciprocating contexts, or one in another city that is sited similarly to Aurora, this cavalcade of spectacles would either play into the depersonalization that I crave or would simply slip past me in soy milk steam. It is unfortunate for me and probably less so for Aurora that I cannot subscribe to what it is and its importance as a beachhead of independent coffee in Atlanta. I can only hope that in twenty years, when I have been living far away (hopefully) for long enough, and I happen to breeze through Atlanta, Aurora will arise out of such anonymity and freshness that I can experience it for what it truly deserves to be recognized for.

Endnote:
As you might recall from my Jittery Joe’s Athens tableaux, I like to sit very close to the table I am trying to work at. There is nothing that will crap your labor mojo faster than a chair and table configuration that positions you, at your closest, with your knees aligned with the edge of the table. The below photo illustrates the ‘leg’ of the chair, a solid board, coming into contact with the cruciform leg of the table, the whole of my lower body visibly forced out from beneath the table. Sure this is probably great for leaning back and talking about Noam Chomsky or something, but for those of us endeavoring to get some shit done, no dice. Although, see all of the above for why this would not have been possible in the first place.


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Aurora L5P

468 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307
http://www.auroracoffee.com/


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CAFE TABLEAUX
is a compendium of literary, anecdotal musings on coffeeshop and cafe culture.
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