The Sun Shoppe and Cafe

Melbourne, Florida

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It gets more and more difficult to construct fantastic worlds around shops as they begin to blend into a continuum of experience that is so stirred, miscible, and in the end, pure. I cannot pluck so easily a place like The Sun Shoppe out of its context and describe it in such a way that will be useful for others. It may be the inherent focus of this project, these coffeeshop texts, that begins to crush the subject into just a catalogue of objects and sensations, unrelated to any sort of real experience, or it may be, in this case, the ennui associated with describing a hometown establishment.

The Sun Shoppe and Cafe

I have not lived in the Melbourne area in 12 years, but the sun, the asphalt, the smell of the air, the whiteness on all surfaces, bleached and battered, touch off in me a disinterestedness that could only be ascribed to adolescence. It is a personal pall over the Space Coast. However, I never went to The Sun Shoppe as a youth, I don’t know if it existed. If it did I am glad I did not go there. For although the coffeeshop experience as a whole has become one of laboured inspiration of late, it is still a bastion away from those droll and plain spaces that I recuse myself from focusing on. That is, even though I grow tired of them, the focus of this project allows me to ignite my querulous and inquisitive mind in coffeeshops differently than I do these days just walking up a road or sitting in a park. Also, had I been there in my awkward youth, the associations with it would have been too pathetic to step back even slightly to analyze the place at all. On the flip side of this blessing is the exhaustion of the subject. The Sun Shoppe is a very comfortable place, it does the job it does. Yet I cannot paint a broad-brush description, I cannot capture its essence. I focus on details to pick out, as though they might serve as an outline for a phony concocted tale of my experience. These details are not useful and they do not characterize the charm of the place. Although they are interesting to me they push the project toward irrelevancy, distance from the subject and source, and dull hermeticism. Perhaps in the Florida sun’s light everything looks dead and objective.

The Sun Shoppe and Cafe

Six years ago I visited The Sun Shoppe in the evening. It was July, as now. In the evening the large storefront windows sweat on the inside. There was a tall partition separating the bar from some seating, and above the seating ran a few fluorescent bulbs. The moisture and fluorescence, and the distance from home, for I lived in Los Angeles at the time, made The Sun Shoppe something else. It was not my home town, or even the whole shop, it was just those details, and it is just those details now. If I could not have painted the picture then there is no way I could do it now. Accessibility and cohesion have never been my talent.

The Sun Shoppe and Cafe

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The Sun Shoppe and Cafe

540 E New Haven Ave
Melbourne, Florida 32901

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