Xhedos Cafe

Ferndale, Michigan

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Xhedos Cafe

I walked into Xhedos within 15 minutes of finishing my coffee at Java Hutt just up the street. I had actually parked in front of Xhedos but Hutt was the place I had referenced on the web from Portman’s Renaissance Center back by the river in Detroit before heading out on the highway to Ferndale. Also, from the outside, I was not quite sure Xhedos was a coffee establishment, it seemed more clearly to be a thrift store cum poetry slam venue, but there was some sort of tightrolled filthy sophistication about it that made me walk by a few more times like a square.

Xhedos Cafe

What I could never ascertain in my two visits to Xhedos was whether they were going out of business or had just been saved from going out of business. There seemed to be fliers strewn around indicating a predicament related to making their lease payment and perhaps hosting some sort of benefit show, the barista who was there both days was talking about some sort of extended road trip with her boyfriend, and some sort of cloudy noon lugubrious light fell on my styrofoam cup. I like to think that since I visited two days in a row that I could have visited on a third and I will safely assume that they have surmounted their financial woes.

Xhedos Cafe

Unlike Java Hutt, whose color scheme and matching furniture seemed to indicate a late arrival or a rejiggering once the Ferndale strip beachhead had been established, Xhedos had the sort of tone one would find in a crossroads shop in a smaller heartland town in which they were bordering on outcast, like the lunchroom table in highschool with the fat RPG kids and the Wax Trax kids who could not be pigeonholed or were just too socially inept to translate their potentially riveting interests into conversational fodder with the kids who drove their own cars to school and wore ironed tee shirts. That is too John Hughes. Xhedos smelled more like a place where kids who looked like bike messengers would hang out in Salina. It was haphazard but conscious of its stamped tin ceiling. It was unwashed but coiffed. The mugs were chipped. It was delightful and perhaps reassuring after walking off of the processed rebellion of 9 Mile Road.

Xhedos Cafe

On my first visit I waded into an oppressive post rock drone dirge that effectively washed the palatable second tier 80s kitsch of Gary Numan off of my cringing shoulders but, I think in the end it was the presence of the thrift shop half of the place that was the most evocative and communicative. It smelled like a thrift store and had the poor natural light struggling through dusty plate glass of your local church thrift store, not the megathrift with shirts arranged on linear store racks by color, but the kind of ancient downtown church satellite that sells teevees made of yellowed white plastic, boardgames in boxes held together by electrical tape clotted with fur and dust, magazines and Sunset books, plaid armchairs, polyester business attire, and wingtips with brittle laces. The light reflecting off of this half was yellow. It reminded me of the time I had spent in these places in middle school trying to determine how to individuate myself. The important thing, regardless of how, was that I had made the conscious decision, and it is always conscious, no matter how innate the down and dirty rebellion might appear, to look at things differently and to make of myself something different, and probably to someday end up in a place like Xhedos without feeling too conspicuous or disdainful.

Xhedos Cafe


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Xhedos Cafe

Xhedos Cafe
240 West 9 Mile Road
Ferndale, Michigan 48220
http://www.xhedos.com/


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