Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ode to Cambridge Food Mart

My apartment doesn’t have much going for it, but living in the slanty shanty (a phrase I 100% stole from Laura - it describes it so well) has a few perks. These include:

- The world's cutest coffee shop, Raw Sugar, which is right across the street

- $1 samosas at the Indian grocery store around the corner

- Nine billion Chinese/Vietnamese/Japanese/Korean takeout restaurants within five minutes walking distance

- 10 minute walk home from the bars on Bank Street

But the biggest perk of all is now gone. I returned to Ottawa to find the convenience store that used to be next door is closed. Very closed. Stripped down, abandoned and probably soon home to vagrant squatters closed.

Convenience Store Man warned me this would happen. A few weeks before I moved out for the summer he told me rent was getting too expensive and he'd be forced to shut down soon. I took this for the latest in his constant stream of endearing cantankerous old man complaints, but it turns out he wasn't bluffing.

Do you have any idea how fantastic it is to live next to a convenience store?? When I ran out of milk part way into pouring it on a bowl of cereal, I bought more and came back before the cereal got soggy. I drew the line at going there in a bathrobe or a towel, but other than that, I bought my morning Globe and Mail in all sorts of states of dress and undress. He even had movie rentals. Movie rentals! Next door!

I will miss your very convenient store, Convenience Store Man, but more importantly, I will miss you. I'll miss the way you responded with "I'm used to it" every time I apologized for interrupting your chain smoking to buy something. I'll miss the sign you put up in the winter, informing customers to Please Watch their Step as the Landlady has Repeatedly Refused to Remove Ice from the Front Walk and Stairs. I'll miss the way you asked me the same questions about the weather in the same order even if I had already been there twice that day, like a tape recorder, or a robot.

I never knew your name, Convenience Store Man. I would be willing to bet you don't remember mine, either. But you and your amazingly convenient store were a part of my life, and now you are gone forever.

Gone, along with my credit card information, which I handed over when I opened my movie rental account.

I've got my eye on that Visa statement.

An eye misted over with tears.

1 comment:

Lisa said...


Not the very convinient convinience store!!! What is the world coming to? If I come and visit you where will I buy my hungover orange juice? I'll have to walk all the way to the Indian grocery store. Then I'll be tempted to buy samosas and god knows those aren't good for hungover stomachs. Ghha.