"On your way to the Justice League meeting?" the barista asked.
For a moment, I wondered if she knew me. No, I'm not a member of the Justice League, but anyone that knows me knows how close my apartment might resemble the Watchtower Trophy Room. Then I realized that she was just making fun of my Justice League T-shirt, and I decided to play along.
"Just came from it, actually," I replied.
"Any pressing business?" she quipped.
"No global crises tonight," I persisted, "but if there were, you'd never know. We're that good." I proceeded to order a Chai tea and take a seat.
I'd hoped to blog about my new neighborhood tonight. I now live just a few blocks away from Mill Avenue, the row adjacent to Arizona State University that once earned the campus Playboy acclaim, but the strip is an echo of its former self in the shadow of our current economy. When I was younger, Mill was the place to hang out if you dared the drive from the west to east valley, if you wanted to look and feel cool. I once distributed Christian poetry here, because Mill was where the sinners met. Since I didn't go to ASU like so many of my friends, Mill maintained this mythical status to me, and I've reveled in my recent proximity to it.
Of course, even on a Sunday night, clubs still flood the street with their tribal bass, but it's a dying heartbeat. My favorite coffeeshop is like a missing tooth, so I'm resigned to the Starbucks standard, pondering how this town lost its bite. Maybe I just toughened up a bit.
Twelve years ago, I might not have shrugged off that barista's dry wit so effortlessly, but I realize I'm just as cool as Mill used to be, perhaps only a few years too late. I can live with that. I don't mind being an honorary member of its past, if it gives my memories a little more justice.