This garbage can graffiti always cracks me up because it makes the can look like a big skull, but in a weird stylized sort of way. And I laugh because I feel like it’s got a deep, serious message about how we should recycle and trash is killing the planet and we’ve developed a disposable culture and big words like heterogeneity and reification and let’s throw in phenomenology just for fun.
It’s funny, right?
It’s in front of JJ’s Market & Cafe, a neighborhood establishment, a coffee shop which still thrives in spite of being just two blocks away from three major chain places that also sell coffee as well as pastries, sandwiches, juices, and other stuff. I won’t name names but one is known for its breads, one specializes in bagels, and one is so ubiquitous there are jokes about how there are places where you’ll find two of its stores on opposite sides of the street.JJ’s is purely local and has been in the area since dirt was clean. Part of the reason JJ’s survives is it doesn’t just sell coffee. There’s also beer, and not just any beer. There’s a row of taps next to the coffee bar and you can sit down and enjoy a fresh pint of a local brew or take home a growler of some of Yazoo’s or Jackalope’s finest. They also have an expansive selection of bottled international and U.S. beers, many of them microbrews.
And then there’s the sitting area. There’s the bookshelf with board games. There are the big armchairs and old fashioned tables. There’s the stage where I and some other local writers would occasionally perform poems. There’s the large screen of a Gustav Klimt and the Guinness posters. The staff are friendly too, and I love the tip jar. You should tip anyway, but doesn’t this make you feel even better about doing it?I’m not trying to advertise JJ’s because it doesn’t need it. The property owners have slated it and Noshville, the New York style deli next door which has appeared on the TV show Nashville, for destruction. Both businesses are doing fine, but the property owners want to demolish the entire block and put in an apartment building.
In my not so humble opinion the area needs an apartment building like it needs another one of those chain coffee places. There already are apartment buildings nearby that aren’t filled to capacity.
And suddenly that death’s head garbage can doesn’t seem so funny anymore.