And I didn't even know I had one! A Steampunk soul, that is.
But I must, since I enjoyed my day-after-grand-opening visit (Saturday) to Salem's newest coffeehouse -- Clockworks Cafe and Cultural Center, which is in the old Blue Pepper location on Commercial Street.
Steampunk, for all of those old fogies who aren't as hip to what's happening as this 61 year old is (hey, I rode my big Burgman 650 scooter to the cafe, way trendy), has something to do with mixing old and new.
OK, I'm vague as to what it is.
But I was familiar enough with the term to be able to utter a few moderately sensible sentences to the Clockworks Cafe barista after I complimented her on the decor and she told me, "We're Steampunk inspired."
Which involves a lot of gears. Connections. Interacting elements. I enjoyed the philosophy on a flyer the barista handed me.
Download Clockworks Cafe in Salem
We are all Clockworks. Individual gears, with our own style, look, feel, and function. Alone we are distinct, special, and unique. But it is only by coming together that we truly make the hands of time move forward.
Together we become more than the sum of our parts. Only by combining our talents, our abilities, our minds and our passions, can we create true forward movement. In other words, the clock only turns when the gears work together. We are Clockworks.
Absolutely. And I tick better when caffeine is flowing through my circuits.
So I'm pleased to report that my habitual expresso order, a 16 oz nonfat vanilla latte, was nicely prepared. The barista and her coworker said they'd been practicing heart-shaped latte swirls that morning.
I saw an attractive pattern in my cup, as befits an artistically inclined coffeehouse, but couldn't call it a heart. I'm looking forward to seeing how my lattes evolve on future visits.
I'm sure they'll happen. The Clockworks Cafe has all the ingredients I need for a pleasant coffee house experience.
(2) Comfortable seating. Check. I took my photos while sitting on a nice soft chair, watching a couple converse on some centrally located sofas.
(3) Wi-fi. Check. Naturally this is a must for bloggers like me who enjoy writing a good share of their posts outside of home (and their pajamas/sweatpants).
The barista and I chatted for quite a while, since the place wasn't humming with customers at the moment. As reported by our local newspaper, she told me that the cafe was a non-profit venture of the Culture Shock Community Project.
Given Salem's overly sleepy reputation, I liked what I read on the Culture Shock Myspace page.
The Culture Shock Community Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to one thing: empowering and sparking a vital and vibrant community!
We believe in community; an active, cross-cultural, creative, expressive, direct, heart-pounding, supportive, local community. We believe in what it means to be a part of a community; the Me to We relationship. We believe that a community needs to breathe fire from its lungs; that it needs to constantly grow and evolve to the changing world around it, but that it also needs to be tied to the earth’s “village values” that have defined what being a part of a community is for ages.
We believe in pushing boundaries, breaking barriers, starting conversations, launching ships, making waves, doing good, digging deep, building bridges, lighting fires, and shattering ceilings. We look at a whole community and ask; what makes a community “VITAL” – Art & Music, Community Service, Sustainability, Going Local, Living Healthy, Multi-Culturalism; and HAVING FUN!
See - We live in Salem Oregon! And we are proud of that fact. Salem, Keizer, and the Mid-Valley are full of far more excitement, creativity, art, culture, energy, community, vitality and spirit than we often notice. But it is time we stood up and said: This is our community; it is great, and we aim to make it even better!
That said, I've no doubt that Travel Salem will be able to attract conventioneers to the area.
Groups such as the Bland Lovers Association and People for the Abolition of Excitement will come here like moths drawn to gray. Also, the Watching Paint Dry discussion circle.
If I sound critical, it's because Salem deserves to be criticized.
Along with every resident whose tastes are so strip mall, big box store, and fast food'ish, the rest of us are doomed to mediocrity when cool businesses reject the area after a marketing study.
That's what I've been told turns Trader Joes off when they considered coming to Salem: the lack of cultural creatives -- who are willing to spend money on healthy, organic, cutting-edge, innovative items.
So kudos to the Clockworks Cafe and Culture Shock Community Project for bringing some energetic youthful creativity to downtown Salem. That's mucho appealing to my wife and me.