The late morning sun streaks through the glass doors, unobstructed by curtains or blinds. I just spent the better part of forty minutes in a subway car. I applaud whoever constructed the transportation system and commend them for figuring out the intricacies. The people behind transit overlooked something though. Each time I descend a flight of stairs underground, the stale and musty air attacks my nostrils. This stubborn odor numbs my sense of smell for the duration of the ride. Stepping out into the clean, fresh Toronto air is like a welcome embrace.
I’m sitting at a café while my nose recovers from the unfortunate assault I face twice a day. I love coming here more than anywhere else on campus. The space is small enough to accommodate several patrons without feeling cramped. A low murmur is about as loud as it gets. The welcoming ambience transforms the place into a second home. At first, I thought I only ate here out of convenience or because I fear foreign environments. But that isn’t the case at all.
The artificial lighting inside is just right, not too dim and not too bright. I can see people clearly without having to shade my eyes from the light or squint because it’s too dark. On some tables sit a laptop or tablet. On others rest a smartphone. All these devices provide more illumination but mar the purpose of a café in the first place. People are interconnected via technology yet divided because of it.