Tune-Up Cafe of my Dreams

What is Tune-Up? It is a cafe—-500 steps from my front door, to be exact. Go north on Kathryn. Pass the orange wall. Cross the street. Pass the place that had pit bulls and used to fly the Jolly Roger. Pass the carved gate and the garden with beehives and statues of Ganesh.
Turn left on Hickox. Pass the  re-sale shop with the sign proclaiming 25% off. Pass Aranda’s, once just a humble plumbing store but now a tiny general store that sells espresso and has a a huge sign: ARANDA’S: The Store. They also sell breakfast burritos from…Tune-Up, if you don’t want to cross the street.
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Cross the street. Tune-Up has a modest porch and outdoor area. Today it is crowded inside, lunch rush at 11:30 a.m. Order at the counter. Specials on the board. Xmas decorations, tons of those cool textured balls of light in blue, yellow, pink, peach, orange, white, red, and turquoise hanging low over the tables. Back room is full. Two happy people in the only booth.
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I grab the end of a long table.
Tune Up is my overflow office, meeting space, writing room. I feel deeply “in tune” with it. When I was at the Great Mother conference, and thus prone to liminal states, I had a dream in which my friend Kath said: “I just want to go to the Tune-Up.” I don’t think the dream was just about her.
I order green chile stew. I was meant to live near a cafe and this is the only one within walking distance—although the equally perfect CounterCulture is a two minute drive down busy Baca Street. (I could walk, but it’s a half hour, and I never do.)
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Tune-Up was once a restaurant called Dave’s Not Here. When I first moved to Santa Fe in 1984 I helped take care of Phil Whalen, old beat up Beat poet and Zen priest. Phil heard the hamburgers were great at Dave’s, and he was forbidden meat at the Zen center. The hamburgers were great. I ended up buying a house around the corner.
Dave’s Not Here had once been owned by a man named Dave. He went into debt, was reputed to be on the wrong side of the law, and vanished. The new owners would tell creditors: Dave’s not here. That became the restaurant’s name. Of course it eventually got shortened again to “Dave’s” as if he really was there, if only in spirit.
Dave’s Not Here was sold, and some Central American delicacies added to the menu, but the new owner’s still provide a Dave’s Not Here hamburger for order.
At Dave’s there was a mural in the parking lot of a big Diego Rivera woman with calla lilies. That wall is now inside, part of an addition added to the back.
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Simone de Beauvoir wrote that she never so much as boiled water until the Nazis invaded Paris. She lived over a cafe. I’m more domestic than that, although I’m happiest out.
When I walk home, the street will look different. Everything changes. Everything is close together.
It is easy to see this at Tune-Up.

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