Steampunk-themed café

Posted in: Dreams, Work stories
Originally posted on Hi

I was having lunch with Rowena (who I will refer to from here on out as HER ROYAL MOOSE-LI - the conditions set by her for allowing me to write about her idea in a blog post. This is gonna make things interesting…), my friend and workmate who helped land me my current job at Xero, and instead of our usual talk about cats and/or baking, she was letting her head float in the clouds for a while.

A handful of the original Xeroes (or is it “Xero’s”? I’ve never actually seen it written) - the people who had helped build this company from the beginning - had left recently to pursue other endeavours, and as always happens when some of the originals go, the remaining originals either get nostalgic for the days when they could still count employee numbers with 2 digits, or they start wondering about what they would do in a post-Xero world. Today, for HER ROYAL MOOSE-LI, it was the latter.

“I wanna do something totally different,” she said. “Like maybe a steampunk-themed café. Yeah…” as her head and eyes drifted towards some upper corner, her dreaming corner I’d wager. We started talking ideas of the food she could serve, all the baking she could do, the drinks she could formulate (it got pretty boozy, made me wonder if we were talking about a bar or a café, which then led to a discussion about whether a bar or a café would be more sustainable), the things that would hang on the walls and what the staff would adorn to make it steampunk-themed.

It was a pretty cool dream, and I envied it. I don’t have anything of the sort floating in my own head - business ideas or companies I’d like to start. Despite being in IT with its startup culture, I was never really an ideas person. Implementation, sure. But ideas? That’s always been other peoples’ forté.

“What about you Em?” she asked, as we walked back to work. “What would you do if you had all the time in the world and didn’t have to worry about work?”

I was going to say something similar to what I wrote 2 paragraphs above, but before I could even arrange a sentence in my head about my lack of idea-man characteristics, my mouth started talking for me.

“I wanna learn parkour.”

I stopped for a moment. Where the heck did that come from? I wondered. I… I… I couldn’t refute it. I thought back on those words and realized that it was pure honesty. Of all the things the world had to offer, of all the things I could pick from if the usual day-to-day routine didn’t apply, I wanted to spend my time vaulting fences, running over walls, jumping the gaps between rooftops, and generally overcoming any obstacles in my way.

“Oh, cool,” HER ROYAL MOOSE-LI replied. “Like in Assassin’s Creed?”

“Haha, I’ve never actually played the games before.”

I’d watched my brother play them (for those not in the know, it’s a video game series with a pretty cool parkour mechanic built into it), and I’d seen the YouTube clips of what actual free-runners could do. There was something in the idea and movement that looked, well, freeing.

And I wanted that.


It had been months since HER ROYAL MOOSE-LI and I had that lunch. A few days after I found a stall at one of the city’s weekend markets that sold steampunk-themed jewellery, so I took the photo above to let her know about the place (and of course she already did know about the stall - she’s got her eye on pretty much anything fabric/fashion-related in this city).

I was supposed to write an entry about just that: the lunch and the things we wanted to do if we didn’t have to think about work. I actually had a draft of what I wanted to write, but then I sat on it for so long that it just became another part of the chair that is the background of my life.

What brought it all back though was that 2 months ago, I searched for whether we had anything parkour-related at all in Wellington (and to my surprise, we did). Then 1 month ago, I signed myself up.

This weekend, I did my first parkour class…

…and it hurt like hell. It involved all sorts of muscles that I haven’t used in almost a decade; sitting vestigial within my own body until they were awakened, kicking and screaming from their atrophied state and definitely not up to the job I had asked of them. 2 days later and my muscles are still so sore that I can’t stand from a sitting position without swearing and/or wincing in pain.

(The muscle aches will go away; the first time I do any physical activity it hurts for a few days, then I do it the next week and it hurts less and lasts shorter, the next week it lessens again, and so on until the activity just tires me - I seem to be pretty adaptable to physical exercise so long as I keep at it.)

Despite the swearing and immobility, I am actually really happy with myself. It’s my first step towards that dream and freedom, and it feels all sorts of wonderful to be heading in that direction again.


The website and classes I signed up to can be found below. I’ve since been told of other places around the region where one can practice, so maybe there’s more of a community here than I realized.

Movement Unleashed
http://www.movementunleashed.com/classes/parkour-classes/