Some of these places no longer exist, but if they did I could get in.
  1. Ganesh
    The Indonesian imports store I worked at all through high school until I was 23 I think. It was (and remains) the cool place to work in my home town. I lived a block away and sometimes if I had a great idea for a window display I would walk over at 3am and get to it. I ran the store with someone I still love like crazy. We loved each other so much we would close the store to take our breaks together. A completely normal managerial decision. Our breaks usually involved TCBY.
  2. The UFI
    As a teen I discovered a coffee house a couple towns over. There were mismatched couches & you could smoke. I'd skip school, take the bus &spend hours. The people there became a kind of weird family to each other, even the folks who didn't get along. The only employees were the 2 young dudes who owned it &eventually I started working there for free cause I was there anyway &they got grumpy with no free time. I never got paid in dollars. 1995-2001. I could make a million lists about this place
  3. Fowels
    This was a classic soda fountain/cafe/diner with a giant old neon sign and a news stand attached. A beautiful perfect place. I never worked there but would jump behind the counter if it was real busy during tourist season. I was given keys because I lived close, could be counted on in an emergency and was a stranger to no one. More than once I went in after midnight for a tiny bit of butter and milk to make my Annie's with.
  4. Black box theater in Massachusetts
    I taught classes at a tiny tiny theater space in newburyport from 1994-2005 and the theater company I worked with did most of our productions there. I would be hard pressed to think of a room I've spent more accumulative waking hours. And I slept in there a handful of times.
  5. Outpost
    This was the first coffee shop in the first neighborhood I moved to in Brooklyn. They were only open five days a week in the beginning and again the only employees were the owners. I worked for food and coffee so they could open seven days a week because without them there was no where to hang out. I often over slept and opened shop out of breath in my pj's. Eventually I wrote my first play in their garden and it was the first place I showed my comics. I sold them for fifty cents a piece.
  6. Office keys
    For the writer who I've known for twelve years and assisted for five, who I basically consider myself related to. It was very hard for us to stop working together and we decided that I should hold on to his keys in case he ever needs me to water his plants or anything since it was mutually agreed upon that he would never have another assistant.
  7. Every house my parents have ever lived in
    Except for the places they live now. I don't think my dad has ever locked his door. And I can't get to my mom's without a ride (I don't drive) and she is usually that ride. In all the times we moved I don't think I ever handed back a key.