Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, February 20, 2021

There are a few things I miss about my late home base of Tampa Bay. One of the more minor — but still vital — is the herd of Aveda Institute students, who are fast becoming a defining fixture in downtown St. Pete:

They wear black. Their hair is “volumized.” They’re not blond or brunette; they’re Madder Root, or Camomile, or Black Malva. They emit exotic fragrances. Cinnamon Bark? Bergamot? Ylang Ylang?

They are algaed and flax-seeded. They are pale. They are attitudinal. They are young. Many of them smoke.

They stream across Third Street to the Publix plaza for cheap Chinese takeout. Or they flow to First Avenue S to Cafe Alma. Or they go the other way toward the Lucky Dill Deli on Central Avenue. They flood the downtown like migrating birds.

They swarm the crosswalks on the red light. Cars stop. Necks crane. A driver calls out, “What are you, Scientologists?” Many don’t know they are students, aspiring stylists, and black is their dress code.

The students realize they are magnets for attention. Sometimes it gets weird. At noon one day on Central Avenue, several of them are accosted by a woman they’ve never seen before.

“I am the Princess of Light,” she says. “Your black clothes are giving out negative energy.”

She pulls out a small bottle of soap water and a plastic wand. As they walk away, she follows, baptizing them with soap bubbles.

The stomping grounds mentioned are all too familiar to me. In particular, that cheap Chinese takeout joint served me well for a long time for my lunch hours at Florida Trend. Cafe Alma is a real gem, both for dining and partying. As for the Lucky Dill: Always crowded for lunch, but I found it to be extremely overrated.

I really like that Scientology crack, because I myself once made the visual/presence comparison of the Avedans to Clearwater’s cultists. Not that I’m accusing Aveda of being a cult — although that would explain the uniforms…

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/20/2006 07:52:21 PM
Category: Florida Livin' | Permalink |

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  1. Aww, Florida misses you, too!

    Comment by Rachel* — 02/21/2006 @ 06:11:43 PM

  2. Good to know, always.

    Comment by CT — 02/21/2006 @ 10:25:07 PM

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