Issue 2, Semester 2
A thank you letter to the hole-in-the wall café outside Melbourne Law School that has taught me some valuable life lessons.
1. Porta Via has made me fiscally responsible
Early in my first year of the JD, I learnt to always make my own lunch, lest I was forced to fork out ten big ones for the saddest pesto pasta in the southern hemisphere. I fear if there were a place in close proximity to the law school that served palatable, inexpensive food, I may be tempted to forego the home-brought option. Just one bite into Porta Via’s ‘hummus wrap’ (which contains no evidence of hummus but was maybe once stored on a shelf next to a can of chickpeas) would surely make even the most time-poor and meal-prep-averse of the cohort proclaim that, next time, they’d rather just make it themselves. So, thank you, Porta Via, for helping me tighten my purse-strings and stay well within my student-life budget!
2. Porta Via has made me feel like a true Melbournite
As a former Perth gal, I’d quietly mock the pretentiousness surrounding Melbourne’s coffee-culture. Sure, some lattes are better than others but there’s no such thing as a truly awful coffee. It’s all just beans and water, right?! I’ve been known to opt for a sachet of Nescafé Gold in a pinch, or even a Starbucks frappe whilst abroad (no matter how sacrilege that word is in our State of Victoria). I’m really just in it for the caffeine most of the time. Enter stage left: Porta Via. Porta Via has helped me recognise that, yes, truly awful coffee does exist. Those ultra-cool baristas with their beanies, septum piercings, and wrist tattoos of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon were right. Coffee is delicate and precious. With the acrid taste of my first Porta Via long black etched onto my tongue and fresh in my mind, never will I doubt Melbourne’s coffee snobs again.
3. Porta Via has made me more attuned to my surroundings
One sunny afternoon, as I sat upon the beloved median strip, devouring the lacklustre pasta mentioned in part one, I spotted a hair entwined within my penne. Pulling it out for closer examination, I marvelled at the long, thick, black lock. I tried my best to do a colour-match to some of the brunette strands within my own mane that had managed to escape my ferocious bleaching attempts. Alas, I quickly discovered that the hair did not emanate from my head but the head (or beard?) of a stranger. On the plus side, this minor mishap revealed that I was certainly overdue for another cut and colour. Thanks, rogue pasta-salad curly!
4. Porta Via has taught me a thing or two about economics.
Ever the fan of creating an experiential learning environment for students, Porta Via has served up its business model as one that illustrates the powers of a captive market. A captive market is one in which consumers face a severely limited number of competitive suppliers, leaving them to purchase what is available or not at all. A café located on Pelham Street, close enough to fling your Contracts textbook at from the revolving MLS doors, is the typification of a business operating within a captive market. If one were to Howl’s-Moving-Castle Porta Via and plonk it onto Smith St, surrounded by limitless hot Fitzroy cafés, it wouldn’t survive any longer than it takes to say ‘the egg muffin is $7.50, sauce is extra.’ Kept afloat by its proximity to desperate law students who may only have a scarce few minutes free between classes or cramming for exams, Porta Via has taught this former Arts student more about economics than reading the Financial Review.
Lizz is a Second Year JD Student.