If you’re a cafe lover like I am, then you know that all kinds of characters in all kinds of life costumes walk on and off the cafe stage. You’ve got the yoga moms with their nonfat lattes and the ragged old codgers nursing their black coffees. You’ve got stressed-looking students and business types glued to their devices. Single dads on their weekends with the kids. Lovey-dovey couples after a night of rambunctious bed-romping. You might encounter the odd high person muttering to herself in a corner or a street person coming in out of the cold.
And, of course, you’ll find lots of folks like me hunched over their laptops and intermittently staring into space.
Coffee shop regulars are often odd ducks, those lovably strange people who live on the fringes of polite society — like the disheveled gardener who always seemed to have a toothache — or who hail from some old school lifestyle — like the aging rocker dude with black hair that looked like it had been dyed with shoe polish — or who strain after a Quixotic quest — like the garrulous professor who’d been writing his theory of everything for the past twenty years.
After awhile, these oddballs cease to be characters that I observe from behind my laptop, and the coffee shop ceases to be a stage. It becomes its own world, and its inhabitants transform into people nursing hopes and fears just like I do. I get to know their names — Marshall and Ward and Steve — and we become coffee house friends.
All this is to say that I’m ecstatic that I discovered my neighborhood coffee house! I’ve been living in my new home for three months now. Yesterday I happened to mention to a neighbor my longing for an indie coffee shop within walking distance. Well, lo and behold, we have such a shop! And it’s super cute too. I stopped in this morning to check it out. I splurged on a Mexican mocha, just cuz, and eyed a cool red modernist metal wall hanging for my bathroom.
To start the process of becoming a regular, I introduced myself to the owner. I mentioned that I was a writer. She didn’t quite roll her eyes, and I didn’t mind her I-hear-that-a-lot reaction. I’d probably react the same way! Hah! At some point maybe I’ll bring in a few copies of KILMOON so that she can sell them along with the crafts from other local creative types.
Most of all, I’ll just add myself to the cast of regular characters. After awhile, people will know my name.
How important is it for you to have a regular hang-out place outside your home? What do you think it says about a person that she or he seeks these social milieus?