A coffee shop is a great place to be alone and not feel alone. I’ve run into friends and ended up having long conversations. I’ve met new people in coffee shops, too. Occasionally, I’ve had people tell me quick and interesting, and sometimes not-so-quick or interesting, versions of their life history. I think some go just to find someone to talk to, but others read or work or gather with friends. I can’t think of any other place that offers that kind of variety.
On a recent coffee shop stop…
Some women at one table were discussing racism and religion in Texas. At another a group of men talked about Mad Cow Disease. I saw a young man sitting alone who was totally engrossed in a book. A bestseller? An adventurous tale set in some far-flung locale? Sci-fi, maybe. Nope. When he turned around I saw that it was a classic French cookbook. I wondered what he was having for dinner. One young woman was also oblivious to everyone around her. She was typing like mad on her laptop in front of a sunny window. An older fellow, however, had brought along a thick manuscript to read. The stack of papers looked to be almost a ream and I was exhausted just thinking about him taking red pen to all those pages and then having to key in the corrections. A group of women, who regularly meet at the coffee shop after their language class (I’ve run into them before), were gathered to share lunch and practice their Spanish. I had to keep still during the pauses and not blurt out answers/responses as they flipped through dictionary pages. They were obviously taking a beginner class. Otherwise I, too, may have been at a loss for words. On the soundless television overhead CNN was showing the rioting in Egypt, but no one noticed.
One of the most unusual coffee shops I’ve been to is the Starbucks in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The shop is housed in a historic building. The folks who designed it preserved the old house and surroundings. In this UNESCO World Heritage Site the outside appearance of many of the old buildings is deceiving. You have to glimpse the inside to see the true beauty. Check out photos of the beautiful interior patio and fountain at San Miguel Starbucks.
National Coffee Day was September 29. There were freebie cups, T-shirts, discounts and deals at some places in my local area. I missed them all. Lately, I’ve been brewing my favorite Illy with a big dose of heavy cream and enjoying the sunshine in my own back yard. But today it’s raining. Think I’ll go to the coffee shop.