Not All Coffee Shops Are Created Equal

Who are these people in this coffee shop???

They arrive, they meet obviously for the first time, they have conversations about…stuff, and it is obvious that someone is buying or selling, or looking for work or hiring. If they were real, wouldn’t they have offices? They do have suits. They do have cell phones. They even have briefcases and often laptops. Where are their freakin’ offices? How can they be trusted if they work out of a coffee shop?

These suburban coffee shops are NOT the same thing as the urban coffee shops I prefer. I go to coffee shops to meet my friends whom I mainly meet in coffee shops. The people who hang around in my coffee shops are almost all people I would probably enjoy meeting and speaking with. Maybe…having a cup of coffee with. I like the coffee shops where the chance that someone I care for knows someone who knows any randomly chosen person in the coffee shop is close to 100%. The other day I met a friend in a coffee shop that I only rarely go to, and there were nine people there she knew, not counting two public officials that everyone knows. I think there may be a few people I know whom I’ve only ever seen in a coffee shop. Yes, I’m sure that’s true. In my coffee shops, the most common disruption of a private conversation is when someone stops by to say hi or to pick up on some conversation that was going on a week or two ago.

In these suburban coffee shops, I’m thinking that having a conversation with almost anyone in here would only happen if I was opening an account or being fitted for a suit or getting arrested or something. The most common form of interruption is a bunch of people at some table breaking out in a prayer session, or the marauding afternoon rush of high school students breaking out in a game of volleyball or something. One guy tried to talk to me in this suburban coffee shop the other day and it was really creepy. He was trying to tell me how great Windows was compared to Linux. Ewww…

I look around me and I don’t see even one anarchist. Oh, wait, no, there might be an anarchist over there beyond the pillar…no, no, just another guy in a suit. Never mind.

At one table we have a conference call in progress, with laptops open. In a nearby chair, right next to me, we have a gentleman in a suit taking calls…he is the manager of something. I can tell because he keeps saying, “I don’t know who to call about that. Can’t help you with that.”

In the middle of the room is a table of four. Three in suits are selling the fourth in casual dress on some real estate scheme or another. A bit down the way is a guy with his stuff spread all over two tables, his laptop out, wearing a suit, making calls.

A couple of people on the couch are doing what looks like a job interview.

Beyond that are all high school students. Twenty or thirty of them, constantly fluctuating in numbers and noise levels.

Oh, the manager guy in the nearby chair has been replaced by a salesman in a green suit. And nine students have wandered out and six have wandered in.

I think I’ll stay here for the rest of the evening and see how things develop.

Or not.

Yeah, not.

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