Today I’ve escaped to the local coffee shop. It’s the perfect day for it – Sunday, snow blowing wildly outside, the kids napping at home with dad, and, conveniently, I’m not so tired that I can’t drag myself out in the middle of the afternoon. That’s how I find myself seated in a little booth with a view of the door and the rest of the cafe. A window to my left, a fireplace to my right, schmaltzy music from the speakers, laptop open on the table. I sip a mug of decaf vanilla-infused black tea. No caffeine for this breastfeeding mama!
I used to frequent coffee shops all the time, as most students do, and love it still whenever I get the opportunity. While never a choice place to read or write, I can always relax here. People come and go, all sorts of strange and interesting types, so I feel I have company, yet there’s no pressure to interact or engage. I remain cocooned in thoughts and observations, listening to the dialogues that float through the air. With a bit of concentration in any one direction, my ears pick up what people are saying.
A middle-aged couple sitting behind me is talking about their home décor. “You know that fish I got hangin’ down by the furnace?” the man drawls to the woman. “We could put that up over the mantel.” I can’t hear her response, but she doesn’t sound too enthusiastic. I don’t think I would be either.
An old man has been sitting in front of me for a while, cane propped up against the brick interior wall. He flips through a copy of the local paper, but just let out a surprisingly strong yell for someone who looks so frail: “How’s my bagel coming?” The server doesn’t hear him, so he says it louder. She turns around. “Oh, sorry, Bill! It’s right here!” Now he’s happily munching.
A young guy has seated himself near me in a leather armchair with a steaming mug of coffee and… oh man… an eReader! The traditionalist, the romantic, and the idealist within me all recoil at the sight. There’s nothing cozy about that! My initial relationship with any book stems from its physicality – the smell and feel of those pages. If I had to read the same-feeling book over and over again, just like an eReader is, I’d be unmotivated to start! Can anyone else relate??
A Jack Layton look-alike is sitting a few booths down. Some round wire spectacles are perched on the end of his nose as he reads the paper. A young girl has entered with her laptop. She’s dressed to the nines. I have a brief flashback to my post on fashion angst: did she seriously dress like that to come to the coffee shop, or is she en route elsewhere?! The middle-aged couple is now arguing about lighting in their home. They’re also going to landscape the yard all the way down to the pond. Sounds like a big job to me. Oh, now Bill and Jack are chatting away!
The time has come to get going. My leash is short these days, thanks to my other job as a dairy supplier! I’ll finish my tea, layer on the winter clothing, and head home in the blizzard, rejuvenated by my brief foray into a world of adults.
What are some of your favourite places to go alone?