No Fancy Name
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
i am jealous
Mel found herself a good coffee shop, and to hear her talk about it reminds me of just how important a good coffee shop is to one's well-being. I am currently without a good coffee shop. Sure, there are plenty of places where I get coffee/other drinks (big fan of bubble tea and red bean smoothies) but there's not that one place where I want to sit, drink coffee, decompress, feel comfortable. I've had "my coffee shop" everywhere I've ever lived, except for two—my hometown, and the town I live in now—neither are places I actually want to live. Maybe there's a connection...

When I went to college, I had a coffee shop that I visited almost everyday. I hadn't yet begun my trip into the highly caffeinated world; I drank tea. But the concept was the same—this was the place we went to hang out, to feel comfortable, to decompress from school. Of course, my little gaggle of people didn't belong anywhere on campus...the big kids didn't want us around and we didn't want to be around our fellow special-program members (they tended toward the gooberish side). So, we drank tea and ate brie sandwiches. It worked out.

I went to grad school for half a semester (it sucked) but I had two really great coffee shops: one crunchy hippie place that smelled of incense and had walls covered with the standard fare of music/march/rally/free tibet posters, and one "uppity academic" place. I managed to enjoy both places far as I was concerned, it was a place that wasn't my apartment, and that's all that mattered. After a few months, I left and found my way to a kick-ass college town, where I worked in a great coffee shop. At least I thought it was pretty great, and there were plenty of people who hung out there all day and until midnight so they thought it was pretty great. When I wasn't working, I hung out there because everyone I knew and liked was there, except for the coolest person I knew in that town. She didn't like it there and never came in, and that was sad for me. But anyway...around the time that I worked at the coffee shop, I realized my love for coffee...probably because it was free.

I moved away from there after a few years, and came out here to California. It took me about three years to find a decent place where I felt comfy and the atmosphere was good, and that was a bad, bad move. I started running with a bad crowd. Actually, it was more like I started taking care of the wrong crowd and did everything I could to keep the owners and employees from getting thrown in jail or rehab. I eventually left the state, moved to Richmond. I love Richmond. I would live there again in a heartbeat. Betsy's in Carytown was my place. But then I switched jobs, moved up to Alexandria, worked in Georgetown, and became a Dean & Deluca person (it was next door to the office).

I've been back in California for four years, and I haven't had a good coffee place in all that time. There are a few indie places that I visit when I remember, but my days of sitting and decompressing from the world seem long gone...not because I can't find a good coffee place, but because "down time" isn't something that works itself into my everyday life, which sucks. I would love to sit and sip coffee at Willow Glen Coffee (5 mins away) or even Cafe Pergolesi (30 mins away), but there's just no space for that...there's always work to be done, or work to try to find, or work to stress about.

Come to think of it, I think I'm more jealous of Mel's ability to take the time to hang out in a great coffee place. :( Even if I found a place that I really enjoyed, work would find a way to seep into the experience...probably in the form of WiFi...because when your company's largest client is one of the world's leading WiFi hotspot aggregators, I tend to think of places in terms of their WiFi-ness (or lack thereof).

I had a friend once who really wanted to go off to Mexico and live in a cave. I think that's the only way I'll ever get some happy peace and quiet ...but there'd have to be a really good coffee shop nearby.


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