Mid-morning and we’re sitting in the cafe of the Barnes and Noble bookstore at 82nd and Broadway in Manhattan.
I’m on my second single expresso, Meredith is making her cappuccino last.
(We’ll be here later this afternoon for the Pop-Up event at 5pm.)
“Green tea, right?” says the manager to a new arrival, clearly a regular.
He is a jovial cove who runs a friendly coffee bar.
He knows his regulars but serves everyone with the same in-the-moment civility. It makes for a feeling of community–however fleeting–and reminds me of a library in the “old days”–but without the “shhh!” factor!
The tables of coffee lounge/bar are filling up–with mostly single occupation–as people stop by for a mid-morning morale booster.
“Sir, you just dropped your wallet–I didn’t want you to..!”
“Thank you so much!” I say to the young woman and we have a moment of unspoken understanding of what it might mean to mislay your wallet in the city.
Everyone is reading or working a computer–with one exception.
We’ve noticed that coffee lounges that offer wi-fi serve some as make-do offices.
The woman behind me chats on her mobile, connecting with a world elsewhere–breaking out of the floating “fraternity” and distracting me, unaccountably, in a way that the nearby conversation doesn’t.
I move to another table and re-establish contact with my temporary ever-changing safe haven.