After a couple of weeks which were signposted with 2 working weekends, an accidental dump of my MAC eye-shadows in the garbage (the trauma), getting a minor burn during a routine eyebrow wax (double trauma) and cutting a massive chunk of hair by accident while trying to snip my ends (the trifecta of trauma), I just wanted a day off, spent with my laptop to catch up on emails, vacation planning and online shopping. I wanted my coffee shop moment.
When I lived in London, I spent a lot of time in coffee shops. A lot of time. When I head back to the Big Smoke for vacation, I always always end up in a coffee shop. It's a way of life almost. The free wi-fi is also a big draw, of course. Being back home, I have found that my coffee experiences have been either at home, or quick in-and-out moments, aka coffee-to-go moments. But there is something very attractive and comforting about coffee shops.
To me, a great coffee shop is about great coffee, of course, but it is also about the "something" that makes me want to do more than just buy a coffee. Some places - you get in, you get out, with a disposable coffee cup in hand. Other places, you set yourself up in a corner - whether it is at a table in an upright chair with a laptop to work, or on a couch or single armchair, lost in its plushness while sipping on your favourite brew alone, or with a friend or special someone, for 15 minutes or 3 hours.
|A Friday morning coffee at Nichossa's Bakery in San Fernando|
I completed many projects and assignments inside coffee shops. I would pack my bag, and with laptop in tow, I would find a nice, warm coffee shop and park myself in there for hours, just working. The great thing was, noone bothered you. Noone cared that you were there all day, even if you only ever had one coffee. Of course I never had just one and a coffee would always be had with a biscotti, or a sandwich. But this snug little corner of some random London coffee shop would become my little corner of heaven, where my thoughts flowed and my spirit was lighter than if I had stayed in my cold, small room.
|Coffee shops are a great place to work|
Coffee shops are also a great place for blogging for the same reasons.
The atmosphere lends itself to bonding with others, or introspection. Coffee shops are like an urban holiday, but instead of beach chairs or countryside cliffs, you have oversized armchairs. Unlike a restaurant or a movie theatre, it is okay and socially acceptable to be alone in a coffee shop. It's a place where people often just come to work, read, get away from the four walled existence of a house or office, and be among other such people. Eating alone in a restaurant = kiss of death. Sipping a coffee alone in the corner of a coffee shop = who cares? You can read, work, people watch - another awesome highlight of coffee shop life, for as long as you want, without the distraction of thinking people are talking about your "aloneness".
|Coffee shops are great for the solo life adventurer!|
Coffee is also non-committal. It's quick and spontaneous. Dinner is an exercise - making a reservation, getting schedules right etc. Lunch, for me, means tidying up my schedule so I can take an extra 20-30 mins to break bread. Coffee knows no boundaries. A coffee date can be as quick as 10 mins, allowing for a quick check-in, or it can go on for hours, depending on the companion, the atmosphere, the conversation. For the purposes of dating, coffee shops are a great compromise. If the date goes south, it can be over after the first latte - no muss, no fuss. If there are sparks, then you can have another coffee, and maybe a sweet treat as a preamble to planning the next date.
In the same non-committal vein, coffee shops are not demanding, in that, a pair of jeans, a tank top and flip flops are acceptable. There is no dress code or socially acceptable standard when it comes to meeting up at a coffee shop. Here, where there is always an element of "see and be seen", it is nice to not have to fuss just to go spend time with a friend in public. Coffee shops are like that "easy Sunday morning", just anytime, anyday.
I miss this. I miss it. It makes me want to open up my own coffee shop just so others can have that place where they can just get away, while enjoying a brew. I feel like I am going to find a nook somewhere this weekend, just to renew my spirit.