It was tough to find a parking spot outside my favorite coffee shop Saturday morning. As it turns out, that was a very good thing.
Inside, so many animated conversations were going on, it felt almost like a bar at happy hour.
Patrons — many of them weekday regulars — were engaged in genuine human interaction, rather than hunkering down solo with an open laptop, the universal signal for “leave me the hell alone.”
A few customers in small groups sat in cushioned chairs, looking quite relaxed, while others engaged in one-on-one conversations at several smaller tables. Virtually every seat was filled.
Baristas caught up with familiar faces as they brewed fresh pots and filled empty mugs. A former employee, who worked there for several years while going to college, stopped in to visit with her old regulars. Lots of hugs to go around.
In the midst of such community and joyful noise, I was reluctant to leave. As I made the relatively long walk to my car, I thought of “Bowling Alone,” Robert D. Putnam’s book that 14 years ago explored the social “disconnect” among American communities.
And then I thought of a recent post by my friend and fellow blogger Mark Bialczak, who wrote about a celebratory night in his weekly bowling league.
Mark’s bowling post, and the buzz at the coffee shop, made me glad that there are still plenty of us who go out in public without displaying a “leave me the hell alone” sign.