No need to drink alone at a neighborhood coffee shop

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.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in communication, Irish Investigations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to No need to drink alone at a neighborhood coffee shop

  1. markbialczak says:

    Yes, some people wear the figurative Stand Back sign on the forehead, don’t they, Jim. I, too, am glad there’s another world of mixers, out there, my friend.


  2. markbialczak says:

    I think this here award was made with you in mind. I nominate you, Jim, for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. You know how to be cool, and you know how to breathe fire.


  3. As a frequent flier at the Franklin Square location, I completely love the atmosphere that F.O.E. allows. It’s necessary to make a trip to Liverpool or Fayetteville for a change of scenery.

    I share the same humanitarian adoration with conversing with the baristas and those around me. Some are close-minded, but the majority are open and friendly. If people look for an outlet, it’s easy to wave them over and offer a table to share.

    Life is too short to be “boarded up.”


    • Jim McKeever says:

      Indeed, Chris … of course, I understand that some folks like to go to coffee shops to do homework and catch up on work. Nothing wrong with that, and I admit to doing so on occasion. But it was just so refreshing to walk into Freedom and feel all that energy. Very cool. Thanks for reading.


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