coffee, plaid and public book reading.

(i will preface this by saying that i am at the salt lake city airport, wearing earbuds, and the cnn michael jackson trial is blaring in from of me while i type.)

i suppose the “right” thing to do would be to write about something “spooky” or “scary” or “frightening”.  i probably should post some of your awesome halloween photos or what you’ve written about your past costumes.  but right now, i feel compelled to write about


moreover, i would like to take this time to write about coffee shops.

sometime this year i saw a couple in the bustling bagel/coffee shop in town, sitting across from each other and doing something that really stuck out to me:

yup, they were reading.  books.  enthralled, not touching, not smiling.  nope, reading.  together.  in a coffee shop.  weird yet for some reason i found myself to be jealous of them and their voracious and untouchable public display of reading.

today, i went to grab saturday coffee before heading to the airport.  while i waited for my almond milk latte (minor rift:  do not recommend.  it was a gamble and i didn’t win the jackpot.  that has nothing to do with this theme but friends do let friends drink bad coffee.), i rean into my friend melchiore who was…reading.  a book, not a kindle, on a saturday morning.  he was not trying to act like a millenial or hipster.  nope, he was reading at a coffee shop as he put it “like we used to do back in the 90’s”.

and, maybe you have a kindle and maybe you don’t.  maybe you read books in public, perhaps in coffee shops.  but, honestly, for me it’s been awhile.  i read on the internet, i read a little before bed and on the bus.  i don’t read in coffee shops.  but i did.  i worked in a fantastic one, the lyons den.  it was fabulous.  starbucks was starting to get big at that time but this student-run hangout was unique.  we’ d “study” and study, most of the time without computers (i think one of my friends did have one.  just one, though.) and always with books.  and coffee.  i want to be clear and honest, though.  i did not actually do a lot of reading.  i often used the books as props or proof of possible coolness.  i read a lot of the pages over and over again because i was really into people watching and listening to music-not my music (my walkman and tapes were too bulky and awkward to bring along.) but the music chosen by the queen or king barista.  i may or may not have brought poetry books i never read to attract cute collegiate boys that might have found that alluring.

the idea of being overly-wired, plugged in and multi-tasking is a popular topic of discussion.  what i wonder is how that affects the handwritten note-passing catalano generation who walked around in malls in groups for fun.  no, we did not grow up with the laptops and cellphones we now bring  to the coffee shop.  we may go to grab a latte and a conversation with a friend or have a meeting of some sort but on our “free” time we put on our headphones and get frustrated at a poor wireless connection.  do we still remain open as we were in the pre-internet age for spontaneous conversations?

i’m not sure if that resonates with anyone.  i need to board now.

i’ll be using my ipod but i do have a real book to read.


2 Responses to “coffee, plaid and public book reading.”
  1. k.c says:

    I read in public while waiting for doctor appointments, etc, so I can avoid small talk with other “waiters”. I don’t get many chances to kill time in a cafe or anything, but if I did I’d probably bring whatever book I’m working on. I love to read and don’t like chatting with strangers and I’ve always been that way. I have noticed in the last few years I’m less talky with those I know, as well. Though I’ve come to love texting, fb, and email as means of communication, I’d still like to talk on the phone like I did in the old days (a few years ago; long conversations to catch up), but I feel like some feel “bothered” if you call just to talk, so I don’t.

    Have a safe trip!

    • project1979 says:

      i also love to talk on the phone to catch up with people. do you remember when you would call a friend and have to talk to their parent’s first? or, even worse, when you wanted to contact a cute boy? hen caller id came out and prank calling was so much more difficult. it’s so different now!

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