Part of writing this blog was to talk about things that caught my attention, provoked thought, or simply amused me. Sadly these things have been fleeting in the past week or so and as a result, my blog has lagged a bit. As I sit here in my favorite haunts, I think I shall write about the thing that gets me up in the morning: coffee.
Now I’m not addicted to it (says I as I take a draw from my mug), but I am generally pleasant in the morning without. No, for me coffee is a social addiction. My alarm goes off each morning and I arise to go to my daily haunt for coffee but the primacy of my desire is to greet the day with similar souls who crave interaction. As I pull up to my early morning temple, the nagging thoughts of the day take a respite as I grab a cup and settle down at the big table. There lies before me is a stratum of interesting characters of different experiences and viewpoints gathered, wielding coffee as the excuse, clamoring to satisfy our truer addiction of personal contact.
The topics can be benign as discussing the weather or can become heated when talk turns political but the general affinity for and affability of those seated at the table usually plays to harmony. Not to say the harmony is absolute and people have been known to get up and leave and take sabbaticals, but most are drawn back over the course of time. The table in the morning hour generally has an unofficial seating chart with the right wing anchored by the elder statesman Mr. Max. Mr. Max, whose name “Lord Max” is on his chair, is at one end with more moderate and progressive views proceeding from that point. When my son would eat breakfast there Mr. Max, during each visit, taught my son how to shake hands like a gentleman and now people notice his firm handshake and direct eye contact. Mr. Jock at the other end of the table and political spectrum used to conspire with my son on how to make nerf weapons more lethal over breakfast and ended up teaching him how to use a plasma welder. The table has people who are teachers, construction workers, filmmakers, lawyers, a former city manager, artists, musicians, developers, prosecutors, engineers, salesmen, community and non-profit leaders, even nitpickers, and all add to the tapestry of experience, ideas and thought. Often there are assignments or exercises for the table to explore. Recently a daily word scramble, on which we often had to cheat with our smartphones, or today someone brought in a sheet to have those fill in the blank for non-gender pronouns. People arrive and leave, in daily patterns, as the hands of the clock move about the dial as the members proceed out to start the rest of their day.
In a world to often filled with discord this daily “coffee” reminds me of the communal part of society. It is a little piece of social harmony where fondness, respect, discretion, and even understanding finds purchase and perhaps is a seed that carries forth with us all as we depart back into our lives. If you have an opportunity to find something like this in your realm, I cannot recommend it more heartily. Otherwise, come to ours. We can always squeeze in one more chair and it comes with coffee…