An Adventure Into the Instantly Familiar

Today, I went on an adventure. Not much of an adventure, mind you. I went to a quiet place with comfortable furniture and good food. But it was also a place where I have never been before, and that in and of itself is an adventure of sorts, at least to me.

I went to a new coffeeshop. Not a chain, but not a “hipster” shop either. It’s certainly not one of the typical ones in which the population of the world might be found, but I like it.

I may not embody the stereotype of a writer in many ways, but my love of coffeeshops is indeed one way in which I live the assumption. One might even exaggerate and say I am a connoisseur of the cofeeshops around me, since I have used them as bases for working and for studying for years now. I have explored the commercial chains, and I discovered that each brand has its own personality.

I like Starbucks well enough. There is always good music, and I have gotten to know the baristas fairly well at all three of the branches where I have spent a lot of time. The coffee is sweet, designed to appeal to the largest number of people possible. The people inside are always loud, though, because Starbucks is the place for meetings, and that is not always particularly helpful when I simply want to hole up and work.

Then there is Caribou.  I like the food there better than at Starbucks, but the coffee is a little bitterer. The people are all silent inside of Caribou. They are there to get work done, or to be alone. The music is not really my taste. Caribou is the place for introverts, and that is a part of the writer stereotype that I do not fit—I am an extrovert. Introspective, yes, but I like the energy of the people around me. Hence, Caribou is not for me.

That’s the thing about the chains. There are so many of them. It feels almost impersonal, and they are all alike.

But I like this new coffeeshop. Coffee Bianco is a local one, not a chain. It’s owned by kind women who will stop for a chat. It just opened, and so it is not overpopulated, but the people inside know each other well. I happened to stumble upon it because it is nearby, and it was like finding a secret society that welcomed me in within five minutes.  The energy inside is quiet, but friendly—the perfect mix for me. This is the first coffeeshop I have ever been in where I have come in for a cup of coffee, had the ability to try something new flavor-wise, enjoyed a short conversation during which I realized that I like the people here, that we think similarly, and then retired to a small corner in which I could work. The art on the walls is abstract, interesting to look at, and the feeling I get from it is a combination of the modern world but also something vaguely old-fashioned, reminiscent of an era with less technology, an era of community.

The energy that I feel here is tranquil, but the quiet is not chilly. Any music to be heard comes from the man with a guitar that is sometimes playing, sometimes not. The newspapers are free, scattered around in the corners for those who might wish to read them. If I wanted to start a conversation, chances are I would make friends. This is a place where I could come to meet for a light lunch, or to enjoy an iced latte all on my own. It is a place that feels like spring in its newness, like summer in its freedom, like autumn in its flavor, and like winter in the soft conversation all around. It has its own community, and I do not have to look like everyone in it to feel like I could fit into the pattern here. I do not have to come here with a friend in order to chat or to feel social. I do not have to fit the age demographic of coffeeshops, or of writer stereotypes.

Today, I went on an adventure, and it paid off.

 

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For those interested, here is the link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coffee-Bianco/287938061364382

Here is their website: http://www.coffeebianco.com/temp/index.htm

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