So, I head off to my local coffee shop for the morning. The food is good; the service is glacially slow but friendly; the eavesdropping, however, is unparalleled:
“Have you tried massage for your allergies?”
“Does anyone know how far Hackensack is?”
“You know I only come in between projects”
“Seriously, we should do that: give me a call and we’ll hit a couple buckets of balls”
“cause we’re thinking of starting a restaurant, so I just wondered”
“No, I was in grad school and they were punk undergrads at Rutgers and then we just got together and rented the studios, then the developers came in”
“If I counter with a fixed rent, paying him a steady income for the store”
“Her eyes were swollen shut! I mean, a sick bird is much worse than a sick child”
Here, I can watch without being watched. The room is small, there’s a mix of soul and contemporary gospel on the stereo and it’s one of the only places I’ve ever frequented where the conversation seems to flow between tables, going private and public again with grace and without intrusion. The owner asked me, with a twinkle, if I’m a writer. I guess I am.
In England, folks head off to their local for a pint. I love the way that adjective, local, stands in for the noun (already much abbreviated), the pub. Though mine has no liquor license, I’m still happy to say that I love my local.