Sitting in a small-town café is a whole different ball of wax from sitting in a city café.
First of all, I’m one in maybe 5 people with a laptop instead the standard 95% laptop population of San Francisco and Chicago.
Second, every day that I’ve come in, (which is about 6 days out of 10) I’ve had a conversation with a stranger other than the Barista. This is rare. I’m pretty self-contained so it’s easy for me to float through life without talking to anyone, although I’m working on that.
What’s remarkable is how many people talk to each other who don’t walk in together. It’s too small of a town not to, I suppose. It’s like when blues or swing dancers walk into an airport, or a bar and see each other. Even if you’re marginally acquainted, it feels natural to walk up and say hello. Being in here is the equivalent of sitting in front of the town’s twitter feed, only it’s all happening in the flesh, right in front of me. There are updates about the weather, local news, an upcoming solstice parties, debates about religion, discussions about Jerry Brown’s policies, and teenagers cracking jokes.
You can tell who us tourists are, because we don’t automatically know someone else in the café, although in a week or two that will change for me, since I’ve already met several locals.
I also met two kids who are on a dirt bike tour from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to San Diego. Having done a bike trip myself, I struck up a conversation with the gal outside the cafe, because her loaded down bike was impossible to miss. They even have a tour blog. I asked how they got up on the hill, since there are really only two roads, both are about an hour’s drive by car and very windy with not much shoulder. They apparently took a dirt service road up from Hemet. Holy crap! The photos on their blog are amazing. Give it a read, especially if you are a cycling fan.
Anyways, it’s Saturday morning. There’s a farmers’ market down by the local health food store, so I think I’ll grab my tea and walk down to check it out and get the word on the street.