what is it about a cafe that is so soothing to the heart?
simplicity, order, the relative known-ness of the menu with a few local surprises mixed in.
it’s the inverse of a bar, in a way. in a bar, people consume a depressant in an environment designed to overstimulate every sense (except perhaps sight, as most bars are dimly lit). in a cafe, though, we consume stimulants while sunlight enters every window and the music is (usually) calm and unobtrusive.
we can hear our friends here, have a conversation. we can hear our own thoughts. in the quiet of the space offered, we can do what we like: chat or work or rest of read or just people watch. we can be out in public somewhere that there is no stigma attached to being alone.
and while many would (rightly) argue that having the time and resources to sit and drink in a cafe is a privilege, it is certainly more widely accessible than many other luxuries.
my best friend (who spent two years on the road) says whenever she arrives to a new place, she always finds a yoga studio and a cafe. 🙂 two places where we can either opt in or opt out of conversation. two places we can treat ourselves, and treat ourselves well and responsibly and lovingly.
i love that. the right cafe can always be an invitation home to yourself, to a new friend, to a new town or city or job. mmm.
so thank you, cafe gods. for giving us community, communion, and ritual. may all beings have access to such experiences. and may we all look for ways to be kinder to our soil, our beans, our farmers, and our roasters.