I try to explain to folks who turn their noses up when I say I study at sb, but they never seem to understand.
It is not about the coffee. It is about the community. And it is a special kind of community. Maybe my sb is particularly special. But I doubt it. I think sb breeds this kind of odd combination of anonymous, safe and yet connectedness.
This is the place where you meet the online date for the first time because nothing bad could happen to you (not really the same way Holly Golightly felt about Tiffany's).
Here you have bible study, work meetings, before the meeting coffee, child care exchanges, as well as catch ups with your girl friends.
And the baristas are trained to cultivate regulars. I am sure evil empire market research company told them to do it. I don't really care about that.
It is the unintended consequence that interest me. People pay guarded attention to each other and conversations. They watch over your things when you leave them unattended to get a refill or go to the bathroom. They turn in left items.
Which brings me to St. Anthony. When at midnight I realized that I had left my little iPod sweetly charging next to the fireplace at sb at 5pm, I said a quick prayer to St. Anthony - not really about getting it back so much as being more attentive to my own things.
I also tried to use some meditation principles to get me through the blame and guilt. If someone had picked it up and taken it, I had decided it would because he or she needed it. If not, then it was because under the watchful eyes of the sb community an unattended item would be turned in or left for the staff to find it.
Magic. Just as I had hoped, the lovely workers had it safely tucked away. And one said she knew it had to be someone who always came in given how it was set up so neatly there. So the anonymous had watched over it but not turned it in. Not wanting to sully their anonymity by touching something that did not belong to them.
I don't know if this would happen in NYC, too, but I suspect something close would occur because the folks who work or hang out in sb are like-minded.
And, here, the golden rule is supreme.
They would certainly want someone to turn in their lost item or watch over it.
Magic, I tell you. Magic.
16 hours ago