Sunday

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

When any of my friends ever said, let’s meet for coffee, nobody ever had to ask where. There has only been one place to go. Cafe Olimpico. For the last fifteen years or so, we’ve been going to the same coffee shop. This was the place to meet friends, read the paper, and hang out.

Over the years and depending on my schedule, I would go daily, weekly or monthly. Every time I went, I would see a familiar face or a friend.

The baristas know me. They know how I take my coffee.

At a certain point, I was going so often, I would not wait in line. I would not even order. I would walk in say hello and go sit down. Within a few minutes I would hear, ‘Shawn, your coffee is ready.’

If anyone ever did ask where we should go for coffee, it was met with chuckles, because there was only one place to go.

That is until this last weekend.
video
Please Excuse Jennifer Aniston's Overacting.

Slowly, one by one, my friends and extended friends are moving away from the old neighbourhood. They are spreading out in different directions on and off the island.

Last weekend, rather than just showing up at the coffee shop to meet a few of my closest friends, we had to make plans. A few text messages and a phone call or two were exchanged.

‘Coffee Saturday?’
‘OK. 9:30? Where?’
‘9:30. Premiere Moisson?’
‘OK.’

With all the Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and Second Cups in this city, and the rare cup of instant coffee, I am not a coffee snob. But I do know how I like my coffee. You can become adjusted to different surroundings, but you also have to adjust to a different taste of coffee. How do you tell the barista how to make your café latte when all they do is press a button?

It goes beyond a comfortable chair and a good cafe latte. We keep hearing talk of social networks, what about social capital? How much is it worth? I started thinking about this as more than changing coffee shops. It's an upheaval to a new neighbourhood, new surrounding, restaurants, new neighbours and potentially new friends.

I will save the sociological theories and analysis for another time. I realized the best way to discover the new neighbourhood was to walk around the area. Next I tried a search on Google maps.You may be surprised what you can find on Google.
If you have never tried it before, punch in your Postal or Zip code into Google Maps. Click on Search Nearby, and type in your desired search item, be it coffee shop or grocery store.

While I have discovered new restaurants and shops, I haven't found the new hangout yet. I do not know if I ever will. Not everything can be replaced. I will keep looking for that new home away from home.

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