Monday night and I have it all to myself. Its been a while since I’ve had a Monday night to myself. I could hear the call of espresso and books and a corner table at a coffee shop, a habit I’ve sadly neglected since my dating Eliza. Trade off one pleasure for another it would seem. Regardless, I found myself sluggish in body and mind, unable to get moving, wasting two hours after taking Eliza to work before I finally got around to getting to a coffee shop. I had toyed with the idea of going to see a movie, but books were calling me. Grabbing a notebook, my textbook on cognitive neurology and Jung’s“The Undiscovered Self” and “Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams” I went to a coffee shop.
The streets of Eugene are quiet late at night. Only bums, tweakers, college students, romantic poets, and sometimes an odd combination of them all are out on the streets. Since I’ve not been out to a coffee shop at night in so long I’ve found a few surprises. One, the hours have changed. One cafe I used to visit had closed on me already. The second, Allan Bros Coffee on 5th street, had remodeled. I found the remodeling nice and I could not help but count floor seating, trying to ascertain if they had lost floor seating (and profitability) as well as look for traffic routes among the tables. I noted that the lighting had changed, a light that was much too white was being used in the corner (white lights have no place in a coffee shop). I ordered a 4 shot Mexican Mocha and sat in the corner. The group of college kids near me were getting up but decided to have a bit of horse-play before leaving, bound up and down the stairs and being loud. Did they not know this was a coffee shop and not a bar? My temper began to flare, it being short already all day due to lack of sleep and a screwed up sleep schedule. After they had left I had just settled into reading Jung, noting that he had drawn the distinction of mimicry in humans as the base trait leading away from our primal instincts and comparing this with my past readings from “The Meme Machine” when the counter staff began to play Santana much too loudly over the speakers. There was forty minutes left before closing the doors and though they had started to clean up already, they had started too early in their attempts to run off their patrons. I was reminded why I had stopped going to Allan Bros at night all together. It has turned from a coffee house with music in the background, to a loud rompous house hooligans and boisterous music. Not a place to read, drink coffee, and ponder life’s questions. It was a social house, not a thinker’s house.
I grabbed up my books and coffee and stormed out the door, giving no disguise to my anger and disatisfaction in the noise levels. It seems that my late night coffee house visits must find a new home.