Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

No cafe zombie today

I’m working this morning in my favorite fortress-of-solitude cafe, but I’ve decided to try not tuning out quite so completely this morning.

A view of Caffe Espresso 1929, from the Cafe Geek flickr pool

Ever since I read Sean Savage’s piece, every time I settle onto a table, spread out my stuff, and fire up the iPod, I feel a little guilty: I’m giving in to the zombie effect, and worry that I’m making the place a little less friendly. So I’m leaving off the headphones this morning, and seeing if it makes any difference.

[To the tune of… nothing at all. Except the piano trio playing here, the hiss of the espresso machine, and the low hum from tables of police officers and German nannies.]

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1 Comment

  1. Back when I lived in Atherton in the early 80s, I used to ride my bike to downtown Palo Alto across the railroad tracks and visit cafes. There was one that featured jazz vocals of Patti and the jazz guitar of Tuck, who have since gone on to an international musical career of some success as Patti and Tuck but who back then were still unknown.

    Yet, I only really got into cafe culture when I moved to Berkeley and practically lived in Sufficient Grounds, where I read my history texts, marked student essays, and wondered when the guy who roared “RARE” was going to stick his head in the door and startle me with another roar.

    I’ve since ‘lived’ in cafes in Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Israel, and Korea. There’s just something profoundly satisfying about a cappuccino, a chocolate chip cookie, and an intellectual conundrum to puzzle over.

    But I probably haven’t made any cafe a friendlier place either.

    Jeffery Hodges

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