I think that I spend an ample amount of time in social spaces (bookstores, coffeeshops, etc.). And what I seem to notice this time around is that the availability of books, or at least intellectual material of varying kinds, seems to endear this feeling of freedom from something rather than a freedom to do anything.
I probably feel this way because of how some conversations are kept, you can see students conversing with notes and Facebook when behind headphones, or web workers collaborating with each other in these short, and not necessarily quiet, passages of code and notes.
There’s the conversation with the baristas, and possibly the conversations between them, looking and talking about the people they just severed, or will soon serve. There are those who just watch and read, conversing the environment around them in batted eyes and formed rhythmic breaths.
On days like this, where there are more people to watch because of the heat I would wager, I find that I wonder about what happens next. What happens after the caffeinated moments, the conversations, the interviews and rendezvous?
Older woman raiding a book about brides, I wonder if she teaches younger women about valuing life after the day?
Another person with a book about Hawaii and a nature that looks as if they travel a good bit – the fact her shoes are far from her feet says to me that she at least enjoys the freedom to walk where she desires.
And I see the workers, the people sweeping and taking orders. The people adjusting seats and books. And you know, they don’t seem so free. They seem like the ones most in need of the environment they are serving.
I wonder about the areas of this city I rode through, where there is no watering hole such as these, and the stress levels are indeed quite high. What do they get as a moment of freedom from their environment?
Or, am I caged like the ones sharing the coffee and Wi-Fi. Shackled to observe and rarely live. Being watered intellectually, and maybe even socially, but doing little in this space to spread water to the more parched areas.
The appearance around these books is that I am doing well. When the reality of this apparent freedom is that I am simply spoiled in a different cage.