Since I mostly work for myself, there are days when I have to sit in front of the computer for hours on end. Unless I go out of my way to make it happen, on those days I may well not see another human being. Luckily, a wonderful little coffee shop opened in the lobby of my building, practically in my living room. I stumble in almost every morning as soon as they open, along with an equally ragged crew of regulars: The prim and proper young woman who works for a non-profit, always typing intently on her laptop. The garrulous, friendly man in his 60s of unknown profession, who pays for his cappuccino from a massive wad of bills. (I don't want to know.) The German musician, whose friendship with the other German-speaking guy with the dog I watched blossom. The cable TV producer who occasionally talks about her famous boss. A few impossibly fit trainers on the way to early appointments, who sometimes stay for awhile and have deep conversations about working out. We all smile and acknowledge each other's presence, and unlike the usual custom, make room at our tiny tables. Sometimes there are animated conversations; mostly we remain in our own little worlds and fulfill early-morning obligations (like writing in this blog) over the best coffee in the city.
I love waking up in the company of this eclectic group, who help me feel connected to all those other New Yorkers I don't really know. No matter what, we're in this together. And caffeine really helps.