Friday, August 8, 2008

cafe politics

i'm working from a berekely cafe this morning. this is quite an usual step for me as i do enjoy working from my home office. however, the water to my building is being shut off for "a while" hence, my camping out at a cafe near my place.

there is definitely not a shortage of cafes with wireless in berkeley....the cafe culture is extremely ingrained in this quirky college town. for this morning's exhile, i decided to drop into a cafe that i've never been to before. odd isn't it? ...a cafe near my place that i've never been to. it was a deliberate avoidance.

it started quite a few years ago, during my first stint in berkeley....just finished university....just gotten back from my first trip to the uk.....just started a job at a publisher...making my way and having no clue what the future would entail. i'm not envious of that time..not at all. anyway, as i left my then apartment for my entry level job at this publisher every morning...i would see this well groomed guy leave in his bmw for work. what made me notice him...aside from us being the only ones out on our street at 7am....was that every couple of days he'd have a woman with him. it was usually a different woman each time. sometimes the women would have wet hair. sometimes they wouldn't. they were also dressed in professional business wear. i think you can understand the implication....and often times, i would see him with the various women at a local cafe that had just opened up getting coffee. i pretty much just said "hmmm. interesting. that is his business and theirs."

then one day, a woman walked out of his place...and it was someone i worked with. she said "hi" to me and then the guy and i looked at each other.

now, you can imagine what an odd moment that was. he knew...that i knew....what his lifestyle was like. i don't think the woman i worked with knew what his lifestyle was like. now, he and i had a common link. this was not good. after some fancy footwork...i pretty much made a decision not to say anything. it might have been different if i actually liked her. at this point, i determined the less contact the better...including avoiding the cafe that he went to with his various companions.

yet, fast it is years later...i've started my second stint at living in berkeley...and now, i figured...why not try out this formerly forbidden cafe? it is so close to my place and doesn't have the pseudo-single-bar-vibe unlike some other cafes. now i can enjoy my cup of warm white hot chocolate...completely drama-free.

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