The Death Of Coffee Shop Chatter

Remember when grabbing a cup of coffee involved entering a room buzzing with chatter? when a coffee shop contained an atmosphere of socialization and of friends catching up, dates winding down? how Ross and Rachel, Monica and Chandler, Phoebe and Joey would meet at Central Perk and sit around kibitzing for hours, or at least a half hour until the episode ended?

Well, those days are no more. Now when I get a cup of coffee it’s completely silent. Everybody is on their laptops, plugged-in, quietly banging out their shitty screenplays, surfing the net, or stalking ex-girlfriends on Facebook.

I could go to the morgue for a more lively experience.

I hate it. I miss the old days. Back in the late 90’s coffee shops existed purely to give folks a place to gather and converse without having to go to bars. I miss people actually talking to each other instead of furtively glancing around while they IM with people in a coffee shop on the other side of town doing the same!

There used to be something very cosmopolitan about the bustle of a coffee shop, now the lack of bustle is just creepy! Twenty souls silently staring into luminescent screens… click, click, clicking away. There’s no reason twenty people should be in a room without any of them speaking to each other, unless it’s church. And even then there’s a minister getting his preach on.

I feel like going down there with a buddy and sitting right in the middle of the room and having a loud conversation until someone asks us to keep it down; then I’ll remind them that this is not their fucking office, or a library, but a coffee shop!!!

I’m a writer, I like to get my write on — and sometimes I do it in public — but it’s just gone so overboard I can’t take it anymore… I refuse to add my non-voice to the non-din. Back in 01′ it was fun to take the laptop down to the coffee shop because of the conversations around me and the convivial vibe of the place. I was an avid people watcher and passionate eavesdropper. I used to be the only one, or just one of a few, with a laptop, but now that they’ve taken over so completely it’s no longer fun.

Maybe I sound like a Indie snob complaining about the band they used to like before everyone else started liking them, but that’s just how it is. Half the time these folks are not even drinking coffee but just sitting there isolated in their own little cyber-world, anti-social furniture.

Go to an effin’ library!

Give me back my coffee shop chatter, I miss it.

Technology is supposed to be bringing us together; yes, it’s easier to connect with old friends on a very surface level of status updates and sugary photo comments, but what about new friends? What about the person next to you reading the latest issue of Time? Now that they’re doing it on their laptop as opposed to holding a ratty old magazine in their laps, how are you going to strike up conversation based on the cover photo of Barak Obama? Sure, it’s rude to interrupt a girl while she’s reading, but it’s downright creepy to be caught looking over her shoulder on her laptop to do it!

In the synthetic, are we losing the real?

In our hyper-connectivity, are we losing some traditional, more endearing, methods of connecting with our fellow man?

Are we led to believe we’re advancing as a people, while devolving into automatons deprived of the most basic human interactions?

It begs asking.

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2 responses to “The Death Of Coffee Shop Chatter

  1. coffe shop talk, great story and food for thought. perhaps there is some way to integrate the traditional with the advancement? more food for thought, since we can’t stop the advancement, maybe we can humanize it at least?

  2. I hope so… it’s always a work in progress and we’re the generation that has to experience the bumps and bruises along the way…

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