Once they were places where talk of rebellion led to action – and in some parts of the world, they perform that function still – but now where I am coffeehouses are just garish and loud and filled with a few self-important people most times.

I was at once people-watching and reading and probably puffed up on my own arrogance, but I certainly didn’t feel confident – I felt really insecure this morning. The people around me must have felt very confident, as they were conversing loudly about anything that came to mind, and one would have thought from the way they talked that “Pretty Woman” was the most important movie in the world. (This one couple spent 5 minutes discussing whether or not the movie starred Meg Ryan, and they also couldn’t get the title right, and they guessed that the title might have had to do with a song.)

The window was weird to stare through, because everyone out on the street and in other stores seems so busy. What most philosophy misses is that people have mouths to feed that aren’t their own. What philosophy probably gets right is asking whether that task has to be as consuming as it is.

I feel inferior to busy people, always. Other people rely on them, and if I had that burden – and I do in a way, and the guilt is eating at me – I’d be done for.

Of course, a quick glance around the coffeeshop showed I was the only one with books there, going through the books page by page and writing down notes. All the busy people milling about that weren’t busy being obnoxiously loud with their conversation were busy being obnoxiously loud with their laptops or phones. I’m not saying this to brag: the issue came to my attention when several people kept staring at me, like I was doing something very radical.

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  1. he he he- I know the feeling business can be in inverse proportion to apparant busyness. It also depends what people are busy with!

  2. things getting worse.
    email situation the same – can receive, can’t send.
    can’t log into anything except LJ, even then it’s unstable.
    all the snail mail i sent out in sept 2007 to present have been returned to me
    reason – address unknown, no such person

  3. You were doing something radical – you weren’t there to be seen or to show how busy you are. You were there to read, a kind of busyness that is slow and methodical, and not be loud, garish, or “hip.” These are difficult times to live in my friend!

  4. in the early 70’s, i spent a few weeks in vienna. most of that was spent in their famous coffee houses. big, expansive and sloooooow. people would sit there for hours nursing one big cup of “melange”, methodically reading one newspaper.

    to some degree we’re trying to reproduce that now. in america. it’s kind of funny when you think of it. seattle, new york or even vancouver are not just physically thousands of miles away from vienna.

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