Monday, December 19, 2005

Hock's Cafe

November 26
Dear Wichita,

I called in sick to the bar today and am instead out and about the Pike Place market. It is just after 400pm and the post-work crowd is gathering for a drink before heading home. I am in a little cafe called Hock's and am sipping a coffee, surfing the net, and watching people walk past the window. I have hunkered down in a big comfy chair near the front and seemed to have staked out a little piece of property. There is a painting by a local artist hanging above me.

I'm not sick, just needed a night off, away from the smoke and smell of spilled booze. The pub is okay, I think I mentioned that the tips are good. I prefer the bookstore, but it doesn't pay all the bills, so the bar is here to stay for awhile. Ah well, it allows me some social contact, which I can use from time to time.

It's funny you know, the lack of social contact thing. While I moved to Seattle to get away from everything I grew up with and to meet new people with new views, I find that I am often more comfortable with only myself as company. Less meaningless chatter, I suppose. I do end up chatting with people, customers at work, but those conversations are pretty standard and largely empty. I haven't started talking to myself yet. Yet.

I don't have a phone yet and I don't think I'll be getting one. Surely this is something that is driving my mother nuts and is certainly adding to my sense of isolation. But when there is no one that would bother to call, is there much point in having one? I dunno, that's how I justify it.

It is a funny thing to live without a phone in perhaps the most interconnected country in the world. I don't miss it, frankly, although the amount of times I've had to give a fake number to some store or application that needs one to count me as a person has surprised me. I have the bookstore phone number listed here and there, although I am sure there is some housewife in Seattle wondering why someone keeps calling and asking for Daniel. I make her life a little more surreal, I suppose, a break from the kids and the gossiping mother hens.

This cafe is kind to me today. It is quiet, playing some soft jazz laced with hip hop beats, tones surrounded by earthy paints and sky blue pepper shakers shaped like question marks. There is a sign on the door, amidst all the posters for local bands and upcoming shows, that politely asks customers to turn off their cell phones. Wireless internet is okay, but no cell phones. A technological compromise, I suppose. I appreciate it.

This is a good place to feel alone. I hope Mary has a place like this in Wichita.

Feeling good,



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