No reveries, please

Remember when, not so long ago, you went into a coffee shop, ordered your favourite brew, and sat down. Maybe you were at a common table with half a dozen others. Maybe a conversation was launched. Maybe there was a noisy fellow with whom a lively discussion ensued. Or maybe you just stared out the window and watched the passing parade, lost in your own thoughts.

If there were a discussion, maybe you learned something. Or you got riled. Perhaps an idea sprang into your head or a solution arrived to a problem that had been hounding you. Even bettter, you might have relaxed and let slip from your mind something that had been bugging you. Maybe you left after ten minutes, refreshed, abuzz with a new thought. Or nothing at all. Call it coffee bathing, like forest bathing, only conducted indoors and in the city.

No more. All of the patrons around you are hard wired to the outside world. I watched a woman the other day who pulled from her bag a tiny bracket device on which she carefully secured her laptop. Then she took a lengthy electrical cord, disrupting two others beside her who were immersed in their own laptops, by pushing the cord in front of her neighbours into the far-off outlet. No words were spoken. Only then did she go for coffee, the more important set-up accomplished.

Everyone in the place was engrossed in similar circumstances: tapping out texts, watching a Shawn Mendes video, or playing Candy Crush. No imaginations were being enlivened, no minds were being stretched, no contacts were made with other humans, no celebratory moments were enjoyed. We might as well all have been in an institution. Perhaps we were.

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