It’s widely rumored that coffee shops are to conversation what music is to dancing: What once was inherently awkward for most people becomes inexplicably easier with the suggestive assistance of a subtle pedagogue.
In the case of the American coffee shop, the curious marriage of filtered beans and a few friends allows us to loosen our ties, drop down defenses, and become ourselves. Only together. Our role in the process is simple: just don’t try too hard. Don’t over-think it. Don’t plan it out. Just go with it.
On this occasion, there were ten of us. Enough to fill at least half of the seating of this neighborhood coffee shop in Palatine.
We sat a while and talked about college, how we met our spouses, and the proper use of the letter “y.” Conversations that would never have come so easily (or with such unfettered randomness) were we not surrounded by close friends and holding a few warm mugs.
We talked and smiled. Wondered and speculated. Listened and laughed.
And then we went dancing.