Third Places

I spent a couple of hours this morning sitting in a café in Winslow. The bright cloud-filtered light poured through a wall of windows, the delicate citrusy scent of Earl Grey wafted around the robust toasty smell of breakfast, and the brown craft paper on the tabletops soaked up inadvertent drips from the oversized white mugs.

There were 21 patrons when I was there, 12 of them engaged in conversation. One slouched toward her kindle reader. Only three of us had laptops open next to our cups of tea. The others were eating, looking at their phones, or reading the paper. Roosters is a lively third place, known as a friendly spot for office expats as well as a good place for a gluten-free lunch.

I was hanging out at Roosters because a house inspector and the prospective buyers were at our house for several hours this morning. When your house is for sale, there are long stretches where you have to be out and about. You find the third places around you (neither home nor work) : the library, parks, beaches, restaurants, bookshop, cafés.

But even when I’m not kicked out of my comfy abode, I like reading and writing in cafés. Maybe it’s the lingering spirit of writers in Paris or leftover student impulses from last year, but sitting in a café, I feel a simultaneous kid-like curiosity about the world and a grown-up sense of knowing it.

A local artist’s work on the walls.

Last night we received emailed pictures of our place in New Zealand, and the view out the back deck looks over a green meadow called Rawene Domain. I’m so curious about our new third spaces in NZ; they will impart a good deal of our impressions about the culture and history of the place. Boatshed Café, I’m a scant 3 weeks away!

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