Exhausting a Place

Georges Perec’s, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris got me thinking about all the undocumented experiences lost while simply sitting in a coffeehouse. This is my attempt to capture those mundane and special moments.

Stumptown, Seattle

It’s Sunday September 30, 2012 — 2:21 PM.
Sunny, warm
A group of phones.
A man with his legs crossed outside talking to someone worthy.
One phone hands another a battery.
A barista showing some girls how to brew coffee wearing the same shirt I happened to buy yesterday.
A line forms.
A dozen roses graces our view.
Reflections of people in the glass scurry in all directions.

Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle

It’s Sunday September 30, 2012 — 10:21 AM.
Sunny, cool.
A man impatiently waits for his bagel to toast after being chastised for requiring more butter.
A family of two smart phones, a tablet, and a laptop.
A buzz as more tourists awake.
A holding pin of anxious customers congregates at the end of the bar anticipating their fix.
A woman falsely reacts to the baristas commanding announcements.
A new woman seeks dominance over the crowd, she’s met with scowls.
A runner couple compare products.
Occasional eye contact, “are you writing about me?” Yes.
A woman stares at her laptop, patiently waiting for it to load having not personalized what an interaction designer somewhere thought should be personalized.
A guy who went to Berkeley and wishes everyone to know.

Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle

It’s Saturday September 29, 2012 — 12:36 PM.
Cloudy, warm.
Dedicated baristas making espresso and small talk with the tourists—choosing their battles wisely.
A manager playing jokes on tourists to win them over.
A tailored couple making a tailored exit.
Two life-long elderly friends enjoying each other in silence.
Three asian teenagers sitting at a table but actually sitting in completely different worlds as their faces glow from the handheld screens in-front of them.
A dominant gesticulator.
A man plugs his phone in over a panini.
A tasting group in the back acclimating themselves to the role of connoisseur.
Old wooden chairs loosely attached to their tables showing their character.
A cement floor dutifully absorbing all that is lost once entering a coffeehouse.
Artwork hung with arrogance (too high).

Caffé Greco, San Francisco

It’s Saturday September 22, 2012 — 1:32 PM.
Sunny, warm.
A woman holding a beer with the tips of her fingers as if it were socially unacceptable in her current situation.
A proud server casing the outside tables after making deliveries to receptive guests.
A middle aged couple sharing a smart(phone) moment.
A boy walking up the sidewalk intently focused on a handheld game while disrupting the flow of sidewalk tourism.
A girl at an outside table, alone in a sea of social interactions desperately trying to create one of her own while feeling the warmth of technology next to her cheek.
A mom guiding her children while the lawn ornament she’s holding spins wildly.

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