Before heading into the office today to pick up some work (I’m one of those academicians who embraces quirky work hours), I stopped by the Boston Common Coffee Company, a downtown café, for a late lunch. It is there, while enjoying a sandwich & greens, iced coffee, and part of a cookie, that I realized how weird I have become. No, it’s not that I’ve changed all that dramatically over the years. Rather, it’s how the world has changed around me.
You see, while sitting at a small table with my food, drink, and a few sections of the Sunday newspaper, I looked around and realized that among the 20 or so people in the café, I am the only one reading a newspaper. In fact, I’m the only one reading any kind of hard copy material at all. Just about everyone else, whether alone or in a small group, has a gadget or laptop out.
Of course, it was a younger group of customers, as befits a coffee place located among buildings of two urban colleges with dorms full of summer visitors. So the generational thing certainly was at play. By contrast, when I was in law school at NYU some 30 years ago, on any given Sunday you could go to a neighborhood coffee shop and see students trading sections of the Times, Daily News, and Post over a (usually late!) breakfast or brunch.
Though I get a lot of my news online, spending time with a hefty Sunday newspaper remains a treat for me. There’s a small sense of adventure in flipping through the sections to see what awaits me. And when coffee and a bit of good food are added to the mix, it makes for an extraordinarily pleasant way to spend part of a day.