It’s the oddest thing: while some have rustic aesthetics that cause them to feel nostalgic and comforted, I’ve always had a place in my heart for a little rundown café. You know the ones, right? Linoleum floors? Vinyl seating? A bunch of very tired looking women running around filling coffee cups and taking orders with steno pads? Those ones.
I love those.
I don’t just mean the ones from, like, the 50s. Those are awesome too, but I’m not going for a malt. Nah, I’m there for cheap breakfast food and endless coffee.
I love the feel of these places. The odd energy. Late at night especially. Diners are a hotbed for nightwalkers and even stranger parts of humanity. I have seen separate people with dangerous eyes, damaged bodies, and clearly drug-addled brains.
As a writer, it’s a lens to see darker aspects of humanity.
But, it’s also more than that to me. On a more personal level, cafés and diners and late-night restaurants are the places of my social life. I hang out with groups in diners. Important conversations happen in those places, between me and my closest friends.
In those moments, I am unloading. Loosening my stress and worries.
And, since it’s cheap food, it’s not too expensive to do multiple times a week. I can order an omelet and shitty coffee and use those creamers that come in a little cup that probably have not a drop of real milk in them and let my anxiety wander away in the fun and companionship.
I’ve been doing it so much the waitresses and waiters at all the major places in my city know me, know my preferences, and don’t even bat an eye when I ask for them to brew a new pot at around midnight.
And, honestly, it’s fucking wonderful.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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