Open Letters

An Open Letter to People in Coffee Shops in the Middle of the Day

Dear People in Coffee Shops in the Middle of the Day,

Hi! I have a lot of questions about you! See, like you, I am one of the people who can sometimes be found in a coffee shop in the middle of the day, and I cannot help but wonder about my café-squatting brethren. I mean, I know why I am here – I am a writer and sometimes I get bored writing from home and thus a switch in location leads me to the closest coffee shop. But what about you? It’s almost 3pm on a Tuesday and you are in a coffee shop! Are you like me? I want to know what you are doing here and I want to know your story! I want to know everything about all of these people in the coffee shop in the middle of the day!

What are you doing? Are you on Facebook? Instagram? Tumblr? All three at once? Are you inventing a new social media website? Are you emailing with someone? Who? What are they saying? Are you writing? What are you writing? Is it a script? A book? An essay on coffee shop aesthetics? Are you lonely? Are you employed? Is this your job? Doesn’t it annoy you to have that plate of crumbs sitting on the table for hours on end? Wouldn’t you just go and throw it out by now? How much coffee have you had? Would you still come here even if they didn’t have free wifi? What did you do before free wifi existed? Who is your favorite superhero? Do you have any single guy friends? Do you think I’ll meet my boyfriend in this coffee shop? Do you like the music they are playing? Are you as creeped out by that one weird dude in the corner as I am?

It’s weird because if you go to a coffee shop in the middle of the day in just about any city (and probably some small towns, too!) there will always people in that coffee shop. People you might see once and never again. People who could be visiting, people who could be your next door neighbor who you’ve never met. It’s a strange existence, the coffee shop life, because I have so many questions and am so very curious about all the other people I occasionally encounter during my coffee shop visits, and yet I never actually talk to anyone or ask anyone who anyone is or what anyone is doing. That’s the thing – we’re all here for a purpose, and whatever that purpose is, because we know there is one, it’s as though the café-dwellers abide by a code. Everyone is often polite but has very little interaction with each other.

The people who go to coffee shops in the middle of the day are unified by their purpose and desire to be in the coffee shop and protected by this shared intention, even though some of us are strangers and we’ll never meet and I’ll never know what you are writing on your computer and what music you are listening to and where you came from and where you are going to.

I am writing this letter to you and I was listening to the new Solange album, “Truth” which is really good but now I am listening to the new Bjork album, “bastards” which is really weird and I came from my house and I’ll go back there soon.

What about you?




Coffee shop photo via vtravelled blog

  • Donna Foulis

    I love sitting in coffee shop in the middle of the day! I am either studying, reading or writing stories about what’s going on around me- I love to people watch. :)

  • Christine McQuaid

    Stamos nails MY human condition. I love this too much for words or sentences.

  • Annie Hatmaker

    So curious! I am not in a coffee shop right now, but as a college student I frequent them often. Around 2:00 I get out of class and decide it is too early to eat dinner, so I go to a coffee shop and do homework (this is a lie, I am addicted to social networking sites and so not much homework gets done). I listen to She & Him radio on Pandora quite a bit, unless I am having a bad day and then I listen to Disney music. I know we have never sat in a coffee shop together, as I live in Tennessee, but we do share the same name! Enjoy your coffee!

  • Sarrah Anne Crow

    Yes, this is how I feel! I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now, and will probably spend the rest of my day sitting in this coffee shop. I’m a writer and coffee shops are so much more interesting to write in than home. I’m listening to the HelloGiggles Christmas Cheer playlist (super good) and also working on starting a personal/lifestyle blog. I wish we lived in the same city and occupied the same coffee shop because I think we’d make great friends. ;D

  • Ellen Hofeling

    I worked in a coffee shop (often times in the middle of the day) and had never been a “coffee shop person” before then. I too was fascinated by the strangely deep and confusing conversations, the body language, and the amount of time and money regulars spent there. I was not a good worker because of all the eaves dropping I did… It’s a whole different world, even in a small college town smack dab in the middle of Kansas!

  • James Magid
    • Lynette Morgan

      everything about this is good.

  • Kaian Vere

    I was just about to head over to the coffee shop to do some work right now! I’m enrolled in an online school so, like you, I like a change of scenery sometimes. Coffee shops feel like the perfect place to work. Perfect amount of background noise, good smells, nice people. Haha, I love this article, I wonder about this a lot too :)
    Ps my favourite superhero is Wolverine! Yes!

  • Ari Fischer

    I was just about to go too! Haha. I’m unemployed (currently intentionally, have a lot of home-personal-stuff to attend to), but that also means I have more free time then I’ve ever had before. And sitting at home when you’re there all the time anyways is just terrible. Getting out to a coffee shop helps me feel free and driven, and it’s stimulating in a way that being at home just isn’t. I can sit in a coffee shop and either relax, or work and study, and I’m way more productive and stimulated than I am at home. By having people around me, I feel more focused – almost like they’re sitting there making sure I’m getting done what I intended to. I know it’s silly, but it works!

  • Bianca Alvarez

    When I go to a coffee shop, I usually order a half white half dark Cafe Mocha. I sit by a window so that I can see the cars passing by. I fill my ears with a band called Local Natives, and sometimes I will “acidentally” listen to the conversations of others 😉

  • M.j. Canada

    I work on aircraft from 3:30pm to 1:30am. The middle of the day is my morning!

  • Lynette Morgan

    I feel like you will find the answers to all of your questions if you go home and watch season six of friends, and maybe seven.

  • Yvonne Shipley

    I’m the lady in the corner with a basket full of yarn. I crochet for a living and just seem to get more done in the coffee shop. I’m so easily distracted by by bed and cat when I’m at home.

  • Alyce Trelawny Coleman

    I work at a newspaper from 4 to midnight. I’m getting coffee before work, and I’m a little weirded out by all these questions about my life. I think I’ll start making coffee at home.

  • Danni Neuffer

    Re-blogged this on our blog: Such a great article. I worked in a coffee shop and I used to think all of those things all of the time.

  • Madison Collins

    College student studying…more likely procrastinating on Facebook or reading other blogs! You should comment on the stranger effect in coffee shops..idk if I am comfortable hearing all people are seemingly willing to divulge.

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