I’m an addict. There, I’ve said it. I come to my favourite café most mornings but don’t seem to be able to have my morning latte without a scone. A scone with jam. OK, a scone with jam and butter. And don’t get me started on the cream. I’m like a moth to a flame where cream’s concerned but I’m managing to avoid it. For now. It’s just another one of my daily struggles.
But it’s not the cakes I’m addicted to. OK, not just the cakes. It’s the people. The overheard conversations. The people watching. The wonderful absurdity, banality, just plain amazing weirdness of ‘normal’ people. And I’m sure, were someone to have nothing better to do than watch me in a cafe, I’d have as many ‘isms’ as the next person, but it’s those very quirks I love about people.
This is my favourite cafe for several reasons (the scones aside). It’s where I came most days to study when I did an English degree because it was always too quiet to work from home. Who am I kidding? If I was home, I’d have to do the housework. I liked the white noise that only the pensionable clientele seemed to be able to generate and Shakespeare somehow became a little more bearable.
I’ve heard conversations about “Jean’s ulcerated leg,” how “Bob was a nice bloke, but they couldn’t bear his tarty wife Iris,” and “they did a far better job on my wig, but it cost me much, much more.” I’ve heard numerous childbirth stories, a story about how a woman coped with having to leave her husband in a hospice, and a million stories in between.
And so when I finished my degree, and I didn’t need to go to the cafe anymore, I realised it was too late – I was addicted. To the lattes, the scones, the buy 9 get 1 free offer – but most of all, to the people.