Nostalgia, Sentiment, Longing and Desire

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What would Peet’s be like sitting with the indoor crowd?  Cozy anyway.  The warmth of the indoors.  Indoor atmosphere, the people in the atmosphere in this place.  (Oxford says of atmosphere: “pervading tone or mood of a place or situation”.  Is Peet’s also a situation?) The lights, the tables, people sitting closer to each other than they do outside, even from table to table, the auburn color of the walls. One difference is that I would have to sit with them, rather than outside them.  Everywhere is with everyone, there is no safe distance, to observe from.  So I take a chance.  

 

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I find I can still observe, still watch. 

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I am very aware of this inside atmosphere. Outside it is more diffuse: the outdoors is just larger, less contained, whereas the atmosphere inside is contained by the four walls and therefore more of an entity.  The quality of the light becomes important in both places but for different reasons. Outside the sunlight or lack of it makes a difference: in the late afternoon it casts the shadows of the trees on the outside wall of Peet’s and in the late morning the shadows of the umbrellas and chairs and people on the sidewalk.  It causes people to sit under umbrellas for relief, under its rays for warmth on a sunny but chilly day, or go inside completely when the rain eclipses it altogether.  But inside, I am aware that the light creates an overall warmth, as do the people, the arrangement of the chairs and tables, all the things for sale, the coffee in it’s bins.  Everything closer together creates warmth.  Outside, the people are a smaller entity within the neighborhood of the street, stores, cars and trees.  Taking into consideration these differences, the conversations are deep and confidential in both places. 
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The colors in the room and the things on the walls are important just like the trees and street and shop windows and painted stripes on the street, the newspaper dispensers and trash cans, are important outside.  And in both places are the tables and chairs, the laptops and cups and saucers and glasses and paper napkins.  All these things delineate, divide up the space and create edges and borders, boundaries.  They are the scenes in which the people sit.  Everything makes up the scene.

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The biggest mystery for me is what there is about the people in these places.  They sit and talk, and gesture, or work on their laptops, stare into space, sit alone or in groups of one or more.  Why do I go to these places anyway?  I mean I could go somewhere else, like the zoo. 

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I don’t really need nor want to solve this here, that is what the drawings are for. 

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