Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cafe Society

McNally Robinson Bookstore Cafe
Prince Street, Nolita, NYC

11:30 AM

Ten patrons, eight laptops, arranged along the walls, facing in. All of us quietly tapping away. We're each doing his or her own thing here, but we could be doing it alone at home. We've come here to do it in the company of others. Five minutes ago, I decided this might be something to mention on my blog, and here it is, up for anyone with a connection around the planet, or right across the room to read.

If this seems mundane, and I must admit it does to me, then you get half of my point, because it is truly remarkable that in less than a quarter century the computer has come out of the basement of the science building and into the cafe in such a pervasive way, and that gives any poor writer the means to reach the world with his thoughts. This is a profound step for humankind; perhaps the more powerful for how gently it has worked its way into our lives. Just a few New Yorkers looking at their mail, writing to friends, maybe finishing up a novel, having a cup of coffee.

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