Do Cafes Create an Atmosphere of Trust?

3 years ago

Originally posted on ChapterTK.com

I connected with the universe yesterday and got some great writing done at the Starbucks near my work. While manipulating events in my fantasy realm, I was sourly interrupted by biological necessities in the real world. Coffee and caffeine will do that to you.

Commonly, when I’m in these cafés, I see people leave all their belongings to use the restroom. That venture may only take a few minutes, but that’s just enough time for someone to swipe their computer or smart phone. In fact, I would say it’s odd for someone to bother taking their belongings with them to the restroom if they plan to stay at the café longer.

Hello, my name is TK and I’m awkward. When in a café, I gather up all my belongings and take them to the restroom when the need arises. Then, I sprawl it all out on the table again when I return, to the confusion of all strangers around me.

I’ve never understood how people can just leave their belongings behind like that. This computer cost me too much money for me to just leave behind. How do people trust strangers so readily? Is there something about coffee and caffeine that  magically prevents terrible people from swiping abandoned possessions?

This photo, “Ray’s Jazz Café” is copyright (c) 2014 Tony Hall and made available under anAttribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

On rare occasions where there are few people (or no people) in the café, I’ll dare to leave my stuff behind. During those three minutes, I am on hyper alert trying to listen for the sounds of anyone entering the building. I am a ball of stress until I return to find my things undisturbed. On the flip side, I feel incredibly out-of-place when I pack my stuff up only to the same spot a few minutes later. I can’t help but wonder what the people around me think. Do they wonder if I am crazy for going back and forth? Are they upset that I didn’t trust them enough to leave my belongings there?

Someone needs to explain this to me. How can people be so quick to trust strangers? It’s one thing to leave your belongings and keep them in sight, but completely abandoning them for more than a few minutes seems like a huge risk. Certainly I can’t be the only one who values their expensive electronics.

I admit, for all my optimize, I’m a naturally paranoid person. Perhaps that’s the real reason behind my anxiety. In any other venue, my concern would be normal. Cafés seem to be exceptional places where precious belongings can be left unattended without fear (at least for a short period of time). I don’t even see that behavior in libraries.

What makes cafés so different. They have everything a person could ever need, coffee, music, community and creative atmosphere. When I fantasize about the study I want to have someday, I always plan to have coffee scented candles in an attempt to emulate that creative atmosphere in my own home.

I’m going to have to stop bouncing around and become a regular at one café before I’m perfectly comfortable abandoning my possessions when nature calls. Until then, I’m going to remain that odd, awkward person wasting time packing and unpacking.

Caffeine can be so cruel.

Do you abandon your possessions when nature calls at café? Why do you think people feel comfortable leaving their stuff alone for a few minutes in a café, but not anywhere else? What makes the atmosphere of a café so unique? I mean, it can’t just be the coffee, right?

www.chaptertk.com

Twitter: @tkrv12

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