I spent the morning engaged in necessary but not terribly interesting activities to help me get settled after the journey and a busy weekend. In the afternoon I walked to downtown Mountain View to browse the book stores and visit the Dana Street Roasting Company. I used to spend a lot of time at Dana when I was unemployed and living in Mountain View a couple of years ago. The cafe has several things to recommend it: they buy directly from growers and roast their own beans; it's open and airy; WiFi is free; they play excellent music; and there's a big wooden table in the center that attracts a mixed cast of regular characters. Sitting at the big table basically means you're open to talking to people. Some of the regulars are self employed or work jobs where they spend time on the road, using Dana as a sort of off-site office. Other folks earned enough money during the dot-com years to not have to work conventional jobs. Their 'work' now consists of managing their investments. And so on. Most of them can be relied upon for intelligent conversation. V referred to these people as "cafe rats." For nearly half a year, I was one of them.
When I stopped in the Bay Area for a week last year, I only made it to Dana once. At that time I ran into one of the regulars, a retired techie. Then today the same man spoke to me in a book store, and we later met up over coffee at the big table. I chatted with a couple of new-to-me-comers and got caught up on what some of the rats have been up to during my absence. It was a warm, sunny day, and the doors were open. They played Yo La Tengo. The-mustachioed-man-whose-name-I-can't-recall* was roasting coffee. It felt a bit like coming home.
*Aaron. I remembered.