Nomadic

frappeYesterday, on my way home from volunteering at our local 12-Step office, I stopped at Starbucks to pick up a Chai Tea Frappicino for Muri.  It’s her favorite excessive treat so I  thought I’d surprise her.  As with most things in my life right now, I don’t just stop and do anything.  I’ve always been a nearly compulsive observer of the world around me.  Yes, some would say critic … but that’s my Inner Curmudgeon’s territory.  Becoming a blogger in my sixties has only made me more so.  At Starbucks, I counted 9 people huddled over laptops doing whatever it is they do when they spend the day huddled over laptops in Starbucks.  Several nervously kept an eye on the two tables with access to an AC outlet, a condition known as Low Battery Anxiety Syndrome. The odds of someone giving up one of those tables is approximately 342:1. 

If you believe in evolution … which I do … humans, at least the modern variety, have been around for about 200,000 years and for most of those years, we were hunter-gatherers, which also made us a Nomadic species. Since we depended on nature to fill our stomachs, we followed the seasons, the flora and fauna. Roughly 10,000 years ago, we began to farm, domesticate animals and build permanent homes which gradually brought our Nomadic lifestyle came to an end.  So, by now, you know where I’m going with this odd segue into today’s topic. Virtually any place where people gather today offers free Wi-Fi, and where there is free Wi-Fi, today’s nomads gather, huddled over their laptops and tablets, hunting for a stronger signal and power outlet. These Nomadic gathering places have even been given a name by sociologists … the Third Place (the First Place being home and the Second, work). In his book, The Great Good Place, Gary Oldenburg describes these places as important part of modern society and characterized by certain attributes.   Wikipedia gives these as: inexpensive; easily accessible; friendly and comfortable; provides food or drink; casual and friendly conversation; and has regulars, who give the place it’s tone.  If you add free Wi-Fi to Oldenburg’s list and allow conversation to be virtual, you’ll recognize your local Starbucks.

I bring this up because today, I am Nomadic. Twice a month, Eva arrives at eight-thirty am to clean our house. Yes, it’s a luxury, although being in our late sixties in a 2,600 square foot house makes it less of one. Yes, I know we are lucky we can afford it. I also know that my lovely … and neatnik … wife, Muri, deserves it for living in that house with two men, one sloppy and the other just plain messy. I’m the sloppy one , by the way, but trying to do better. When Eva is cleaning, I can either remain in my office, usually accompanied by the cats,P-block or become a nomad. Today, I need to post (Postaday 2014, you know), and Mr. P, our Siamese doesn’t always approve of my writing during what he considers his scratching time. Since it’s a seasonably cool, cloudy day here in Socal, the park isn’t all that inviting.   My Inner Nomad is too anti-social for Starbucks, so here I am, tucked in the corner of McDonald’s, surrounded by a small cadre of oldsters in our own Third Place. I’ve got my Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones on and Peter White playing.  Sometimes, I like to write out in public … it makes me feel like a writer.   Just call me Earnest … or Stephen.   Muri’s off getting her hair cut and I’m meeting my friend Ron for lunch. Maybe after lunch, Muri and I will be nomads together … or maybe we’ll have an At-Home Coffee Date. Just a typical day in the life of a for-the-moment retired old coot.  And just for today, it’s just fine.

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2 Comments on “Nomadic”


  1. Nice that there are places like this with internet connectivity and even Wi-Fi and I almost wish at times that I had a laptop and someplace to go and suck down some good coffee while having freedom to play on the internet without interruptions from things in the home. There are times I do resent having to share my computer with my “so-called” tenant, who can be during some of those sharing times a bit of a computer-time hog too! Oh well, that’s life in the slow lane here, ya know!

  2. cherperz Says:

    On a few occasions when AT&T Uverse had the audacity to go out at our house and I was forced to seek refuge in a hot spot, I, also went to McDonalds. I, however, couldn’t take the noise and escaped down the street to the public library. Ours has some nice little couches tucked into reading areas where I felt somewhat isolated.


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