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Town Square

Too antisocial for social networking but not for Peet's

Original post made by Dolores Ciardelli, editor of Danville Express, on Oct 5, 2009

You've seen the bumper stickers: "I'd rather be skiing" or "I'd rather be sky-diving." I've never seen one that says, "I'd rather be just staring into space," but that would be mine.

Except I would never put a bumper sticker on my car because they always make me think: Who cares? Kind of like on Facebook where every time you log in, it asks you, What's on your mind? Like anyone cares. Maybe I'm too antisocial for social networking. Nonetheless I'll continue on here even though maybe no one will care to read!

I am not too antisocial to crave human companionship when I've been working alone all morning so I took a break from the Danville Express office (in the Village Shopping Center, where McCaulou's is located) and walked to Peet's. This chilly weather put me in the mood for a pumpkin latte, which I remembered from last fall as being dee-licious.

Am I an old fuddy-duddy or is $3.20 too much to pay for a latte? Plus I had to pay "real" money. That means bills from my wallet rather than coins from a little coin purse I keep in the car with quarters for parking meters and coffee. But my car is being serviced today so I was without the handy coin purse that convinces me I'm not really spending too much money on a latte.

Peet's was relatively empty in the early afternoon so I sat in the table against the far wall that was formerly known as "Phil's table" because that is where artist and free spirit Phil Hellsten started off every day until he suddenly died in June from heart problems. There was a photo of him by the table after he passed away but now it's gone. So I sat there, a great seat with a sweeping view of the coffee house. No wonder he liked it.

I had a book with me because really I'd rather read a book than stare into space and I tremendously enjoyed reading and sipping my pumpkin latte. I also liked watching the people as they came in. There were two mothers with young children, which started a string of memories that could have lasted through several lattes (were I to be so extravagant).

Then I noticed a woman opening a bouquet of red roses and white baby's breath flowers. She separated a small portion and put it into a large paper cup and approached my table.

"I'm just going to put these flowers here," she said. "This was Phil's table."

It turned out she lives in Grass Valley and had met Phil briefly. She only heard recently that he had died and felt she wanted to do something. So she left the small bouquet with a card to him. And I told her about art galleries where she could meet friends of Phil's, and she headed out.

My latte consumed, I headed back to the office.

Comments

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Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Dear Dolores,

I visited Ashland and another great writer last week, known as the BARD. But I feel so personally connected to your writing and its humanity.

I have worked in my office in Alamo, telecommuting around the world, since 1990. I do not feel alone. But I do love meeting amazing people such as you when I am "out and about!"

You are appreciated..I am always available for coffee,

Hal


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Posted by Maria
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Oct 6, 2009 at 8:08 am

I rushed out for a pumpkin latte which I had heard about, and loved it. I loved it so much I had a second one a few days later, but now I am over them. Way too rich and sweet, I decided that one a season is enough for me. I agree about the social networks, I like to hear about people from my family, but I don't want to go there to write about my life, nor do I care enough to scroll down to read about other people, even the ones I care about.


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Posted by Lucy
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:11 am

I think I"m going to buy a pumpkin latte at Starbucks while I go grocery shopping today! Thanks for the reminder that fall is here and the coffee shops have our favorite seasonal drinks! :)


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Posted by Ellen
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:37 am

I live in the east bay with Peets right across the street. Friends joke that the center strip between the benches is like the center of the universe because deals are made, friendships are formed, & the famous come to drink their special brew.
Peets is a special place & this story is one that could take place at ANY Peets but ONLY AT Peets. Thanks for sharing!