The internet café has been replaced by the BYOL café. That’s – Bring Your Own Laptop -. It’s quite a hip space occupied by the trendy, the business like, the intellectual looking and the time killers. It’s the place to come for coffee and free internet access on your laptop.
Why, I can’t help but wonder, do people come here and sit here for so long. Some of them seem to have moved in for the day. Perhaps they don’t have the essential little accessory that allows you to log in wherever you are. Perhaps they are travellers whose essential little accessory doesn’t roam. Perhaps where they work it’s too noisy or stuffy. Perhaps they work from home and get a little stir crazy after days and nights staring at the same walls. Perhaps being out and about at the BYOL is an inspiration in itself.
I’m impressed that people walk away from their laptops and handbags to go get coffee or pop outside to the loo, or pop off to buy something from somewhere else. I’m impressed that in a country where we lock up our every possession in the certainty that we will be the inevitable target of appropriator and purloiner, people feel free enough to leave their stuff unattended.
The one guy asked me to look out for his stuff while he popped out to the loo. Fifteen minutes later he’s still not back. What if I want to go? Am I really now unable to go anywhere because I am responsible for the guy’s stuff? He must be joking. And where is he? I see him, outside with a ciggy, on the phone back to the coffee shop and expecting that I am going to babysit his possessions. What a cheek, Huh! Besides, everyone else leaves their stuff unattended. He should also be able to do so. What has it to do with me?
What am I doing here? I’m persuaded by my ‘friend’ that this is the place to sit and work and where I should take total advantage of the coffee, free internet, BYOL conditions. So far, I haven’t done much work. But I have watched the world go by and I have been fascinated by the different styles of people at different times of the day, and I have enjoyed coffee and muffin.
The music is very loungie, and the atmosphere is a little reminiscent of darkly bebop underground clubs of the 1950’s. Except, of course, this is a daytime spot and people are alcohol free.
Well a day, or half day, or few hours spent off my tired, old and beaten track is always fascinating.