Drinking Peet‘s coffee has been a constant in my life for more years than I can count; perhaps sixteen if I had to come up with a number. At the start I sat at the window counter jotting down my morning thoughts in a journal while sipping the bold, hot brew. Writing soothed my soul then and in the early hours I enjoyed solitude before engaging head on with people at work, in traffic, on the phone. Making friends at Peet’s could get in the way of that and I intentionally remained anonymous, at least in the beginning.
It was “Jim with the dogs” who first got me to engage. He often sat outside in front with his two Australian sheepdogs, greeting each person before they stepped inside. But on that day it must have been raining because he had moved to a table indoors. I remember because he tugged on the edge of my pea coat while I waited in line. ”Come sit down,” he invited in the warmest tone I just couldn’t turn down. When I returned with my coffee his other recruits had already joined him and he introduced me to Sue, Judy, Pieter and John. From that morning on we all sat together instead of reading or writing or daydreaming alone, and without knowing it formed the nucleus of the Peet’s family. We talked about politics, movies, restaurants, the weather, and the price of coffee and welcomed everyone who wanted to chat. Some people visited our group just once while many others have gathered at Peet’s on Locust Street for years. I feel at home there, I can be myself there, I care about my friends there.