After my walk this morning, I decided to drive into Milford to the diner for breakfast. Last Friday I was there for lunch and noticed that the atmosphere was not the same in the afternoon. Different wait staff, different seating, and a different vibe. It was enjoyable nonetheless and it provided the impetus for me to do some serious thinking about the diner and the people who go there. This morning, in spite of the empty stools in this photo, there were the regulars. Judy, owner of a home decor shop in Milford; George, an owner; Greg, Judy’s friend; another George; and the guy with the toupee. Nancy, my waitress was there of course, and a second waitress who is very friendly but I don’t know her name.
Judy invited me to join her, which seemed to create a bit of confusion for others because there is always someone sitting at her booth usually for short periods of time. It was nice to have the company and our conversation led me to consider the way I assume that everyone I meet understands technology, social media, and the varied way websites are used for personal and business purposes. So, I left my booth empty (the second placemat is subtly removed by Freddie when I walk in the door).
As I’ve mentioned before, business is off in Milford. The town has a number eclectic shops from Fretta’s Italian Deli, a sweet shop, the patisserie, and a few restaurants, to the pottery at Blue Stone Studio, the used bookstore, and several specialty shops and photo galleries. One of these shops is Judy’s, with a mix of antiques and collectibles and small decorator items for the home. It is thoughtfully laid out and very inviting. Business, however, is not what it used to be and, according to Judy, this is because of the recession. When I mentioned the possible creation of a website to better market her shop and items in it, we discussed how Upriver Home has an active web-based business in addition to the store in Milford. As we talked I realized that my assumption that everyone understands how computers work, how the internet can be used (ironic — coming from me with a limited understanding of all this!), is a false assumption. Some people I meet at the diner and elsewhere do not own computers and use cell phones only for phone calls. If one doesn’t own a computer at all then having a website, especially one through which you sell merchandise, probably won’t work! It never ceases to surprise me that the concept of blogging is one that is foreign to people, not to mention the idea of apps that provide access to all sorts of information. Forget Facebook and email altogether.
What this brings to mind is the fact that talking face to face is a most effective means of communicating with a limited number of people. That’s why the diner is such a great place to pick up the local gossip, opinions on what’s going on in the world (although since the election political commentary has been sparse), what everyone is doing on a particular day. “What are you doing today? Working? Where?” I think but am not entirely sure that people who come to the diner leave with a sense of belonging because conversation is short but there are people there who care what you are doing that day. As I left and paid my bill, George asked me if I would be in tomorrow because he was going home and he wanted to make sure Judy had company. Not sure I’ll drive in again tomorrow, but I liked the idea that it might make a difference.