Roger Ebert on the personal, private places he loves (and the joys of being alone with them, as well as the occasional pleasures to be found in sharing them):
I first visited the Moscow Arms near Pembridge Square in 1970, when the room fee at the hotel now named the Blue Bells was £4 a night. I have never met anybody in that pub. I always sit in the same corner booth. There is a man who comes in every lunchtime, tattooed, bald, and wearing a motorcycle jacket. He is nearly 40 years older now, but he is still there, and it looks like it’s still the same jacket. Has he noticed me crossing his field of vision 50 or 75 times in his lifetime? Certainly not. But if he still comes at lunchtime every day, it is my duty to bear witness, because by now I have become the only person in the Moscow Arms who knows how long he has been doing this, or cares. I believe this includes him.
I too enjoy sitting alone in cafés, restaurants and bars. Indeed this very morning I took brunch at The Cheeky Pipi in Island Bay and, despite the average-ness of the coffee and the meal, I enjoyed the sitting, the reading and the watching.
God, Ebert is such a great writer.
I love plonking myself in a corner of a café and just sitting/reading/watching/thinking. It’s fun overhearing a snippet of someone’s conversation and trying to work out how it fits into their life. I felt like a bit of an old lady recently when I found myself wishing that a particular café would turn down their music so I could eavesdrop more efficiently.