Customers and Neighbors Dropping by the Cafe

It’s a crappy grey day at the Cafe. Yet the customers, slowly but surely, are coming in the door. It was a treat today to man the counter for a while, and talk to a young couple who had come in for the first time. “How long have you been here,” they asked.
The admired the photos of Iraq on our walls and asked if they could put up some of their photos from their trips. Sure, I said, just as long as they’re nicely framed.

“We used to live in South Deerfield, but we moved to Amherst. There was not a reliable way to get to class with only one car.” Outside a bus idled, it was headed for Northampton, not UMass. I spoke with one of the drivers, asked him why he didn’t turn off the belching diesel while he parked. “If I did that it wouldn’t start again, these old buses are in bad shape.”

Later on a neighbor Jay Stryker came by the cafe. He wanted my advice on how to revive his friend’s business, selling old books. I spent time with him showing him how Google Books can pinpoint books and show what’s inside; I showed him how you can buy keywords and get your ad next to where people search for those kind of books. I told him about finding websites that are similar and buying ads on them…all of that stuff that I give away…made me think I should have charged him. But I was being neighborly, so I suggested he send his poor friend in and we could talk.