These are the other regular customers at the local cafe where I spend nearly every day working on my thesis. The staff know my drink of choice - and one of them jokes that I ask for a code and she gives me a punch (That would be a code for the internet and a hole punch in my coffee card).
This is a great place to work - I can concentrate really well here but at the same time it feels a bit like a social outing. I started chatting with one young woman and we both discovered we have little girls the same age at home, are here working on our thesis (she on her PhD, me on my MA) about urban issues! Turns out I had actually met her daughter already at play group.
There is another woman who I've known for years but we had rarely opportunities to see each other. Now since I'm always at this cafe when she stops in to get a coffee she'll sit and chat for a few minutes. She's one of those people who just leave you feeling happier and inspired after talking to her.
There was another regular here -a very friendly, chatty fellow who was here every day and knew the names of all the other regulars. He was the first regular whose name I knew. Ron, a man in his late 50s, loved to run and was always talking about his next race, teasing those of us stuck at our computers that we should be out joining him. It was a shock when I came in one day and guitar guy told me that Ron had died of a heart attack on the weekend. I only knew him as a friendly face at the cafe, but I was surprised how much his death touched me.
So this is my office. I spend my days here in the buzz of conversation, the clatter of cups, the whir of the espresso machine and the aroma of fresh coffee. Sometimes the office is invaded by babies and young mothers, a reminder of who is waiting for me when I get home.
The thought of trading this for some bureaucratic cubicle... not appealing.