I can't speak for suburbanites because I've never lived in a place where you get in a car and drive to a parking lot in the morning, but for New Yorkers, routine is important. Amid the never-ending chaos that is this city, we depend on our route, on our favorite coffeeshop and breakfast sandwich every day for some sense of familiarity in a place that's always changing. That last part we know all too well, so why is it always such a shocking blow when we discover one Monday morning that our go-to spot has literally shuttered overnight?
First comes the initial "What?! But I was here on Friday!" It leaves you immobile as you stand there and read the sign that says "Closed for renovations!" or "We're moving!", both an inevitable lie. It's gone forever, at least to you, as even if it did move across town, it can never be your stop along the way again. Now you look around in a panic, wondering where you can go to get your specific order of iced coffee the way the barista who knew you on a first name basis always made as soon as she saw you walk in. What's going to happen to her? Where is she now? Did she know? You can't help but wish you tipped her a twenty at least once before you parted ways.
Then comes the anger. "I was there all the time! Someone should have warned me!" You pull out your frequent visitor card and gaze longingly at the stamps; only two more to go before your next free coffee. Why did it have to end like this? It's akin to being ghosted by someone you thought would always be there. I thought we had something [insert name of business]. I really thought we did.
Frustrated and alone, you walk into the office coffee-less and sad. Your coworkers can't understand your struggle, even if they knew how much this place meant to you. How integral it was to your productivity as a person. "You can go to [insert name of nearby business] instead! They have good bagels!" They're trying but you sigh, knowing nothing can be replaced so easily. You turn to Twitter, desperately looking for someone who could empathize completely. You search and search, but no one has so much as mentioned your spot in the last month, forget about mourning its loss. It would be easier if you could share your grief with a community, if it had been some sort of institution. But this was no Carnegie Deli, no Florent. You're on your own, kid - left to pick up the pieces. The only thing to do now is to move on, find a new spot, make friends with a new barista. Until, of course, the cycle repeats once again, as it always does. Just remember to hold on to those stamps, keep the card in your wallet; a reminder of the person and the routine you once were.
[Photo via @debiflue]