I’m sitting at a neighbourhood coffeeshop. There are about ten people. All above middle-age. Mostly male. Sitting around the mostly empty seats. The lunch time crowd has yet to break out of their offices and homes.
Two tables away, a man in polo shirt and Bermudas reads his papers with a cigarette in hand. Another table away, three men are engaged in conversation, sporadically staring out at the main road from their seat. Hi-Fi speakers suspended at the corner of a pillar blare out modern Chinese songs, alternating between Sentimental and Techno-Pop.
A coffeeshop lady, uniformed in an orange T-shirt, asks what I wanted for a drink.
“Teh-C,” I say.
My noodles is served. I pay the man $3. A consistent breeze wafts across where I sit. The steady noise from the busy main road serves as background noise.
The coffeeshop lady switches on the 26″ Toshiba flatscreen TV. I notice the screen size as being much bigger than what I have at home. The LCD screen comes to life with a Taiwanese soapbox. The coffeeshop lady adjusts the TV volume down. The Hi-Fi continues to blare the Chinese Techo-Pop. The cornucopia of sounds becomes a mishmash of noise that is surprisingly not unpleasant.
My Teh-C has long since been drunk. The cup and empty noodle bowl efficiently cleared by the coffeeshop’s hired cleaners. If not for the warm pleasant contents in my stomach, I would’ve thought I’d not eaten.
Subtly, the whole place seems to wake a notch. The noise increases slightly as more customers arrive.
And as I sit here listening and observing, I wonder how anyone would describe a coffeeshop scene 50 years from now.
Would there still be a coffee shop? What did a coffeeshop scene looked like 50 years ago?
I switch on my handphone and connect to wireless@SG (it is a no-brainer that they didn’t have WIFI at coffeeshops 50 years ago). Tried to Google for some archival images but the connection is too slow. Ah well… things may improve 50 years from now.