Sitting down in a low-key Spanish cafe, full of old people, I realized that it was the first time I sat in a public space and I did not feel anything emanating from the place itself. The place did not expect me to be anything more than I was, or be more humble, or stand tall, etc. It was a neutral feeling. This made me think that every single cafe or food venue or general social place in America is loaded with an aspirational feeling. Examples:
Chipotle — I feel bad about being the kind of person who’s here, I need to improve it so that I don’t come here anymore. But right now I’m going to shove a massive burrito.
Clover — I feel good about being the kind of person who comes here, yet I need to improve because I’m still not as eco-friendly as the place wants me to be. Also, I am not even close to being as cool as people working here in the kitchen so I need to go shopping kinda soon.
Darwin — this is a place where smart people come to talk or work, so I need to become smarter (take neuro-enhancers?) and more hardworking in the future if I want to be the kind of person who comes here and don’t get sneered at.
I think people open bars in Europe just because … well, they kind of made a mistake that is too expensive and too late to fix. People open cafes in America because they want to project a dream, an idea, a feeling. America is full of Aspirational Ambiance. I believe Aspirational Ambiance undermines any hope of stoicism.