Thursday, December 23, 2004


1:45 p.m. – Free Exchange Coffeehouse

Capital Avenue, extending six long blocks from the center of campus to the heart of downtown, is a kind of commercial annex to the university, and boasts at least six coffeehouses.
Leonardo di Cuppajoe
BrewHaHa (which could easily be one of Cap Ave’s many bars)
The Palace Grounds (two locations, one at either end of Cap Ave)
Camelot (a bookstore and Café)
Free Exchange
With its dark-stained rainforest woods and tasteful laminates, the decor looks like it came from the restaurant supply department at Ikea. It’s not unpleasing, and they have original art (for sale) on the walls. (Not as interesting as the art at Gra-Mo’s, at least the current selection is craft fair-ish.) The coffee is pretty good, and I just had a croissant that was far better – buttery and flaky, without a hint of breadiness – than I had any right to expect.

What Free Exchange gives you most of all is the study hall atmosphere. This place is always filled with people working on laptops, writing papers, grading papers. In fact, between Atomic Café and CVJ, I picked up the papers for my class, which I plan to grade as much as possible in coffee houses.

At the table next to me is a young man whose laptop has a spreadsheet with what appear to be data for course grades, and he has a stack of typed papers in front of him. I read over his should a paragraph starting thus:
A great example is ancient Athens.
Okay, he’s a TA for an undergraduate course. I hope they’re writing better by the time I see them in law school.

I love the intensity of the thinking that goes on here, the wrestling with great ideas is palpable in the air. Time for me to turn to more deep thoughts.

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