I was rained-on, cranky, and needed of a cup of coffee, or 10.
After driving a half-mile from my warm, spacious twin bed on West Philadelphia Street to Central Family Restaurant, I peeled myself off the seat of my green Toyota and got to work Wednesday morning.
Yes, work. From a stool at the North George Street coffee counter.
This was the second of what will hopefully be a weekly installment of “coffee shop journalism,” an exercise based on the concept that news, or newsworthy people, don’t waltz by a reporter’s cubicle.
On Wednesday, my new officemates concerned themselves with politics — the Republican primary debate that aired Tuesday night on CNN.
“Did you see how many people are running for the presidency?” one man asked another. “Jesus Christ.”
I took out my iPad. An older gentleman glanced at the device and asked me if it was “hooked into TMI.”
Three Mile Island. The nuclear power plant.
I didn’t know what to say.
It consumes electricity potentially produced at the Dauphin County facility. But no, it is not radioactive. Nor does it make me glow like a white dress under a black light.
I felt somewhat relieved when Karl Spangler, the restaurant’s owner, came over to introduce himself. He purchased the restaurant in 1997 and had some questions about his Twitter account, @CentralFamily, which he started using a few weeks ago to promote his business and advertise specials like pumpkin bread french toast.
It wasn’t long before other local Twitterers dropped in. First was York City Council candidate Manuel Gomez, @NoPovertyPimps, and fellow Libertarian David Moser, who is running for York City School Board.
Then, I saw green — York St. Patrick’s Day parade organizer Mary Yeaple, a Central Family Restaurant regular who often introduces herself by her Twitter name, @paradelady.
These are just a few of the fascinating people I’ve met recently in my effort to hang out in public places during the workweek.
Grover Cleveland McCoury, older brother of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, also ranks high on that list. I met him last week at the Papertown Restaurant & Dairy Bar in Spring Grove.
A few days later, a manila envelope was waiting in my mailbox
“The retired men at the Spring Grove breakfast diner really enjoyed your questions and talk,” the note inside said.
It was signed “G.C.”
And though I don’t know much about bluegrass — or “picking” as G.C. and his friends call it — the contents of the envelope, four photos of the McCoury Brothers band from years 1962-2010, put a smile on my face. (They are pasted below)
Sure, it’s not breaking news. It’s not some earth-shattering scoop.
Just a neat little glimpse of local history I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
And that, to me, is worth waking up early and putting myself out there — at least for another week.
TALK TO LAUREN: What’s news in your neighborhood? Would you like Lauren Boyer to visit your place of business? E-mail her at email@example.com or give her a call, 771-2062. She’s also on Twitter at @laurenboyer.