Can You Identify With This Photo?

Family of Four at Algiers, Cambridge, MA

Family of Four at Algiers, Cambridge, MA

So, last week I was kind of obsessing on this photo that I took at one of my favorite hang spots in Cambridge (when I’m in Cambridge), the Algiers Coffee House. This place has the best vibe, and vibe is the right term (I’m not trying to be all hippy dippy here) as it has a warming “you are welcome here and, by the way, stay as long as you like” feel to it.

It’s been there as long as I’ve known Harvard Square and while a lot of the surrounding square has gotten more and more trendy and expensive (in addition there used to be a ban on chain stores and it now has 2, yes 2, Dunkin Donuts’), Algiers has retained the same casual, beautiful atmosphere that it’s always had.

Algiers Coffee House, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Algiers Coffee House, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Ok, so getting to the picture I took….I took this on a lovely, lengthy hang out with a friend of mine, after attending the Icelandic Film Festival¬†(yes, there is such a thing) at the Brattle Theatre. We enjoyed the private corner, lack of pressure to leave, as well as the fact that often (as we did that day) you have to get up and find your own menus and sometimes even find a waiter when you are ready to order. I mean, when I say lack of pressure, I mean lack…of…pressure.

So, I took the above photo when my friend went to the loo and I had a moment to myself, just admiring the simplicity and significance of the 4 little objects before me. They were all functional objects on the table, with much in common in the spice world, yet they were all mismatched. Now, when was the last time that you saw a mismatched salt and pepper on your table in a metropolitan city restaurant? Who will allow that these days?

I find this so refreshing as it relieves the air of perfection that seems to exist everywhere around us these days. We expect ourselves to be perfect at everything to the point of depression. We expect our sports teams to be perfect, our public figures of all sorts (and of course, if they’re not, we enjoy reveling in their destruction), everything we buy, eat and interact with….yikes!…it’s exhausting.

The result of this is that everything pretends to be perfect and appears sanitized. Anyone who reads this regularly or follows me on social media knows that I love Dick Cavett. Those interviews were raw, honest and personal. We’ve sacrificed this for the late night TV circuit where all of the discussion topics are rehearsed, cleaned and laundered ahead of time and are booorrringg. I have no interest in watching that fiction.

Long live Algiers and all of the other Algiers’ of the world!

1 comment to Can You Identify With This Photo?

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