A funny thing happens here in San Francisco, but I’m sure it’s the case in any city with a lot of cafes. You see, you can go to a cafe any time in the earlier morning from say, their opening times of 6 or 7AM up until about 9:30AM and there won’t be too many people there. Most folks just pop in for a dash of caffeine on their way to the office. Sure, there are some regulars who are up early and reading their papers, but really, the cafes just aren’t that full.
Then the magical hour of 10:00 hits and sudddenly the places are packed. Everyone has suddenly gotten their act together, woken up and is kicking it java style down at their local shake shop.
So, where do all these people come from? Don’t they have jobs to get to? Maybe. Maybe not. This is one of the big questions about SF in that, how are there always people in the cafes? If you’ve been to Europe, you see the same thing and the answer is clear that while people do work, they just don’t work as much. They still get stuff done though. Did you see the Airbus 350? That was done in Europe somehow.
Visitors comment on this way of life in San Francisco. Michael Moore made a bit of thing about it in Roger and Me. It’s true that it must be mystifying to most Americans how San Francisco pulls it off. It is for me and I’ve lived here for some time. There are a lot of freelancers and there are a lot of night time workers for bars and restaurants, so I guess that’s part of it. I think that there is also just a generally kicked back attitude on things, which is why the whole dot-com era was such a strange time here. It really went against the grain for what I have come to know as San Francisco – The City that Gets Eight Hours of Sleep.
As a side note, when at the cafes, watch out for falling windows. At Cup-A-Joe near me, people were outside minding their own business when a window from a fifth floor apartment overhead came off its hinges and plummeted to the ground. Luckily no one was hurt, but it was a dangerous situation where someone could have been killed. See, there’s excitement in the cafes afterall!