It’s 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning in late February at the La Colombe cafe on Vandam, and a lot of people have a hankering for their morning coffee. My coworker Beth and I have parked ourselves at a table and are taking it all in, paying close attention to what some might consider an unexceptional scene: the cyclical ongoings of rush hour at one of west Soho’s best-attended coffee shops. By the end of our morning observing, I feel like I’ve been in a sensory deprivation tank, and am now seeing everything that happens in post-morning-coffee time in a new light.
During our shift at La Colombe, we met a bunch of well-caffeinated people, embodied the strangeness of Nathan For You’s Nathan Fielder when interviewing strangers, speculated if pairs of people were friends getting coffee or two parties on the opposite sides of a job interview, and counted AirPods like our lives depended on it.
Scroll on below to glimpse what we learned that morning, after your intrepid reporter (so, I) downed a draft oat latte:
Story and graphics by Edith Young. Photos by Beth Sacca.