Where eeeeverybody knows your name

untitledBy Lisa Sugarman

Around here, in my immediate world, most people I know have a place they go to get away, even for a few minutes every day, just to take a break and reset themselves.

Here, where I am, some of us have Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. Others call Java Sun their go-to place. Some do the Muffin Shop and some do Panera. But the funny thing is, it really doesn’t matter where you live or what kind of place you have. What matters is that it’s your place.

I mean, making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got; taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

I’m not being cheeky. I do have a point.

Look, at the end of the day, we all need someplace we can go to get away, even for a few minutes, from the bedlam of our daily lives. I don’t care who you are or how together your life is, we all need some version of a pit stop to pull into and take a break—a break from our kids or our husbands or our wives or our jobs. Somewhere we can reground our wires, maybe have some mindless, maybe even meaningless conversation, and regain the stamina to forge on.

For some people that place is a gym, where you sweat it out with your homies, maybe compare protein powders and check out each other’s calf muscles. For others, it’s a place where the barista knows exactly how many espresso shots you take and that you like your soy milk extra hot. That’s because having this type of place in your life is sort of, I think, like an adult version of a security blanket. It’s like something we can swathe ourselves in that has that calming effect. And I think it’s fair to say that most of us need at least a small daily infusion of calm in our lives.

Think of it in these terms. Sing the Cheers lyrics with me and then think of them in terms of your own life. I’m going to sing them in my head because I have no pitch whatsoever and have no business singing. You, on the other hand, can feel free to belt away.

Making your way in the world today Takes everything you’ve got; Taking a break from all your worries Sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you liiiiiiiike to get away?

Blah, blah, blah, blah…

Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came; You want to be where you can see, Our troubles are all the same; You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Having a place—whatever kind of place you have—gives you a sense of belonging and familiarity and security. When you think about it, that need to have a place to go to get away stretches back to the days of needing treehouses or blanket forts. For me, my little spot was the bottom half of our linen closet in the front hall. Too small for company, which was a shame, but I loved it. I was significantly smaller then and a bit of a loner. Don’t judge. I was six.

When you’re older, though, the kind of place you need changes. Obviously. People swap treehouses and forts for coffee shops and yoga studios. Or at least they should. Because if you’re a grown up still hanging out in a treehouse, that, I’m afraid, would be extremely creepy. In fact, that would be a problem—a problem that would necessitate an immediate call to the authorities.

Look, maybe they know your name at the place you go, or maybe they don’t. That part of it really doesn’t matter that much. The point is that you have a place where you can go and take a small pause from your busy, exhausting life. Where you can get even slightly refreshed and re-energized. And, if you’re lucky like me, and you’ve found a place like I’ve got, where everybody actually does legitimately know your name, then you’ve hit the mother lode.

See, the nature of watering holes hasn’t changed all that much since the very first watering holes came to be. Sure, what you choose to water your hole with has evolved, but the essence of why we go to them hasn’t changed at all.

We go to these places to exchange gossip, to share news, to do business, and to feel even somewhat a part of the local fabric of the community around us.

My hole is called Shubie’s. And when George or Carol or Dougy say hi to me by name, it never gets old. Au contraire. It makes me feel, even just while I’m eating my panini, like I’m swaddled and cozy and that they’re always glad I came.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.

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