Cafe Witness

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Umbrellas Are Out

The temperature, according to my Widget, is only 68 degrees but it feels at least 5 degrees warmer, and double that if you're in the sun. That can mean only one thing: the umbrellas are out.

All winter long, even during rain and snow, most cafes have put their outdoor seating up day after day. At night, I've heard the baristas wonder aloud why they have to bother with the setup and teardown of a dozen plastic chairs and tables, given the fact that no one in their right mind would ever bother sitting outside in Pittsburgh's wintry conditions. Aesthetics or habit, I suppose; or some deep-seated business theory that passersby won't realize there's a cafe on the block unless signified by snow-covered plastic chairs chained around a wrought-iron table.

But on a day like this, when the sun is out and the forecast calls for more of the same over the next week, it's far easier to get a seat inside a cafe than along the street. Everyone has decided to celebrate the newfound warmth with an iced coffee and a seat in the sun -- or, more precisely, under one of Crazy Mocha's umbrellas, which only come out when prompted by steady sunlight. For the latecomers, the options of sweltering in the sun is still preferable to a cool, well-shaded, air-conditioned seat indoors, so I'll gladly slip inside and observe.

Besides, capris are best observed from as far a distance away as possible. Like the next county.


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