Friday, April 01, 2011

Give me a latté and some paper. Ding.


See, like I always say, if you hang on to something long enough, you'll eventually become cool again. Now all I have to do is find a 1950s-vintage Underwood manual.

FROM THE Omaha Bee-News:
This is one coffeehouse where you won't find free wi-fi.

You won't find expensive wi-fi, either. Or dial-up at any price.

As a matter of fact, you'll be asked to check your laptop at the counter. And your cell phone or tablet computer, too.

You see, RetroGrounds in Omaha's Old Market district is a no-tech zone.
It's all an outgrowth of the slow-food and slow-tech movements, says owner and chief barista Ole Lud-Dytes.

"If you want a good cup of coffee, it something you just can't rush. It's the same thing with a good meal, and it's the same with communicating with one another," he says. "You just have to take your time."

To walk into RetroGrounds is to step out of time -- and into history. There is a 1936 Zenith radio sitting on a corner counter, tuned to a local "standards" station. AM, of course. And if you have to stay in touch with the world while you enjoy a latté or brèvé, manual typewriters -- circa anywhere from the 1930s to the 1960s -- sit on tables around the establishment.

Chasity Lemuels sits at one of those tables, hunting and pecking at a 1962 Royal. It's the first time the 20-year-old has used a typewriter, and only one of a handful of times she's even laid eyes on one.

"It's so . . . tactile," she muses. "It's fun -- very different from using my laptop. I feel like I'm writing with authority, but my fingers hurt.

"I think I know why my grandparents have arthritis," she says, giggling.

RetroGrounds opened about a year ago, and Lud-Dytes says business has been growing steadily.

"I started this with no more than a gut feeling that people just might want to step off the modern treadmill," he says as he foams yet another latté for a customer who has checked his iPad and stepped out of cyberspace and into. . . ?

"Peace. Contemplation. The world where the physical and the realm of communication have once again become one," Lud-Dytes says.

"That's the yearning I just felt people had in this hyperconnected, overly technological world. So far, business is good and tells me I just might be on to something here."

The first-class stamp for your first letter is free with your coffee.
COUNT ME IN. I think my coffee intake will be increasing dramatically.

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