Imagine a room filled with mismatched, well-worn furniture of all shapes and sizes. The smell of freshly roasted coffee permeates the air as people, as diverse and mismatched as the furniture, fill its entirety. People bound by mutual drink tastes and mutual understandings. On one side of the room sits a lone stranger, reading furiously. She looks over the rim of her coffee mug only to catch the eye of another perfect stranger across the room; a warm smile, a nod, and a raise of a mug establishes friendship. Nothing is known of previous life choices and personal beliefs, yet the simple act of a smile lends to an air of old friends; an understanding that had their paths crossed before they surely might have been the closest of friends. Towards the front of the room, where the brewed coffee stands, people mill about discussing choices and options as if they have known each other for years. A table in the back of the room is rocked with the opinions of a heated conversation about life, politics, and even Ingrid Michaelson. A couch to its right contains the remains of one girl's prized laptop, left unattended as she crosses the room to converse with a new arrival.
Where else exists a place of such mutual respect for other's choices, beliefs, and even one another's belongings? A place where people do not check their individuality at the door. For some inexplicable reason they enter with an easy acceptance of each person's quirks and individual expression. Where else but in a coffee house? Are these the new religious institutions of the twenty-first century? Coffee Houses: today's hub of diversity and culture. Fortunately for us, they are located on nearly every corner.