Fairly recently I’ve noticed a bit of a change at the cafés here surrounding UNLV. People seem to be becoming friendlier and more prone to chat amongst both themselves and complete strangers. Although this seems to be different from my experiences with the more traditional European cafés, I do tend to enjoy it quite a bit more.
One of the nice things that I’ve noticed with this increase in friendliness is the increasing help that people are offering each other when it comes to working on cross-curricular or inter-disciplinary activities. Whether that may be helping someone who isn’t too familiar with computers get online on the free wireless network at the café, or assisting a Russian music student with the pronunciation and meaning of some German pieces of music (done both); everybody seems to be a lot nicer and more willing to work with each other, or even to just chat with each other about the day’s topics, be they politics, philosophy, religion, or the latest book that they read.
This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to forego getting your work done (there have been several times where I’ve been able to work uninterrupted at either a corner table or a larger communal table for a few hours), it just means that you need to be willing to help out your fellow (wo)man if it seems that they need it.
So, that brings me to my semi-hippieish call to action. If you should be at a café or other communal place and it looks like someone needs a bit of help with something, by all means go over there and offer to help that person out. Who knows, you may just end up helping out someone who could end up being a good acquaintance to have (and the warm fuzzy feeling and good karma that go along with helping someone out don’t hurt either).