There are some people who are equally at home wherever they are. There are others who are so much at home in one place that the two are inseparable. I have been the first, and now I am trying to become more like the second.

It took me a long time to learn, but I eventually found being equally at home everywhere meant being not quite at home anywhere. And the lifestyle that led me to that way of being seemed to support an unpleasant homogenization everywhere I went: Home Depots, Applebees and 24-Hour Kinko’s from coast-to-coast, brand new, brightly lit, convenient, superficial.

I want to support awkward businesses like I ran into in Europe, closed from 1:30 to 3, and on Thursdays, and on particularly sunny summer afternoons. I know they are disappearing there, too. I miss the intimacy and understanding their inconvenience requires. And the kind of workers they produce – in control of their lives. I miss their rumpled, caring humanity.