The Ralph's by my work has been undergoing some construction/ remodeling. I'll go there during lunch time to get some food and to work on my writing. There's a Starbucks inside and some tables to eat at. During the remodeling the table space was greatly diminished and they threw one of those big Starbuck-sy tables in there to make up for it.
I usually try to avoid sitting next to people when I'm out in public, but because there were so few places to sit, I'd share the big table with four or five people. There were always a bunch of strangers mushed together there.
On two separate occasions, another of the table's occupants said out of nowhere that this was like a family table. That we all shared.
I said nothing and didn't break eye contact with my laptop screen.
The table make-up tended to go like this: an elderly couple (always different and always very old), a talkative Ralph's employee, a dour-looking woman in her forties, and me.
"This is like a family."
When I went in to Ralph's, today, I noticed that they had finished their remodeling. They had taken out the family table and had, instead, a bunch of little tables for two. These were all filled with well-adjusted looking professional people chatting with friends they already knew.
I kind of miss the family table, Ralph's. We shared, you know?