An anthropologist hoping to capture the essence of today’s Boulder could do worse than spend a day in the Trident with dark glasses and a notepad. This coffee shop cum used bookstore is everything our more Starbuckian javajoints aspire to be but aren’t: a meeting place, a haven, a place to debate the morning’s headlines, to eavesdrop on a lovers tiff, to glean spiritual counsel from the mutterings of a stranger, or simply to lose yourself in your studies or your fiction or your neuroses.
Like a neighborhood commons, the Trident welcomes wanderers but is perhaps more proprietarily the domain of regulars – familiar faces whose latte preferences the expert barristas merely confirm with a nod, whose favorite tables and distinct voices are etched in everyone else’s memories, and whose presence is never surprising, indeed whose extended absence might bring about a subliminal unease.
Hide behind those glasses with that notepad for long enough and you’ll witness the protean quality of the place, a paradoxical space that is at once instantly identifiable and infinitely reconfigurable. Hide too long and you’re part of the exhibit.