Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Elek Holler, Second Cup and Third Place

My brothers and sister have all started doing blogs now, which means the Elek clan is able to keep in touch, no matter how far apart we are. Don't worry, I'm sure we all still plan to end make the Elek Holler on a tobacco plantation somewhere in southern Kentucky during our golden years.

But this latest development in the classic Elek social ineptitude has led me to think more about an idea people are calling the theory of Third Place. The idea is that There is something called the Theory of Third Place. Essentially what it means is that people need to visit a place which is neither home nor work. The Third Place. For some, this is a coffee shop, for some it's a library, or a park, or a bar. It doesn't matter what the third place is, it's just a place you like to go that is neither home nor work.

Third places do a lot for society. According to Ray Oldenburg (one of the founders of the idea), "they make the citizen feel at home, they nourish relationships and a diversity of human contact, they help create a sense of place and community, they invoke a sense of civic pride, they provide numerous opportunities for serendipity, they promote companionship, they allow people to relax and unwind after a long day at work.." And he goes on.

The problem is, in our culture, third places are on the demise. Coffee shops that used to be places where people could go and sit down to talk about things, are now flashy places with two comfortable chairs and a whole slew of iron wooden chairs and teetering tables with drive-thru windows in the back. Bars that used to be places for the neighborhood Joe to go unwind at the end of the week are now thumping and pulsing cavernous seas of sweaty people shouting to hear anything over the speakers. Libraries are all but forgotten in society, and parks are being crowded out by buildings.

For me, my third place is Second Cup Cafe on 8th and Market. I love that little shop and used to go there at least three to four times a week. (Then I gave up coffee for lent.) Since lent, I have been back only once. What happened? I changed my third place. During Lent, because it made no sense to go to the coffee shop, I started blogging instead. And now that my family is blogging as well, Blogs have become my third place.

Seeing as the Third Place that Oldenburg talked about is dramatically different from this one, I wonder if I should maybe slow down a bit on the blogging.

But then again, I could just go to Second Cup and blog from there... they have free Wi-Fi.


Tim 2 said...

I sent you the code so you could fix the image at the bottom of your page! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE JOSH!

Joshua said...

Do you mean what is going on here (a)? Or do you mean what is going on here? (b)? Or do you mean what is going on here (c)?

(A) indicates a failure to understand, or a strong disagreement with the material that has been posted on this website.

(B) indicates a skeptical cynicism regarding, or a failure to understand the "goings on" or the social dynamics of the website.

(C) indicates that a failure to unidentify a light(s) or other electronic devise(s) which have turned "on" in your apartment and you are asking for an identification of said devise.

P.S. I never got the code. Oh, wait, did you send it to my Yahoo account? I'll check that one. Hang on.

Joshua said...

* that should read:

"(C) indicates a failure to identify..." not

"(C) indicates that a failure to unidentify..."

P.P.S. - I found the email in my Yahoo account.

P.P.P.S. - Please update my email address to joshuaelek@gmail.com

P.P.P.P.S. - I used to win at swords all the time. Just wanted to remind you.

Joshua said...

P.P.P.P.P.S. - How do I make it stretch past the white parts like the image at the top does?

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. - If you are running Mozilla Firefox, you can just kit CTRL-U and it will show you the HTML code for this page. Then you can make the necessary edits and send the new revised code to me in an email, and I'll just copy and paste it in...

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. - Maybe I shouldn't do that... for all I know you'll put some niftly secret link to bad sites in there somewhere and I won't know how to delete it... wait, you aren't Jim. Nevermind, go ahead... if you want that is.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. - Remember when I taught you how to use worldcraft and you ended up becoming a game designer? You owe me. But if you prefer, you can pay me back by making the slide show for my wedding, ;)

Jim Elek said...

I think that I have a couple of third places. One of my third places is in the bathroom. I always feel accepted by my own feces. I also like to do this blogging thing, it is sort of a third place, maybe a 7th place or someting like that. I have other third places on the internet, but I will respectfully keep them to myself. I would like for some1 to tell me how to link to other blogs on mine, I can't figure it out and it is sending me to a bad place. Josh only won at swords because his sword was too small to combat with, but that kid can piss forever and with an arc that makes a freaking rainbow. Yes it can!!! Well, it could when he was like 5.

Mom Elek said...

You kids crack me up - endlessly. I love these blogs.

I think you kids have made each other a Third Place. You know each other, and have learned that in spite of idiosyncracies and differences, you all really love and accept one another exactly as you are.

You are my Third Place as well, and my first and my second. The blogs and comments make me think, make me laugh, make me remember, and make me excited for your futures. I love hearing your thoughts, your teasing, your humor, your joys and your feelings. None of you can imagine what goes through my heart when I read all this. Sometimes I laugh out loud, and sometimes I get teary. And all the time I am filled with joy at what creative, intelligent and caring people you all are. Even when you are teasing one another, it is denoted by love, honesty, acceptance, tolerance and understanding. You cannot comprehend how proud I am of each of you.

Each blog is a reflection of the owner. Jimbo, there cannot be a contest. It would be like trying to decide between the Browns and the Indians, between Monet and Picasso, between Rickie and Maggie.... Which is the best? The answer lies in Grandma B wisdom. She always said, "The one I love the most is the one in front of me at any given moment."

Joshua said...

Whatever. I'm winning.

Jim Elek said...

I think that mom is having a contest with herself in which she tries to write sappier stuff everytime she posts a comment. You are winning mom, but you better slow down or sooner or later you might have to actually cut off a limb or an ear or something to outdo yourself. Oh yeah, I think I am in the top five in the blog contest so far. I'll kepp you posted as to the results. However, I don't think anyone has outdone either the midgets or the pretzel tattooed kid yet.

Joshua said...


I just outdid the tatoo kid.


I'm sooooo winning.