The InsiderOne Daily Report

  Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Getting Away With It

InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: Nearly every day, in the mid-afternoon, I stop in at a café on the Sonoma square and order a coffee to go. The coffee at this place is out-of-this-world good. "That'll be $1.34," the person behind the counter, usually a young man or woman, will say sometimes. Other times, they 'll ask for $1.25. This has gone on for, oh, eight or nine months. Seemingly at random, a coffee is either $1.34 or $1.25. Once I asked about this. No one who worked in the café knew — one of life's smaller mysteries. I figured, I don't mind paying $1.34 for a delicious cup of coffee. The price of coffee at the café is $1.34, I told myself. When they happen to charge $1.25, I'll figure it's a lucky day. That's the way to deal with the randomness of existence. Then one afternoon one of the folks behind the counter said to me, "You work on the square, right?" Well, actually, I don't, I said. "Yes, you do!" the clerk insisted with a smile. " 'Cause then I can give you the discount. That's $1.20, please." OK.... I left, and then I felt like I'd gotten away with something. Then I started feeling guilty. Wait a minute, I thought, you're not really getting away with anything. What if the price of coffee is really supposed to be $1.25, and you've been paying $1.34 some days. This will just even things out. Plus, while I don't, technically, "work on the square," I do spend my days writing and editing and dealing with InsiderOne business near the square. Within walking distance of the square. Why should someone who happens to work on the square get a better deal than someone who works near the square?... It's quite amazing how the human mind rationalizes things. A few days later, I asked for a coffee. Another person was behind the counter. "You work on the square, right?" he asked. Uh, yeah, I said confidently. "Where do you work?" he asked. Uh oh. Well, uh, I write and I spend a lot of time around here writing and I run a Web site... "That'll be $1.20," he said. It just didn't sit right with me. I started thinking, how could I have told that guy I worked on the square? I don't. Now I've created this fabrication, this lie. Every time I see him I'm going to feel guilty, like I've been getting away with something. Like a sneak. How was I going to resolve this? The next time I went for coffee, another person said, "You work on the square, don't you?" Well, I said, not really. I work near the square.... "That's OK," she said. "You're in here a lot. Ninety-five cents." Guilt-free.

Datastream: Twenty-three artists have signed on thus far to appear at this year's Yo Yo A Go Go music festival. C Average, Sarah Dougher, the Microphones, Gene Defcon and Internal/External are just some of the artists joining such previously announced performers as The Need, The Gossip, Mountain Goats, Mirah and Space Ballerinas. The Yo Yo fest takes place at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Wash. — July 17–21. Other new additions: Serum Greys, Tracy and the Plastics, The Thrones, The Lords of Lightspeed, Tennessee Twin, Carcelona DC and Dead Moon. ... Two additional songs, "Start As You Mean To Go On" and "Brutality" will appear on the U. S. version of Black Box Recorder's second album The Facts of Life, which will finally see U.S. release March 20th by Jetset Records. ... The excellent Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the debut album by the group of the same name, will be released in the U. S. on April 3. ... As far as photographers go, 84-year-old Louis Faurer, who died on March 2 in Manhattan, wasn't exactly a household name. Those who knew of him, knew him for his street photography, although he did fashion work for such magazines as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. For the catalog of a 1981 exhibit of his work at the University of Maryland he wrote: "My eyes search for people who are grateful for life, people who forgive and whose doubts have been removed, who understand the truth, whose enduring spirit is bathed by such piercing white light as to provide their present and future with hope."

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Michael Goldberg is the president of He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.

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