In all communities, large and small, we choose ways to define ourselves – where do we “belong”, who are “our type of people”? There are many ways to do this. In the many small towns of my youthful wandering around the country, people were usually a “top pub” or a “bottom pub” person. And like all ways we define ourselves in the sub groups of our communities, these decisions become self-reinforcing as your type of person would be found there and so friendships networks are formed and familiarity grows, making us feel like we belong.
As towns change and new people arrive, preferences adapt. When I lived in Kuranda in Far North Queensland in the 1970’s, the bottom pub was where the hippies and blackfellas drank and the top pub was referred to as the place where “the locals” drank. The irony of this given the blackfellas had been “local” for quite a few thousand years wasn’t lost on us in the bottom pub!
I noticed moving into the Cygnet area some years ago how strongly people can connect to “their” café. Given in small communities this is often a place you drop into during the day and meet people spontaneously, picking the place where “your people” hang is quite important and again becomes self reinforcing. And of course, all this is on top of the rather significant issue of the food and coffee that you like!