Have you heard about a third space? According to a quick Google search, a third space is: “in community building, the third place (or third space) is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the workplace (“second place”). Examples of third places would be environments such as cafes, clubs or parks.”
My third spaces tend to be coffee shops, friends’ houses, places with swing sets, or parks with statues. I sort of have “a type” of third space. This type usually includes alternative music, men with beards or light facial scruff, cool art, and plug-ins for my computers.
This morning, I spent some time in my “third spaces” in Boise, Idaho. What are the places I love? You wonder. There are two: the delicious Guido’s pizzeria and Flying M Coffee House. I’m not really sure how legit these count as third spaces because I’ve never actually lived in Boise, but still – they’re my favorite places in the capital city of Idaho. I discovered these delightful spaces when I was a college student at Northwest Nazarene University.
I spent four years of college in the city of Nampa. In case you’ve never visited Nampa, let me tell you a little bit about it. It is very… churchy. Though today downtown Nampa has its own Flying M Coffee Garage, when I was in college, there was only one cool coffee shop in town. It was called One More Cup and the owner played Christian music inside. I hung out there once, but no more.
Well, because Nampa didn’t have a whole lot for us to do, during my freshman year, my RA took us to her hometown of Boise to show us the town and teach us about life. Did we go out to bars and use fake IDs? No. We went to eat pizza, drink coffee, and drive in circles blasting music from our old cars. We were awesome. And we stayed out of trouble. Those random, ridiculous nights out in Boise became the highlights of my college experience. If I weren’t doing that, I would be studying: writing papers or reading books. And if not that, attending Bible study. My life, of course, was the stuff you see in movies… not.
I tried to explain the significance of Flying M and Guido’s to some work friends this week. They didn’t get it. Boise has great bars and beers downtown, they told me. That’s great, I tried to reason, but… Guido’s and Flying M are so… me. They take me back to ten years ago when I was a sweeter, less intelligent, much more naïve version of myself. Those places are full of memories and dreams and when I go back, I can’t help but feel at home.
I’m sure Boise has other great haunts and I know one day I’ll need to check out the great beers they’re serving downtown, but for now, I’ll keep my two third spaces close to home. Because really, when you have a third space, it’s yours to keep.
Tata for now.