From The Storyteller
August 27, 2018, Third Place
My “Third Place”? What is this guy talking about? He throws the term out like everyone (but me) knows. To me “third place” was the white ribbon I got in the 8th grade standing broad jump. Beyond this I am clueless.
Responses from others in the room helps our speaker realize the term needs an explanation. Thus I, and 150 others, are taught “First Place” is home, “Second Place” is where we work, and our “Third Place” is where we go to hang out most of the rest of the time (His example: his favorite coffee shop with WiFi.) Thinking further about his explanation made identifying Red’s Drive In as my high school “Third Place” easy. I could also see a college student away from home having a coffee shop with WiFi as their “Third Place”.
After those two examples, however, my search to identify a current “Third Place” became hazy. Does the grocery store count? Unlike the folks on TV’s “Cheers”, I’ve never had enough time or money to hang out in a bar drinking. In my life, when I’m home from work, going back out requires something really important, like an Rx for a sick kid or toilet paper we forgot to add to the grocery list.
Finally the words “hang out” and “most” makes naming my “Third Place” possible. The fact is Elaine and I always spend most of our free time and discretionary dollars on family, who just happen to live all over the country. When we take time away from home and work, our “hang out the most” place can clearly be designated as “family”.
Consequently, “Third Place” can have multiple physical locations because being with people you love can happen almost anywhere.
Moral: Relationships, not location, create the “Third Place”.