LAWRENCE, KS—A nearly uncontrollable excitement once again gripped residents of this small Midwestern city Thursday as they flocked in droves to see local coffee shop Perk Up’s weekly bulletin-board posting of upcoming events and neighborhood news, sources confirmed.
“Here it comes, everybody!” said Maria Shanahan, 32, who stood near the front of the large, clamoring crowd that had gathered in and around the small café, spilling out into the parking lot and beyond. “I can’t wait a second longer to find out this week’s community happenings and other items of interest.”
“I wonder which dogs will be missing this week,” she added.
As Shanahan spoke, a Perk Up employee was seen to emerge from behind the counter carrying what appeared to be a computer printout in one hand, a stapler in the other.
According to witnesses, the buzz among the assembled locals reached fever pitch as the employee elbowed his way through the throng, making his way to the corkboard affixed to a wall near the coffee shop’s entrance.
“Okay, okay, clear a path everybody—I’ve got to get this newsletter up,” said barista Jarvis Gregg, 25, who observers noted was forced to hold the single page of paper high above his head to keep it out of customer reach. “The sooner you let me through, the sooner you can all see what you came here to see.”
The Perk Up Weekly Neighborhood News & Events Listing—known simply as “The Board” by area readers—has reportedly enjoyed massive popularity since its first posting in 2007, with residents piling into the eight-seat-capacity establishment to get the latest leads on complimentary wine-tastings, open-mic nights, and gluten-free recipe seminars.
“Holy shit, baseball tickets!” called out freelance graphic designer Tim Nojima, responding to a notice indicating that a neighbor was looking to sell three general admission passes to an exhibition game of a nearby minor-league club. “And is that…is that a charity 5k fun run? Guess I’m going to have to pick and choose this week!”
“Looks like the farmers market still has some winter squash available,” added Nojima, craning his neck around the crush of fellow onlookers so he could read further. “I thought for sure I’d made my last butternut-squash soup of the year, but clearly I was mistaken.”
Though Perk Up opens at 7 a.m., this Thursday there was already a line around the block by 6:30, filled with people who admitted they just couldn’t wait to find out what valuable information this week’s edition of the 8-and-a-half-by-11-inch sheet of paper might hold.
The weekly frenzy has occasionally gotten out of hand, according to city officials. In May 2009, a breast-feeding woman trampled in the rush had to be hospitalized, and in January of last year police were forced to implement emergency crowd-control measures when posting of the community newsletter was delayed until 10 a.m. due to then-assistant manager Jane Myers calling in sick.
“It’s a long wait, but it’s worth it,” said 55-year-old Helen Gianni-Heim, an avid reader of The Board. “You really have to know somebody if you want to get in there before noon. Luckily, I’m a friend of someone who has a friend who knows the guy who hangs it up each week.”
Gianni-Heim added that if it weren’t for the bulletin-board postings, she would have missed out on many community events over the years, including 2008’s open forum on municipal pool reservations and a 2010 book signing by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Other residents agreed their time spent waiting in line had paid off.
“I had to camp on the sidewalk all night in a sleeping bag, but look!” said graduate student Brendon Herr, clutching a torn-off piece of paper with the phone number of a man who gives tabla lessons.
Waving the scrap of paper before several dozen admiring onlookers, he added, “I’m calling this guy right away!”
At press time, lines were already forming for next week’s bulletin-board posting, which is rumored to have the lowdown on an upcoming yard sale with good deals on gourmet kitchen cutlery.