Friends Via a Twitter Hashtag

“The Royale” and a Quarantine Tradition?

A Twitter friend posted the other day how it was a little ironic he failed to post a picture of himself with The Royale on the two-year anniversary of the “Quarantine Tradition.”

I was surprised to read this given how consistent he had been with his postings during the two years, and I was a little bummed as his posts are entertaining. I also thought to myself, “Self, has it really been two years? I wonder what my first picture was. How many of me are there?”

Group one of selfies with The Royale.

So, I requested my Twitter data, waited patiently for the notification that the download was ready, and sorted the photos. It turns out there are just over 200 pictures of me enjoying The Royale on Twitter. Oddly enough my first post didn’t even have the selfie part going for it, but damn, for most of the rest of them, that’s a lot of selfies!

The Backstory

It began March 16, 2020, as a suggestion on Twitter from Tom to Brian, “idea: thread where you ask people to post their quarantine Royales.” Brian replied, “Love this. Post pics of you having your Royale (first cup of coffee of day). Quarantine edition.”

A few replies hit the original thread, but then Brian, him being Brian Koppelman, the writer, director, producer, posted on his own timeline, “We have to make this a quarantine tradition. Each morning post you and your Royale (first cup of coffee of the day). That way, we are drinking them together. #TheRoyale

A tradition had begun and, for some, that daily ritual has lasted long after the quarantines were lifted.

Normalcy During a Quarantine

Maybe you remember March of 2020. Businesses were being told to close their doors, people were being asked to stay home, and the realization that many people could work from home wasn’t, well, realized, yet. People were nervous, and as schools tried to figure out how to conduct classes remotely, everyone was trying to hold on to a bit of something normal while not having normal any longer.

Enter “The Royale – Quarantine Tradition.”

Years, months, hell, it could have just been days earlier than that March day in 2020, Brian Koppelman proclaimed that the term, “The Royale,” be used to designate the first cup of coffee of the day.  I recall seeing an occasional tweet from him about it, maybe a selfie picture or two holding a cup of coffee, but then came the quarantine tweet to his followers to post their pictures.

And post pictures they did, most including the hashtag, #TheRoyale.

Let’s Get Together, Kind Of

Young and old, near and far, it was a Twitter lovefest around the first cup of coffee. Sure, much of Twitter in those days had been filled with messages of death and fear, but The Royale gave the morning something to look forward to, almost like a metaversian meeting in a coffee shop before the metaverse was even a thing.

Brian Koppelman used the opportunity to create a fundraiser for the Food Bank for New York City by selling mugs with his picture on them, artwork was created, a dorky song was made, and a new, morning ritual arrived, at least for me anyway, searching Twitter for “#TheRoyale.”

Come Visit #TheRoyalCafe

As weeks, months, and years passed, some mugs came and went. There were those who were very diligent in their posting, others dropped out of regularly posting, but a few remained as consistent contributors. The Twitter follows began, and a camaraderie amongst people continued, centered around a selfie with a cup of coffee and a hashtag.

I discovered a new musician, Hope Dunbar, who put out two, wonderful Americana albums during the two years. I learned more about Ohio sports than I knew when I lived in The Buckeye State, thanks to a gentleman named Tim. I got to see some beautiful artwork created by an artist name Michael. I followed, then unfollowed, then followed, then unfollowed someone mostly because I still haven’t perfected Lists on Twitter. #TheRoyaleCafe was created by Aaron, a virtual coffee shop on Twitter for all to gather. And I realized it is very difficult for me to take a selfie with The Royale and not make a weird, facial expression.

It is hard to realize, though, that this has been going on for two years.

The New Normal

There is a lot of talk about “the new normal,” but that seems to shift on any given week. There was the normal about masks, then no masks, then needing your vaccine card to eat, and not needing the card any longer. Depending on the survey you read, the new normal will be a hybrid work model, or maybe people will be back in the office five days a week. Maybe we’ll be living with Covid for the rest of our lives, but then again, maybe not. Who knows?

What is normal for me, though, is, to this day, mornings are a little brighter on my Twitter feed as I join my friends for a cup of coffee at #TheRoyaleCafe.

A Thank You and An Invite

So, a tip of The Royale, and a “thank you,” to Tom for giving the idea to Brian about posting pictures with The Royale. And a “thank you” to the regular visitors to #TheRoyaleCafe who bring a bright spot to my mornings.

Go ahead, enjoy The Royale in the morning, you deserve it, and if you feel so inclined to take a picture of yourself with that first cup of coffee, you are welcome to join us on Twitter with #TheRoyale at #TheRoyaleCafe.