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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Soaking It Up

A doctor’s visit lured me out today.  I used this excursion as a valid excuse to head to Starbuck’s while my prescription was being filled.  I was awash in a Sex-in-the-City-like experience when I opened my laptop in a public coffee house with a medley of earnest students, stay-at-home parents and their charges, professors and other equally creative, inquisitive and caffeine-deprived minds.  Foreheads were massaged between thumb and forefinger as intent readers try to absorb what is on the page before them.  Papers strewn out in disarray by patrons sipping on Ventis may have reflected genius or bedlam.  I wanted to interview each and every one of them.  I wanted to know why Starbuck’s?  What are you reading, have you read anything good lately? I was curious about the tables and spreadsheets that magically appear on their computer screens.  What are they measuring? Are they closer to an answer they can share with the rest of us?
In the background was music, generally pleasant and Indie-like, new to me.  Again, a reflection that I am not one of the cool ones.  I don’t own a seat, no cushions conform to my shape when I settle in.  The baristas called back and forth good-naturedly as they fill orders. 

Barista Job Description   Partnership MissionThis job contributes to Starbucks success by ensuring our service and store standards are met. We do this by providing customers with prompt service, quality beverages and products. Starbucks and partners will experience a friendly, upbeat and clean atmosphere.

Hushed cell-phone voices (for the most part) carried on conversations leaving me to wonder to whom are they speaking?  I grasped that, as far as I knew, that when someone stared in my direction with a blank, glazed expression, it was not a reflection of what they saw, rather it revealed that they were turned inward with their own thoughts. 
The loud grinding of the coffee beans was almost possible to ignore as my own thoughts became the imperative. It was then that I was convinced that Starbuck’s could not serve as my creative home away from home.  Give me my library cubicle from college or a quiet corner in a sun-filled room or a chaise-lounge with a view and I am golden. I could not get into the vibe of cafe central.  There was a subtle undertone that maybe only I sensed; many of the people I saw were  looking earnestly engage but seemed out to convince others of their important pursuits.  It was somewhat contrived for the pleasure of my muse.  It was intrusive and I felt as much an outsider as I did when I moved to a new school in seventh grade.  I didn't feel welcome.  And I don't like coffee.

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