Thursday, November 16, 2017

The faux coffee community

A little earlier this afternoon, I started thinking about coffee and then I started thinking about Starbucks and how I thought back in August that regular Friday mornings at Starbucks might turn into a thing for me.

They didn't.

They didn't because I immediately questioned my motives behind wanting to go sit in Starbucks and work, read, write, etc. What is the advantage of going to Starbucks over just staying home? I am more comfortable at home. The chairs there are hard and the tables a tad wobbly. The coffee here is a lot cheaper and I don't have to worry about someone stealing my laptop if I need to go to the bathroom.

I considered some of the people I saw in Starbucks. Some tables were full of people, probably study groups or work colleagues. I get that. But the people I saw alone were either reading or feverishly typing into laptops. None of these people were talking to anyone else. Most tables of four had only one person seated.

We were all there alone, sitting at our own little tables, sipping expensive coffee and doing things we could be doing anywhere. Why choose that place? Is it the music? Is it the desperate need to escape for a bit from our cubicles or classrooms or dorm rooms? Or do we simply just want to be seen as the type of people who can afford to buy and sip expensive coffee while we work, read, write, etc.? Or do we simply wish to convince ourselves that we are the type of people who can afford to buy and sip expensive coffee while we work, read, write, etc.?

Regardless of our motives, for a few dollars spent on coffee that most likely originated in a place we'll never be able to afford to visit (and maybe also a pastry) as the price of admission, we can temporarily buy into another life, admitting ourselves for a half-hour or so (that's as long as I last since the seats are so uncomfortable) into this faux community of jazz-listening, espresso-drinking sophisticates and hipsters that doesn't really exist. It's all a facade that is being sold to us and we will happily sit there working, reading, writing, etc. and adding to the mirage of this faux community by our presence, another actor paying to play a part in the big show.

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