Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Andromeda Strain

I've been reading other people's blogs, and a couple of days ago I came across a comment on a British blog asking if Starbucks has proliferated across Europe like it has in the US. The writer went on to equate Starbucks with the Andromeda Strain, and said it's meant the end of good coffee in America; he further likened it to McDonald's, "except that McDonald's is cheaper". It was a funny, but in many ways pertinent rant, and as I sat with my ex at our local Starbuck's this morning, I thought about it.

It was pouring rain outside, so there were just a few fellow caffeine addicts who'd braved this morning's weather. I got my usual Starbucks drink: a grande, non-fat, extra-dry, "for-here" cappucinno; my ex got a hot green tea. We then sat down in a couple of overstuffed chairs and briefly discussed various and sundry matters; everything from the London bombings to our twin sons' dentist appointments. Most of the people around us appeared to be engaged in similar casual conversations, and I noticed that most of the people who came in alone, even if they ended up reading the paper or gazing at the screens of their laptops once they got their drinks, initially engaged in a bit of banter with the staff as they ordered their drinks.

Watching all this, it occurred to me that a large part of why I like Starbuck's is because it provides a neutral, comfortable place to meet and talk a bit with others at any time of day. We live in a world where the morning news reminds us that one can be blown to bits simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and where many people seem to feel increasingly frightened and isolated. So to be able to go to a place where one is assured a sense of connection, however brief, whether with friends or with strangers, is a good thing... regardless of the quality (or lack thereof) of the coffee.


Judy said...

Where else would divorced couples go to chat? Nice entry.

emmapeeldallas said...

I live in far north Dallas, and there are quite a few Starbucks in the neighborhood now. I'm happy about it! :)

dallas0406 said...

I am also a Dallas and I don't hear of many. Where do you live?
There was no info in the 'all about me' place. I married a Dallas from the Philly area but we live in Atlanta now. Saw the entries in Pam's journal and I got there from my friend Christina's journal.
Just wondering about you.
Take care.