These Beans

On Sunday afternoon, with every intent to enjoy a warm beverage and brew up some good raw poem material, I did a search on the Internet for coffee shops in my area. Yes, I know where at least three Starbucks are located, but I was in the mood for something more like Jitterzz, Brewed Awakenings or Rochambo. Something more like a neighborhood hole in the wall and less like a corporate strip-mall cafe chain. I ended up at Starbucks. Next to the Giant.

I got a comfortable chair, and I was able to read and write with only mild distractions. And whether it’s Starbucks or anywhere, there will always be those goth/nerdy teenagers sipping their exotic caffeinated concoctions and talking about books, friends, life, the universe and everything. I often sat in cafes with my own nerdy friends analyzing various things in our lives and outside them. Except we went to quirkier places, cafes with more corners and nooks, with worn out books on a low shelf by the window, with multicolored walls and quotations marching boldly in black script near the ceiling. I miss those places because every Starbucks looks the same. And the tables are shoved close together. And the baristas make you talk Fritalian. There’s just something missing, something that makes it hard to relax completely in a Starbucks.

Here in the ‘burbs, I don’t mind having to go to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples and Lowes–I like those stores well enough, and I actually prefer Starbucks coffee to a lot of other brews–but it might be nice, sometimes, to have a choice without having to drive forty minutes or take public transportation for an hour to get into the city, into DC, where there are cafes called “Busboys and Poets,” “Jolt ‘N’ Bolt” and “Tryst.”

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