Sunday, April 23, 2006

Coffee, Fair Trade for a Social Life

I just returned from my third trip out of the house to get coffee. Why would anyone spend six bucks a day for coffee when financial experts say to save the money for retirement? Because I am retired, and that's how I choose to spend my retirement money instead of flushing it into a convertible or a yacht.
I'd rather flush it into the toilet, in other words.
What does coffee do for me? It keeps me awake. It counteracts wine. Mainly, it keeps me in the world. Even if I go to Starbucks, I'm in the world, albeit a chirpy corporate corner of the world that always asks if I want a pastry with that.
Make fun of Starbucks and other foamy-Joe emporia all you want, but the main reason people go there isn't for the caffeine but for the warm feeling of loneliness in company. I'll have a grande Alienationocchino, please.
Folks exit their armored SUVs, their mole-whacked cubicles and their neutron-bombed gated communities to drink weak and yet somehow overroasted coffee for the purpose of huddling together, watching each other and listening to halves of cell phone conversations. It beats being totally alone. And sometimes one sees neighbors and friends one doesn't normally see across the toxin-drenched lawns and outside the pasteboard of the cubicles.
It's even possible to make new friends, coffeehouse friends, the kind of people who make good conversation without the obligation of learning names or trading business cards. Even at Starbucks (which best be avoided even though it's unavoidable) it's safe to bitch about George Bush with strangers, because the strange Bushers are working themselves into a red state in the donut shop across the street.
Give me a cup of fair-trade tooth-stain, and instead of the transfat pastry I'll take the casual friendship, the easy people-watching and the total buzzy alertness. It's a bargain at 30 bucks a week.


Blogger Dagny said...

Hmmm. There's a thought. Actually going into the Starbuck's. The Starbuck's in Pinole has drive-through so I have been missing that feeling you described.

10:18 AM  
Blogger cranky said...

You like walking, I understand. Can you walk through the drive-though? With the price of gas, maybe everybody will.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Dagny said...

They get really nasty if you try to walk through a drive-through. (I have tried.)

I also watch too much comedy. Cedric the Entertainer had a bit in his act recently about riding his razor scooter in the diamond lane due to the high cost of gas.

2:00 PM  
Blogger cranky said...

Sometimes I go through the drive-through ATM on my bike. The drivers behind me don't like it. But as least I'm not idling exhaust into their faces.

2:10 PM  

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