Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Starbuck’s; A Sociologist’s Wet Dream


I'm sitting in Starbuck's trying to kill two hours. I will be doing this every day for the next four weeks. Why?, you may ask. I asked myself the very same question. Because it seems patently ridiculous to me, this shameless waste of two hours. And yet, shameless though it may be, it seems the only logical thing to do.

Diminutive One, you see, has to be in summer school, having failed to pass Math this past year. Frankly, given what he's had to face over the course of the year, I'm amazed he managed to pass anything. If you don't yet have children in Middle School, let me just warn you…it's BRUTAL. It's brutal for the most confident and socially adroit child. For a kid like Diminutive One, it has been nothing short of agony.

But I digress.

Due to budget cuts, only two schools in the entire county are offering a summer session this year. The closest one is a forty minute drive from our house. The class is only two hours. That means it makes very little sense for me to go back home, since I would only have to turn right around and go back, especially considering the cost of gas these days, and our extremely tight budget.

So here I sit, sipping four dollar coffee and watching people. I've always enjoyed people watching, but I find that Starbuck's provides a particularly diverse sampling of humanity. There are business men and women, college students, post-workout suburbanites, Moms with strollers, and a select few that defy classification.

Some are respectful and polite; conscious that the real estate herein is precious public domain. They take up as little room as possible, keep their voices low when speaking on the phone and try not to seem interested in the conversations taking place mere inches from them. They keep their belongings in a small neat pile directly in front of them, shifting and reshifting to avoid spreading beyond the borders of their carefully staked out personal space. They apologize if they happen to make contact with another person, abashed and contrite at having invaded somebody else's domain; accidental thought it was.

Others seem to believe they are at home in their personal office space. They spread out; papers, laptop, phone, food and beverage covering their own space and that immediately surrounding. They are unapologetic about this and sit with defiant posture, challenging anyone to protest. They speak loudly into their phones, perhaps believing that their unavoidably overheard conversation makes them seem important, productive and relevant. Do they really not realize that it only makes them seem boorish and self-important? Apparently not. Other patrons look at them with disgust, but nobody asks these people to keep it down or take it outside. Obviously, the spreader and the loud talker are both familiar fixtures at Starbuck's and are tolerated, if not entirely appreciated.

I like to look at how people have groomed themselves. Some are artfully disheveled; affecting a bohemian look that suggests they are above such trivial things as personal appearance. Others are merely disheveled; suggesting that they don't have the luxury of choosing any kind of affectation at all. They are what they are. Some are smartly appointed; the women in casual but trendy attire with matching jewelry, the men in business suits, natty ties and shiny shoes.

Some are wearing workout out gear, though clearly, they have not worked out. They are elaborately coiffed and their outfits are too carefully coordinated with shoes and jewelry, suggesting that the destination this morning was the nail salon rather than the gym. But there are those who look as if they really have worked out. They are sweaty and slightly bedraggled and dab at themselves self-consciously. I like these people and feel a connection with them, even if some of them could benefit from a better sports bra or any kind of underpants at all. They've worked hard and I can appreciate that. I secretly disdain the non exercising people clad in exercise wear. Not because they haven't exercised, but because It seems so disingenuous. I wouldn't walk around wearing scrubs, now would I?

Then there are the hoverers. They sit and wait with quiet but determined patience for someone to abandon a seat they have clearly deemed their own. They do not care that they are making those in occupation sip their four dollar coffee more hurriedly than they would have liked, guilty without knowing why and wanting only to be away from the scrutiny they understand, but can't relate to. Clearly, they don't understand the unspoken rules of Starbuck's occupation protocol.

At this very moment there is a gentleman eyeing me with a confrontational gleam in his eye. I am obviously in his spot and have been here far too long for his liking. Well, I have to pee anyway, so I will vacate and let him claim his little corner of Starbuck's for however long it takes him to do his business.

I'm betting he is a spreader AND a loud talker…wouldn't you agree?

5 Comments:

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger Just Words On A Page said…

    I hope you keep your ass parked there until you have to leave to pick up your child:) and make sure you sip happily and slowly:)

     
  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    That's weird--people at my Starbucks are pretty relaxed, or as my daughter says, chill. It's probably because we have one on every corner in WA. ;) I noticed that in NYC, the Starbucks Ashley and I went to were crazy stressful for seating and behavior.

     
  • At 1:34 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Have you ever noticed all the pics on my FB page that have John and I "brooding" in a coffeehouse? We take great delight in looking at all the people, guessing their scenarios, making up conversations for them, and guessing at what they might be working on so intently on their laptops.

    I loved this blog post. It's awesome.

    ...And doesn't it feel good to be wearing exercise clothes because you *are a regular exerciser*? I *love* that feeling. :)

     
  • At 6:09 AM, Blogger merinz said…

    People watching is a fascinating pastime!

    I have done it is public squares all over the world. Some places more memorable than others.

    A square in the middle of Khatmandu was one such place. There I realise that people tend to display the similar characteristics no matter what language they speak, culture they live in, country they inhabit!

     
  • At 7:51 AM, OpenID tinman18 said…

    I agree with the first comment - I hope you're still sitting there now.

    (I'm here by the way because I saw your Blog on someone's blogroll and reckoned it's the best Blog Title ever. I've read the last six or seven posts, and I'll be back.)

     

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