richmond's worst

I wish I didn’t love Starbucks. I wish that I could hate them just based on the fact that they are a corporate cow. But, when that cow’s milk mixes with coffee and chocolate it tastes so damn good, I have to buy it. And I would buy everyday if every time I went there I wasn’t thinking that I could buy a whole freaking gallon of milk for the price of one tall latte. Corporate cow indeed.

This morning at Starbucks there were the usual suspects participating in the corporate mooing. There was the cute mother and daughter who got a double mocha for mom and a decaf frappochino for the girl. At least mom isn’t doping her daughter on stimulants just yet, but a Starbucks habit at the early age of 8 or 9 is a lethal thing to inherit. The boys or men who sit outside at the tables and use the newspaper as cover for their eyeing the coming patrons make me nervous. The beefcake guy who orders a soy latte because we all know he’s compensating for something he doesn’t have. Then there was the businessman sitting at a table with his laptop, brow furrowed, looking intently at the screen. I wondered if he was really doing work or just trying to look cool. And I wondered what his forehead will look in 5 years after all the furrowing. I wanted to walk over to him and tell him that whatever it was, it wasn’t worth the wrinkles. And I don’t know if you really get street cred for laptopping it in a Starbucks.

I’ve been trying to find a local coffee shop where I can go and read or write and I usually just end up at B and N, which makes me want to cry. A few days ago I went to a local place down the street. It was Sunday around 4pm. I ordered an iced latte, found a corner table near the window, pulled out a journal and starting scribbling. Even though laptop boy was sitting at the next table I felt like THAT girl. The girl who doesn’t know that taking your journal to a coffee shop went passé 2 years ago. I felt like a cliché, especially since it was the beginning of this journal. It looked like it was the first time I’d taken a journal to a coffee shop or even ever opened a journal. I decided I didn’t care since there were only 3 other people in the whole place. At 5 o’clock the place closed down and I then understood the lure of Starbucks and the corporate late hours.

I miss Seattle. I miss Seattle just for the fact that you can go to any coffee shop and sit and write or read for hours and no one looks at you because they are all doing the same thing. And the fact that Starbucks and Seattle’s Best reside alongside local coffeehouses excites me. I loved the choice of submitting to a corporate cow or going local without having to compromise for watered down lattes. My favorite days in Seattle were the days I picked a coffee shop, whichever one looked the grungiest and plopped down, book in hand, and read and drank. Does this make me a bad tourist or a great when in Rome girl? I don’t really care because it was fabulous to look out on a gloomy day, coffee and book in hand, and feel satisfied.

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