I am not a frequent Starbucks patron, but I had some time to kill before an appointment. I decided to stop and write my slice for today while I waited.
What I find fascinating about this place is not so much the sinful number of caffeine options offered. It’s also not the way the barista can remember ridiculously complex combinations of these said caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages. What I love the best about my Starbucks visit is the people-watching. Aside from the airport, I don’t often see such a variety of people and purposes. Of course, I only imagine the details and back stories of each group, but it is so interesting just taking it all in. Let me introduce you to a few of the bits of humanity I enjoy this late afternoon:
The group of high school boys- five of them to be exact- seated out on the patio. Shorts-clad and sporting baseball caps, none of them speak to teach other. In separate sections of the outdoor couch, each young man interfaces with his phone. There might be a random comment tossed into the crowd, but no conversation ensues. To them, it’s just enough to be together.
The older couple, enjoying water and an exotic green tea beverage. Their ease with each other reflects years of sharing time together. I witness their hands reach for each other under the table. I smile.
Two middle-aged men celebrating happy hour with a berry tea. Lots of gesticulating, lots of talking. Maybe they’re engaged in a business discussion? Regardless, their respect for each other is obvious by the way they interact, nodding, each waiting his turn to talk.
Of course there are young dating couples, some pretending to be together under the guise of studying. Laptops open, ear buds around the neck, sitting side-by side instead of across the table. Their conversations range from ones that elicit giggles to listing memorized science formulas
What would Starbucks be without us singletons- the man asleep on the overstuffed leather chair, the grey-haired professor talking to his computer, the leather-skinned man perusing the daily newspaper, me, the school teacher, getting some work done in the in-between, the senior citizen awaiting the “regulars” for his nightly greetings.
I know Starbucks often gets a bad rap: too commercialized, too expensive, just too much. But being a place where so many diverse populations feel comfortable to come and just be themselves, to take a breath from the rat race and enjoy a beverage- too cool!