The other day I stopped at a Starbucks for coffee while my husband was having his hair cut. This Starbucks is situated in what could be construed as a Blue Collar area adjacent to my neighborhood. (I have PCitis- political correctness issues- and it pains me to make judgments like that one) I’d brought my ipad with me in my everlasting quest of avoiding boredom. This January day was absolutely beautiful- 76 degrees, dry, sunny and breezy so, juggling my cappuccino, mini-whoopie pie, ipad and napkins I commandeered an outside table (one intended for 4, but, as my kids say, I take up a lot of space). As I happily navigated my Brushes app (Photoshop for the ipad) I couldn’ help but overhear an older gentleman talking with a young woman and man. The kids looked as though they were barely out of high school. The older man was exceedingly solicitous of these kids (both the girl and boy), so much so I began to worry. He offered to buy them coffee drinks (my first thought was, do we now have to urge our adult children to stay away from people offering coffee as opposed to the candy we warned them about when they were tots?)
The kids seemed more than willing to engage in conversation with this man who was, by the way, an insufferable bore and know-it-all. “Do you know who Elvis was?” “What have you heard about JFK?” were a couple of the questions posed. “I’ve been broke more times than you’ll ever know” was a statement tossed into their “conversation”. I really did not want to eavesdrop but my 58 year old Mom self felt a responsibility to protect these kids if the need arose. The tid bits I overheard, however, (volume was not his issue) soon made me to know (like Santa) I had nothing to fear. I think these three coffee aficionados may just be part of the Starbucks customer culture. Probably the “regulars”, those who buy coffee products and linger, get to know each other. A kind of coffee community. Communities are an essential part of human kind. Coffee communities, like Starbucks and others, afford people a safe haven in which to form connections, a way to be a little less lonely in this world perhaps.