Saturday, March 29, 2008
#4 Coffee Shops
College kids love coffee, not only that, they NEED coffee to survive. Most can’t function in class without their daily drip and don’t mind being late in order to get their fix. Unless they invest in their own coffee maker or espresso machine (very unlikely), college students go to coffee shops. Though many people aside from college students like coffee shops, for many college students they become part of their daily routine. I’m not sure if it’s the aroma from roasted espresso beans, stimulating conversations, or simply just an excuse get tweaked on caffeine and do homework; but the local coffee shop is often the college student’s home away from dorm.
One might assume that all coffee shops serve the same purpose, but they’re wrong. College students are very picky when it comes to the coffee shops they frequent. Some might even be a regular at several different ones depending on the particular situation.
There are the quiet Starbucksesque establishments purely for students to study at while sipping their double-nonfat-half-caff-caramel-vanilla-latte with whip. Norah Jones (or other such mellow folksinger) is typically playing softly in the background while absolutely NO conversation is going on. If two middle-aged ladies suddenly come in for their weekly chit chat they are immediately given the stink-eye-glare by every table and forced to leave due to the awkwardness.
Then there are the funky and lively art coffee houses where no studying whatsoever can ever take place. You would be too distracted by the newest crop of Jack Keroacs next to you having pseudo-intellectual conversations as well as loud, sometimes abrasive, music playing while someone is hovering over you trying to hang a painting. On a Friday night you might find a slam poetry session, eight chess games, and possibly a drug overdose occurring simultaneously. Don’t ever think to come study here, the regulars will give you the nasty “Why don’t you go back to Starbucks? You’re sucking up all the cool!” look.
Somewhere in the middle are the casual “meet up after yoga” or maybe before a frizbee game “coffee shops.” I used quotations because most of the clientele will be drinking some sort of tea, mate, smoothies, or some other non-caffinated drink concoction while spouting “Caffeine’s a drug, man…” and then rolling another joint. Often a meeting place for grassroots organizations such as “Legalize It,” “Save Our Open Spaces,” and “Take Back the Whitehouse!” These are nice places for those usually ridiculed by the Greeks on campus to find a sense of community. Also great places to score herb.