Sunday, March 01, 2015

Cafe Morning Groups

I used to go to one Starbucks cafe most of the time. In one corner, sitting in a cluster of upholstered chairs and a couch, is a loud group talking politics, and certainly not my politics. So I chose to sit in the back of the cafe diagonally opposite from them. They would talk loudly about the hot political topics of the day, and I would type on my keyboard ignoring them.

This arrangement continued for a long time. Years passed by. But somewhere along the line they got the idea to possibly invite me to join their group. All of a sudden, they would say Hi! to me as I walked in the door. None of them had ever done that before. I could see what was in the offing. An overture for me to join their conversations. I imagined the disappointment on their faces when they found out I’m not composing epic poetry in honor of Obama.

But I had two problems with joining them. One, I'm in there to write. And two, having already heard their unanimous political orientation ad nauseum, I had no interest in any offer like that. It was an invitation for me to explain my own political viewpoint and thereby reveal myself as a political enemy to them. Seeing that this would in no wise enhance my ability to write in that cafe without interruption while avoiding potential contretemps, I simply stopped going there.

As for political discussion, especially in DC, there is no such thing as convincing someone to change his views through logic, debate and argument. There is only stating cherry-picked facts supportive of your position while ignoring inconvenient truths that contradict whatever you believe. The political beliefs I people I see professing them are based on emotion, and little else.

Morning groups in my cafes are often composed of older people who like to gather together daily and talk about whatever is on their minds. These people read the newspaper. The print newspaper, I mean. They seem to be just friends and not co-workers. Another group I see is a bunch of teachers who gather together and plot out their plan of action for the school day.

I consider all such groups a danger, whether I like what they say or not. I’m in there to write, not to emit meaningless vocal vibrations that dissipate into nothingness in the space-time of a second. Conversation has no permanence, unlike the written word. 

Hardly anyone ever asks what I’m writing. They are more curious about my bluetooth keyboard, and where did I get it and how does it work with my phone.

Some groups appear one time only, and I never see them again. They are business pals, and they talk business. They apparently are not the sort of businessmen who have offices in the countless office buildings nearby. Their office is the lounge area at the local Starbucks.

I've sat next to countless business interviews at the tables next to me at Starbucks. No, it’s not Starbucks interviewing a potential barista. These people are customers only. I ask myself if I would ever work for someone who insisted on conducting our job interview at Starbucks.

And the applicants aren't kids. These are professional jobs they discourse. It’s all on the up-and-up. Don’t think it's a serial killer stalking his prey.

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