Friday, June 17, 2011

Why I go to Starbuck's

What is it they say? My relationship with the aforementioned coffee house is purely physical.

Starbuck's is expensive. I waste $3.65 every time I walk into one. I walk into a Starbucks almost every day. When I don't actually go to Starbuck's, I can get any style Starbuck's Frappucino (trade-marked) I want. Its only $2.88 that way, and I still get all the carbs, calories and dehydration that comes with that twice-daily coffee. When I said I went into a Starbuck's every day, I didn't say how many times.

Why do I go to Starbuck's?

Quite honestly, I have no idea. What is attractive about an expensive, unhealthy drink? Other than the headaches I get from not getting a tall one in the morning and the sick feeling I had last week from three in one day, I can't think of anything. There is, however, one thing I find attractive about Starbuck's.

I love going to Starbuck's, or possibly a little coffee house called Aspen's Brew, because of the human contact that I am often so incredibly, terribly, starved for. My husband and I work disparate schedules. Sitting around our cozy apartment, with its all-too easily accessed Netflix and World of Warcraft, gets boring and lonely. I've often been known to go into work on my days off just to talk to my regular customers. I substituted making an idiot of myself last year for hitting the coffee shop to listen to people other than myself carry on conversation related to business (mostly medical or school related, considering how close I am to both UT San Antonio and San Antonio's Medical Center). Once I settle in to enjoy the great conflagration moving around me, I immediately tone it out. The idea behind getting out of the apartment is being able to work on whatever contract I'm working on, whatever story I might have or whatever picture I'm drawing without being distracted by all those mindless indulgences likely to consume my health and attention.

Once I can get my head clear, I can usually concentrate on whatever needs to be done. I do some of my best work at coffee shops. I've studied for extremely hard tests at a coffee shops. There's only one thing I can't do at coffee shops and that's pour over archaic texts--like the original Tristran and Isolde. That was about the only text I could not wrap my head around at a crowded coffee shop. Homer, Boccaccio, Chaucer (all of whom depending on the translation) and Shakespeare I've read so many times there isn't much that can distract me easily. There is the potential for  me to be completely absorbed when I'm drawing. I started drawing the first few cells of a comic (which, if things continue to hamper me, may never see the light of day) in charcoal and I spent more than nine hours combined at a Starbuck's in Barnes and Noble working on it. A testament to the fact that I should practice more is that I never even got to the complicated stuff before being forced to move onto to the all-important task of making ends meet.

If I used to subscribe to the popular school of thought among writers that only exposure at a coffee shop would truly land me that huge contract, I don't anymore. Last time I checked, nobody's looking and nobody cares. Quite frankly I like it that way. Besides, I draw enough attention to myself without looking like I need it. I never truly understood the drive for people to be seen while writing. I've been writing my entire life. I'm not exactly impressed when I see someone else furtively glancing about them while they punch the keyboard and repeatedly glance at their phone even though no one is trying to call them.

(So, wow, the quality of that video really sucked). Truthfully I like the look of someone reading more than I like to see someone writing. Anyone can write (whether or not its decent is the question), but for someone these days to sit down with a book in front of them--or attend a book club in my presence--is more encouraging. It shows remarkable discipline, at least for me, and I don't feel so bad for spending several hours at a time nursing the same tall mocha Frappaccino while finish a long novel. There is that embarrassing time of day where I look up and realize I'm the only jack-ass customer still sitting there after closing time...

So that, readers, is why I still go to Starbuck's, though it is rather occasional now that I have to save my pennies while we look for a house in Austin. Unable to pursue my favorite hobbies, I have little reason to go to Starbuck's to escape the apartment that I've been trying to get back to for the last six weeks while my kitten is getting potty trained. Hopefully, when everything settles back down, my creative self will be back at the local coffee shop, getting my drink on and working my butt off on my next unique project. Until then, I have to work this Frappaccino-butt off. See you all at the gym!

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