Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Traveller's Haven


After a very uncomfortable trip which left me
feeling very uncomfortable, I found myself in
Pittsburgh hours early for my appointment.  It
turns out the meeting is taking place in a part of
town with no restaurants, no coffee shops, just
auto glass repair places and poor fellows wandering
the grey-day street with no place to be.

I guess I was one of them.  I headed toward Oakland.
All through the walk, my bag got heavier and heavier.
Nature made her demands, gradually more insistently,
but I was SOL until I hit Oakland and saw Starbucks.

People complain about Starbucks, but where else
in any American city can you be sure of a clean rest
room, a place to sit for several hours, inexpensive  food 
and a decent cup of coffee, not to mention WI FI.

Starbucks is also one of the most democratic institutions
in the country.  People can sit without buying, and I'd
be hard pressed to name any other institution where
the races and classes voluntarily mix so easily or so much.
I should also mention the generations, because the young
use it as a study hall but put up graciously with the old
who know coffee is really about conviviality.

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