Today, I’m grateful for Starbucks.
Before you dismiss this post and scroll past or close the window, hear me out. Beyond a delicious cup of coffee (or tea), Starbucks is, to me, a retreat. Really, I’m grateful for any coffee shop that provides for me a spot to work, to gather with a friend (or two), or a quiet place to read and relax.
My first year of college, my roommate slept in on Saturdays. Way, way in. In order to get work done without worrying about waking her, I would pack up my homework, slip to the campus coffee shop, and work until lunch. Campus centers tend to be quiet early on Saturday mornings, so I had the place to myself, most of the time. I sipped my cocoa (I didn’t like coffee yet) and tackled reading or writing or…well, facebooking. The coffee shop became my go-to homework spot; I was distracted in my dorm room, which sounds confusing, but it was true. My room was too quiet to concentrate. Just accept it! One Sunday, I spent twelve hours at a single table working on my novel draft. It was torturous, but I wouldn’t have lasted that long anywhere else.
Now that I’m back home, I miss that coffee shop and the best coffee anywhere, but the Starbucks five minutes from my house is an okay second. I have my favorite tables (until they “remodel” again and again). I am a table-hopper who tries to act casual while hoping to stare down the occupants of my favorite table: the one with access to an outlet and away from the door’s drafts. I see other regulars when I visit. The college student who always sits with his books spread before him and earbuds pressed in his ears. The elderly man who brings his Bible, a workbook, and his travel mug to be filled and refilled. I am comfortable in this environment. I write and revise novel drafts. I tutor students. I read. I do some Bible reading and journal. I people watch.
On many of my coffee-shop visits, I meet up with a friend, whether by plan or not. I don’t know what it is about a coffee shop’s atmosphere that fosters conversation and fellowships, but I’m thankful for it. Somehow, even in that public place, we seem to feel free to share and chat and laugh and grow in friendship. (Where did people go before coffee shops? This is an honest question, actually. In my generation, it’s so natural to say, “Let’s do coffee.” What was the go-to meet up spot before coffee shops were such a thing? Lunch?)
Starbucks is my go-to spot for coffee, fellowship, and distraction-free work environment. And coffee.
Or did I mention that before?