January 31, 2011

Starbucks Is For Beautiful People

(Originally published in my Multiply blog last November 10, 2009, 8:36 pm Philippine time)

Even in the heart of Malate, one is not spared from the tyranny of the Law of Starbucks Hyperproximity. (Of course, the recession may have diminished this somewhat.)

The Starbucks Empire by way of M.C. Escher

Today Nads, Xiom and I were at it yet again. After the indispensable bite to eat at Nads' favoritest place (Migui's), we decided to take to a Starbucks since Xiom was craving a peppermint mocha... coffee... beverage... thing. (I'm not a coffee person.)

Sometime during the longish walk from the eatery across from school to the Starbucks across from that other school (you know, that major university with the huge white buildings along Taft Avenue?), I noticed that we could have just spared ourselves a whole load of trouble if instead of rounding an entire block, we could've just crossed the street to an even closer Starbucks branch.

Eh, exercise is exercise.

Starbucks by way of generic stock photo
The people who came before us left behind these discarded table napkins (and mind you, those Starbucks tissues could outdo even the Yellow Pages in overall classiness) plastered with oodles of doodles. These were either Fine Arts people or failed Fine Arts people now working in the Advertising field. (Low blow? Sorry.)

Funny coincidence: This was not the first time I've seen doodles on a Starbucks tissue. (Not-so-funny not-quite-a-coincidence: My sister and/or an unspecified number of her kabarkadas were implicated in my first sighting of such.)

Thus was born Dom's Theory Of Ostentation In Praxis In The Medium Of The Coffee Shop Table Napkin. The gist of it is that people in Starbucks are practically required to doodle on those things to actively demonstrate their presence in the coffee shop as being equivalent to the validation of their value as hip, paying customers in this branch of a world-renowned, comically overpriced edible-goods and services franchise paradoxically situated in the urban capital of some Third-World country on the edge of nowhere. However while the "haves" would gladly leave behind their bespoiled tissues to furthur flaunt their influence even while absent from the shop itself, the "have-nots" will take home their doodles as keepsakes of their brief albeit sossy sojourn in the Land of Milk and Imported Coffee.

I'm sure Nads and Xiom can come up with some on-the-fly hegemonic rationale for all of this in true Lit-student fashion.

Garden-variety Starbucks table napkin doodles

A comparison shot: Their doodles vs. Our doodles
Naturally of course, we had to get in on the doodling action as well. If there's one thing we scholars inevitably are, it's either victims of our own meandering, over-analytical hypotheses... or garden-variety damn dirty hypocrites.

Our silly posturing at that café was not a completely wasted affair though. In between bonding over jackets (both pretty and unwashed) and grotty glamour magazines and the usual female-type chatter, surprisingly I had a very productive moment for poetry in that couch. Maybe the classy atmosphere was more conducive for creative output. Or maybe it was the money and Barako fumes affecting my brain.

Anyway, here is the world debut of my hipster-induced, decaffeinated opus of post-modern proportions:

An Ode To Peppermint Mocha

I'm minty fresh
and wide awake.
"Christmas in a cup,"
as Andrew Paxton once said.

We all partook of
the peppermint brownie,
which turns to rock
candy in a matter of
days hours nanoseconds.

She craves peppermint sprinkles.

Miles away, in the next isle,
he craves her.

Christmas ending in a blink.
Next year, I'm ordering a
raspberry cappuccino.

Know Your Starbucks, blog advisory

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