Did my first coffee come with a biscuit? Yes. Yes it did.
I feel much shame.
I feel much shame.
Just Ripe (pictured above) was a nice breakfast stop, not too far from our hotel, and minimally stocked with gluten free crackers and $9 chocolate bars and locally grown radishes that you KNOW you only buy so that people will see them in your bag as you walk out of the store (don't you lie to me). For some reason, though, I couldn't keep myself there for very long. Maybe it was it's grocery-store atmosphere, or its sparse seating area, or maybe it was because the baristas were actually relatively pleasant. I had to get somewhere hip. Somewhere cool. Somewhere where the servers treated you like shit.
Mmm! The delicious taste of verbal abuse!
Old City Java was ready to offer me that thin, scratchy blanket of ambivalence and disdain, that we all cherish in our hipster coffee joints. Getting to this place from the main section of downtown was like crossing the train tracks into a scary shantytown. Suddenly, the streets (which had turned to cobblestone - why?) were deserted. OCJ had been recommended to me, and I was determined to find it, but I worried that I might have to invest in a burning garbage can to get me through the night. Then, like the sun rising over the mountains (am I overselling it? Maybe a little), the oasis appeared, replete with the privileged and put-upon youth and their brave and bold fashion ideas.
Coffee shops throughout history have acted as halfway houses for the bored and painfully cool.
Am I going too far with the jabs at hipsters? I think maybe we all are. They're an easy target, and it's very acceptable to hate on them as a group. But what's to hate, really? They're creative in their garmenture, and arbiters of artistic tastes. Yes, frequently they are unpleasant, and can be mistaken for transients, but maybe we, their mocking public, are responsible for that in a way. I can hear them crying "If you don't want us to act like assholes, stop treating us like assholes!" Something worthy to think of for everyone you meet.
Maybe this is an opportunity to re-examine how we treat each other. We don't rag on the suit-and-tie set you see rushing in to Starbucks, hassling the barista and tipping the .03 cents change they got back - well, I don't rag on them out loud. I do have recurring dreams about ripping their heads off their necks and bathing in their still-warm blood. But why, then, should we feel so free to mock our tattooed, under-bathed, and raccoon-tailed (I saw two people at two separate times in Knoxville wearing a raccoon's tail on their person. That... that has left an impression on me) brethren? Because it's easy? Because it's a popular opinion? Fuck that. It's not that tough to be nice to people, and I'll be the first to admit I've wanted to shave half my head for a long time. And if I ever did have the nerve to do it, I'd want to be utterly nonchalant about it, too.
My last question, and then I swear I'll let you go. Is creating foam art, like, the easiest thing in the world?
I KNOW YOU DON'T REALLY LOVE ME, ASSHOLE!
Maybe this one's not really "art", but I like to pretend it had intention.
I was a barista for three years, and I never mastered the craft of 'latte art'. And I thought there were competitions and stuff for this. So why is it that every college drop out who lives with their mother and works at the coffee shop can carve me a leaf or a heart or a... strange tribal thing... in my latte? Should I respect the artisan, or is it equivalent to pouring your cup of ramen into a bowl and claiming you "cooked dinner"? I ask you, internet, this question - sincerely curious - is this like painting, something that takes patience and skill, or like whistling, that some people can do and others are just fucked for life and can not do?