July 10th, 2016

Flavored Calories.

My coffee shop experience needed work

Four years in the 1990s spent at college in Eugene and I probably never went into a coffee shop.

I feel like I missed something.

I didn't drink coffee then (not until 2001, working fluctuating hours at a call center job), so that's one reason. I'd started drinking tea, but I was getting it from the U of O cafeteria because hey, we'd already paid for it. That's another reason. But come on, I was living finally in the Pacific Northwest, one of the American epicenters of coffee house culture; I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD HAVE GONE INTO ONE. Or even some. (This was early in Starbucks' expansion; I don't think Eugene had a Starbucks at the time*.) (EDIT! Eugene did have at least one Starbucks, but well away from campus.) I mean, baked goods at least. Convivial atmosphere (you hope), as well. Artists being artistic (again, you hope).

Why did I resist? This persisted for years, until I moved to Portland in 2001. I remember visiting Boston in 1998, and while wandering the streets, I peeked into a coffee shop and saw a woman reading poetry. Open mic! I probably would have enjoyed it! But I didn't go in. Was I on my way somewhere? Could that have waited?

Probably my image of coffee shops I never visited is romanticized, but it's nice to imagine they were nice.

* And Friends hadn't started yet. Wait: did Living Single (1993-98) have a coffee shop?