Sunday, November 19, 2006

Serve In Heaven, Or Rule In Starbucks?

As a cabbie, I generally tend to stay away from downtown San Francisco, and lurk in the residential areas, combing the hills, and pleasantly taking in the Victorians. Why do I have such an aversion to being downtown? Let's see now, could it be the crackhead zombies who brazenly walk out into the middle of Market Street in front of you as you're plowing along at 40 mph, trying to get to that airport-bound fare with the suitcase up the block before another cabbie can get to him, causing you to slam on your brakes, skid on the trolley tracks, and wind up stuck behind a bus? Is it the SUV drivers that cut you off, then cruise at 5 mph in front of you while looking for a non-existent parking space? Or, is it the smugness of all the yuppie pod people swishing to and fro on a mecca to Macy's, or on their way home to smarmy, over-priced condos that look like dentist's offices?

Actually, it's all of the above and more, but the worst, most heinous thing about downtown is that ubiquitous green logo. I look left, I see Starbucks. I look right, I see Starbucks. I look ahead, I see Starbucks. I look back... I shudder to think of it. Like in some existentialist nightmare, that evil talisman seems to chase after me with nothing but malevolence. These Kafkaesque coffee shops confront you at every turn. You can run from Starbucks, but you'll only be running TO Starbucks. Old-world news stands, mom-and-pop cafes, independent bookstores, barbershops, candy stores, and cafeterias have gone by the wayside, replaced by the chain that sells The Most Expensive Coffee In The World.

It's easy to see why this happened- the yuppies don't like choices. They eschew variety, and want their thinking done for them. They've bought in to the kind of corporate communism that John D. Rockefeller once envisioned when he said that the individual is gone, never to return. And, since Starbucks is piping in Bob Dylan, they can bask in faux hipness while sucking down that $3.50 caramel chocolate cinnamon double-expresso burnt coffee grande with crack sprinkles when they're on break from Satan's little workshop.

How far does one have to go to get away from this monstrosity? Are the mountains of the moon too far away? When does the next rocket leave? I'm on it. Not everyone suffers the foolishness of Starbucks gladly in their town, though, but what can anyone do about it? If you destroy one, three more pop up in it's place. We can only dream. Perhaps a designer virus that spreads exclusively in Starbucks could be developed, or de-programming subliminals could be placed strategically throughout the city. Hey, I'm just trying to think outside the box here, don't look at me like that. After all, Rome did eventually fall, so there's hope for us yet.

For now, I'll just have to deal the best I can. I'm a moving target, so at least I have that in my favor. To kill the vision, though, a pair of green-tinted sunglasses may be in order. One day, a tourist from Akron, Ohio will ask me where Starbucks is. I'm going to say, that's easy...it's across the street from Starbucks.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget that for every $3 overpriced cafe that you drink at starbuck less than 3 pennies goes to the poor coffee grower in Ethiopia who lives under a $1

5:02 AM  
Blogger John said...

We now have 3 Starbucks coffee houses here,in Dublin. I suppose they will start to breed..like McDonalds, Burger King and wire coat hangers.

8:36 AM  
Blogger G.S. said...

Here in NYC they're putting Starbucks inside of other commercial spaces, like supermarkets and office buildings. Don't be surprised if someday you'll start seeing Starbucks inside of Starbucks!

2:00 AM  
Blogger Turner Mitteron said...

Thank "my imaginary friend in the sky" that I live in a small country town in Australia.
No McDonalds, KFC or Starbucks. We have 3 nice little cafes and 2 pubs just enough to get drunk at one night and to recover at the next day.
We know most of our passengers and they arn't game to "play up" on us as we are the only cabs in town and we ban em if they act like pricks.
I think I live in Shang-ri-la

11:36 PM  

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