I love Starbucks.
No, not their coffee. Their coffee is sub-par at best.
Rather, it is the environment of Starbucks that I love.
In the last two months, I have lost count how many times I have stayed at Starbucks till closing because of homework. All I know is that I only need 100 more stars before achieving Gold Status and earning free stuff and the baristas are starting to recognize me.
If I lived closer to downtown, I would definitely pick a hipster coffee shop and become a regular. But unfortunately I live in the suburbs and this is the only place that stays open till 10pm (sometimes on Saturdays, it even stays open till 11pm! That’s pretty hardcore for Denver Suburbs).
Although I’m supposed to be here to study, I also get to people watch. I have a spot, in the corner of the shop, that looks out over the store floor. I love to watch the uniquely diverse demographics that spread across the rather large Starbucks.
Watching the baristas interact with each other and customers is always entertaining. Then there are the nurses who sit in a back corner. They joke around a lot, sometimes about really morbid things.
There are the businessmen and women who are hustling hard, and for some reason conduct meetings at 9:30pm. There are the middle-aged women and the teenage girls who sit on the couches near the fireplace with their best friends, always discussing some sort of drama in their lives.
And of course, one must never forget us students who sit on our laptops with giant headphones hoping no one sees us scrolling through Instagram instead of working.
It’s fun to hear the sarcastic banter of the baristas and the laughter of the nurses while the businessmen and women loudly debate their ideas. I enjoy overhearing the personal stories and drama of the women and teenagers by the fireplace. Hearing the frustrated sighs and grunts of students makes me laugh and reminds me that I’m not the only one.
Watching people living their lives is encouraging. Our world is so messed up. Every day we hear story after story of sex scandals, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and other disasters. The news is a depressing reminder that our world is not always a safe place.
But the bustling activity at Starbucks, even in the late evening, shows the resilience and hope of humanity. Each customer in this store has their own story of heartache and pain. None of them can escape the unfortunate reality of recent happenings in our country. Yet, they all continue to wake up every day and leave their houses without fear of the future.
That resilience and hope has brought us here. To Starbucks. None of us know each other. We are all strangers. But for this brief moment in time, our paths have crossed. We are connected by our want of coffee. We are connected by of our humanity. And that, I find beautiful.