I have a love hate relationship when it comes to coffee shops. For the past decade or so I have found myself at a coffee shop at least once a week.I get this figure from an average. There has been years when I was at a coffee shop everyday(like this year) and years when I was barely ever inside of one(2006-2009). I really don’t understand why that is. I am not a big coffee fan and honestly when I drink coffee I usually get a sour stomach. Truth be told, I hate coffee shops. I am not a fan of coffee, they have a limited type of food, they are noisy, full of people that I don’t care for and my clothes end up smelling coffee. However at the same time, I am not sure what I would do without the invention of the modern coffee shop.
My love for the coffee shop is that it is a social place for my friends and I too meet. Let’s start back in 2004. Up until then I would just hang out at coffee shops for a cool drink and maybe people watch. I was not much of a social butterfly during that time. 2001-2003, my coffee shops hang out involved a novel and checking out what ever female happen to catch my eye. It was not until 2004 that coffee shops became a place where I would hang out and talk with friends for hours.
One of the best coffee shops or cafes’ that I would hang out at in 2004 is at the Borders Books on Post street at Union Square. This place was great, it was large. It was bigger then a lot of the Starbucks that are in the area, it had plenty of tables and since it was inside Borders it had some great access to books and magazines. My friends and I would hang out there and read books, or talk, or help each other study for hours on end. We would order the smallest cup of coffee or tea and for 1.79 we would get to hang out there for hours and not spend a dime on any of the products. I think back about these memories and it’s no wonder that Borders Books and Café is out of business.
In 2004, I had two eras of “kicking it at coffee shops”. The first era was before November of 2004 and it was from March-October of 2004. You might think that I am a weirdo for remembering such dates, but I have a powerful memory, so fuck off. Anyway, during that period, it was a social event.
At that time, I was hanging out with a lot of foreigners. I mean I was part of a crew. I was so ingrained in this crew that whenever anything, and I mean anything was planned I was always included. That is some great power in my opinion. It was myself and 3 guys and 3 girls. A mighty big crew if I say so myself. For that spring and summer, we literally hung out just about everyday at the Border’s Café. It started with maybe about a half hour or so of homework and then it ended up with us just talking and gossiping. I loved those times, such fun filled days. After about a couple of hours we would leave and either go do something as a group, or we would break up into separate groups and meet up later.
The November 2004 to February of 2005 era was all about studying interlaced with really deep talks and flirting. It was during this time that I fell madly in love with this Korean girl, whom was brilliant, cute and shapely*. I have mentioned her before, she was the one that I confessed my love too, when I was in Seoul. She and I would study at Borders from the time she got out of class(5pm) until Borders closed and that was at 11pm on weekdays and if we were there on weekends, then we would be there until 12am. It was fun chatting with her, debating with her(she was a stubborn one), and just getting closer and closer.
In January of 2005 I was in Seoul, South Korea and I was still hanging out with the same girl. Weekend nights, I usually was with my big crew cruising the Kang Nam district of Seoul, and just about everyday I would hang out with my friend at different coffee shops in Shin Chon, Seoul. This time it was rarely at Starbucks. I found that odd since Shin Chon had a five story Starbucks**. We would usually be at Dunking Doughnuts and she had her spot in the corner all set up and I would read while she studied or whatever and I thought that it was a fun time. She was the one who taught me, that just because you hang out at a coffee shop, you really don't have to buy anything. I loved that trick of the trade and you can see why I loved her.
In 2005, I actually worked at Border’s Café for about six months between my two trips to Seoul. I worked there to get extra money. The job wasn’t so bad. Rather easy and it was fun at times, although the pay sucked. It was during this time, I started my disdain for coffee shops.
Towards the end of 2005, during the time when I was chatting with that chubby Korean girl*** from my “Excuses” posts, was another time when I spent a lot of time at coffee shops, at Starbucks in the Fillmore now. Nothing special about it, just the same old things. Started getting tired of my clothes smelling like coffee, tired of the same tired drinks. Still the nookie is a powerful thing.
In 2006-2009 I didn’t spend much time in coffee shops. I would just buy drinks or food there for my grandmother or for the girl I was dating. We were not much into hanging out at those places, though we did usually get a little something on a weekly basis.
It was in late 2010 that I really got back into hanging out at coffee shops. I was fortunate enough to date someone who hated coffee as much as I did so I was spared the coffee shop hang outs for a bit. Since I decided to save money by cutting off my at home internet and so these days I visit a coffee shop of some sort everyday if not, every couple of days. I usually pick Starbucks, it is big enough for me to quietly walk in and just use my computer and not buy anything. It may seem scummy but I am not going to waste my money on some shitty food just so I could use their slow WIFI.
For the past year I have been using coffee shops and even Quickly’s for my internet surfing needs. I used to always buy a little something in order to use their WIFI but that shit adds up, so I pick a popular Starbucks I use that is busy enough for them not to notice. I usually meet up with my buddy and we have our laptops and we just chit chat and surf the web. Good times.
I know a lot of this entry has been mostly about the good times I have had at coffee shops, but if you noticed it is because I am hanging out with people that make me happy. I am not praising the delicious coffee or the atmosphere or even the WIFI of the place. I have no choice but to use coffee shops for my computer needs. My biggest gripe is the smell. I am very smell sensitive and I cannot stand it when my clothes smell like old coffee beans. Another thing I really hate about coffee shops are outlet hogs. I don't mind folks using an outlet, but fuck don't fucking use all of them. Sometimes I see folks with their lap tops plugged in and their phones charging and their is no room left. Pisses me off to no end. I wish Starbucks would just get power strips for their cafes. Tape them to a fucking wall or something. See easy solution right?
I guess I do enjoy coffee shops, but only for the good times that I have had in them. It comes down to the people. When I am alone at a coffee shop I am not a big fan of the places. When I said I do not pay at Starbucks, I meant it. However if I am at a mom and pop coffee shop I always buy something. The mom and pop places usually have the best WIFI in them, however the mom and pop shops are often times filled with hipsters and douche bags. That is another article for another day.
*The girl in question was the same girl who told me the story about Green Shaved Ice. If interested it is under May 1st and it is called “HANGOVER SUNDAY: GREEN SHAVED ICE”. Click Me!
**Sin Chon had the big five story Starbucks. The neat thing was that each floor had their counter with a register and baristas. Basically five Starbucks in one and the place was always jam packed. In Wang San Mi the district my friend was from, they had a McDonald's that was 3 stories tall and each floor had a full kitchen. The cool thing about McDonald's in Korea is that when you order a value meal, they actually deliver it to your table. That rocks.
***The Korean girl from the “EXCUSES” entry, had an interesting favorite drink. She would always order a mocha frappaccino with two pumps of peppermint. I remember when we would talk and she would speak close to me she would breath out and it smelled like mint with a tiny and I mean tiny hint of coffee. It was unbelievably sexy. The only time coffee breath smelled nice. I believe this is why she ordered it.