Thursday 15 September 2011

Starbucks Profundity

I'm sitting in a Starbucks just across the road from Tottenham Court Road station, and was just hit by this pang of missing New York. This Starbucks reminds me so much of the one in Manhattan, somewhere between 66 St and Columbus Circle. There are probably twenty Starbucks between those seven streets, yet somehow I'm longing for a particular one.

The cynical thing is to say that all Starbucks are the same and whether you're in London, New York or Japan, Starbucks is Starbucks.

But the way it feels right at this moment is that I could be in New York. The feelings I'm feeling, that longing and comfort and excitement in my mind, it feels like New York, not London.

It seems accidental, and outside of my control. Sometimes I can be so stuck in one place, one idea, one feeling. But sometimes I'm able to be somewhere else in my mind completely.

Right now it's in Starbucks with Bry, somewhere just North of 59th St. He's as good as here. I'm as good as there. The mind is amazing like that, how we can be transported across borders and time. So much of creativity is getting out of your current condition and finding another feeling, another insight, another reality. If only it was as easy as it feels right now.

I've had this all my life. Little pieces of poignancy, where I'm picked up from nowhere and carted off into another world. The lady with the laptop who just looked at me thinks I'm sitting in front of her when really I'm a thousand miles away. I want to step out of the door and take a walk in Central Park. Maybe I will. Whether it's for real or in my imagination, what's the difference?

Care to share?


  1. I'm the same way. There's a particular Starbucks near Rush and Division in Chicago that I simply adore, and a Seattle's Best (also owned by SB) on Wabash with a big picture window and a welcoming fireplace where I love to people watch in the wintertime! Some places just grab you by the senses and never let go.

  2. How do you do this, man? So unbelievably true. They really are all different, in shape and personality. The Starbucks on Michigan Ave where I fell in love with the barista. The Starbucks on W 47th in Manhattan where I killed an hour before I saw Billy Crudup on Broadway. Ah, memories.

  3. How do I do what? You mean transport through space and time? :P

  4. Starbucks was my haven when I lived in England. It was the only place around that made coffee with soy milk. And coffee that was half way drinkable.

  5. I live in Italy and there are no Starbucks here.
    But I spent one year in the States and every city's Sarbucks I went to, it kind of felt different to me. It was because of the people, creating a different mood and atmosphere. I could also start comparing the Starbucks in Castro - San Francisco to the Starbucks in Time Square - NYC, but it'd be too easy. Nevertheless, now that I'm in Italy, just thinking about Starbucks remind me of the US overall.

    I like your blog btw, especially the header image: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, one of my favorite movies. I'll definitely come back.

  6. "Little pieces of poignancy, where I'm picked up from nowhere and carted off into another world." Love that. Love that whole last paragraph. Love the whole fehkin' piece!

    You've such a way with words. And there's absolutely no difference. Nope, none whatsoever. ;)

  7. I have never been in a Starbucks as I don't like chains of any sort, but I know exactly what you are saying here. The first two sentences of the last paragraph sent chills down my spine, how you put in words what I feel constantly! It just takes a scent breathed in, the way the sun is catching leaves on a tree, a song, the colour of the day's light and I am away (usually in Italia). Sometimes I am here in Ireland physically, yet in my mind I am walking up Tottenham Court Road :) or cutting through Soho. Sigh.