Posted by: Arthur337 | April 12, 2009

Coffee Hipster

Tonight I’m not in my best moods. Sitting at Starbucks by the window, staring at the raindrops falling to the ground outside and listening to Jazz, I found my comfort zone. I can’t seem to explain why. Here I am, sitting amongst the crowd of people – some reading, some talking over coffee, some with their laptops. It seems that, at this environment, I am in the mood for intellectual pursuit.

I am fully aware some people think that drinking over-priced coffee and displaying their shiny white iMacs/iPods while reading or writing are pretentious hipsters. It reminds me of a scene from Family Guy that goes like this:


Guy #2: Hey, getting some writing done there buddy?
Guy #1: Yeah, setting up in public so everybody can watch me type my big screenplay.
Guy #2: Me too. All real writers need to be seen writing otherwise what’s the point, right?
Guy #1: You should totally write that down!
Guy #2: Okay, will you watch me?

I am not sure how to defend myself against that charge. I don’t think it’s so much to be seen using the latest gadgets or doing something cool. I think it is more about being an observer rather than being observed. Perhaps sitting in the middle of the bustling crowd, while  isolated audibly by the earphones, allow me to become a third-party observer of the society. I’m isolated, yet not isolated. I’m connected to the society, yet disconnected at the same time. My mind is free to wander in the realms of intangible ideas, knowledge and culture, yet not too distant and removed from the real world.

Looking at the tables next to me, I ask the questions “Who are they? What do they do for living? What are they wearing? Is that the new fashion now? How is that two person relate to each other? What are they discussing? What are they reading? Why did they choose that book or magazine? Is that person over there writing an interesting play? Or is it a boring project proposal that is likely to be scrapped?”

I think there is no other public places outside where people congregate and make themselves comfortably, while pursuing very different ideas  – whether it’s work related of business ideas, engineering innovation, and job interviews, OR leisure related of art, music, fashion, relationships, and even philosophical discussions.

As a person who loves both science and culture, and who happens to be a social critic, I can’t think of a better place (within the convenient distance) to set my mind right – away from trivial troubles of life – and to delve into the more pertinent questions of the society, of humanity, and the most important of all, of ourselves.


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