Coffee Observations

Instead of my normal sleepy coffee place around the corner, I spent my weekly writing morning in the neighborhood Starbucks. I had received a gift card on the last day of school and thought that I would use those funds instead of the debit card.

I live in a large planned development in Suburbia and this morning, at this particular location, it is bustling with parents that all seem to approach the world of parenting differently.

Some mothers come in with makeup applied and freshly painted toe nails. Not surprisingly, their children arrive equally put together.

One of these “together” moms stands smiling  and seems calm as she speaks in a sweet voice asking her two little ones to stay near as she orders.  From the outside, it appears from my small table that she handles these kidlets with ease.

As I wait for my drink, I overhear two mothers dressed in tennis gear each complaining about their children’s camps, classes and sporting calendars. One adds to the rant, “Don’t even get me started on their social calendar…”

To be honest, it is hard to decipher if these ladies are friends or competitors.

Another mother scoots her flip-flop feet to the order line with wet hair, baggy sweats and two tween-looking girls in pajamas, both of them are on their phones.  I wonder if they are texting each other since it might take too much energy to turn their heads. Mom looks as if she desperately needed that triple grande latte to help her survive the long day.

I totally relate, sister friend.

A handsome father comes in with his two children. He is in the minority on this particular morning and receives looks, possibly even glares, as he orders two doughnuts and hot chocolate for each of his children. I wonder if he noticed the onlookers and then added the words “and extra whip” for their benefit.  Either that, or he was returning the boys to their mother, possibly his ex, for her to deal with the results of that sugar intake.

There isn’t one table where at least one phone or computer isn’t in use. Even where the tiny toddler is watching a video and brother and mother both focus on their phones.

When I think about this, I am rarely in Starbucks without my phone and there has been more than one occasion where my son and I are looking at screens instead of each other. Sad? Maybe, but the phone or iPad distracts my son from the smells, the talking, the slamming of equipment all for the purpose of the coffee.

Here, at this Starbucks, there are those that came to work, to visit, to refuel, and to escape. The only commonality is the desire for a beverage and those drinks are as unique as the participants.

I observe.

Not in a judging way but more out of curiosity, like I’m conducting a social experiment.

Does your trip to Starbucks sound like mine?

10 thoughts on “Coffee Observations

  1. This sounds exactly like our Starbucks. Fascinating people watching. Many times I’ve seen what you describe – parents bringing small kids with them for coffee, each staring at their own screen of choice. It breaks my heart…some of my fondest memories are of special times with my darling ones, when we went out for coffee together (even when they were so young they had a steamer instead). We’d talk, play checkers, people watch together…I’m so thankful phones and tablets weren’t so pervasive until they were much older. -Amy

  2. I don’t drink coffee and live with the assumption that Starbucks is too expensive so I’m never there… I wonder if I (and your son) am missing out on a major part of living in the Pacific northwest? I’m thinking we’ll be just fine! 🙂

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