I believe you can never go wrong having a commercialized cup of coffee with good friends. It may be true that Starbucks are unnecessarily plopped down every few miles across our entire nation. It may also be true that inside, they all look relatively the same. A few dark, over-sized chairs in the corner, shelves stocked with stainless steel coffee cups producing gift certificates good for any occasion, and the lone customer trying to work out the details of their current philosophy on life by reading someone like Wurtzel at a small, metal table. Those are the sorts of customers who look overly offended and surprised when my friends and I laugh our way in, unaware of the unwritten rule that coffee shops should be silent like Hallmark stores. Did you ever notice how quiet card shops are? It is, at this point, which we have entered a modern sanctuary. A place where we know secrets will be kept safely between one another, and even if they’re not it will still feel that way the next time we come back. Orders usually don’t change, Liz gets the vanilla latte, Jill rattles off some foreign-sounding formula of the chicest sort, I ask for a frappucino, and Lisa just gets a cup of ice to chew on. Still talking at what seems to us a reasonable level, we head for the giant chairs, which always grow much smaller upon our arrival, but in a good way. We rearrange the furniture, creating our own semi-circle by sitting on laps and foot stools. We’re quite comfortable now, and can converse about topics more important or relevant than what sort of animal we each most resemble. A lot of times, meeting at Starbucks is unplanned until ten minutes prior to it happening, the short-lived anticipation is exciting though. It’s knowing that we’re about to spend an unpredictable amount of time together, possibly using up an entire afternoon on something no one else would view as productive. It is productive though, in the company of each other, in our haven, we whisper recaps of recent embarrassing events, we ask each other for advice, we drift from tears, and complete seriousness to unstoppable laughter, and the entertainment of utterly ridiculous ideas. Our unapologetic teenage tendencies prove to be better at building bonds than an onlooker may assume. We always stay as long as we can, and usually longer. Oftentimes, our coffee shop conversations lead to nostalgia, the really depressing sort. Everyone realizes that growing older is inevitable, and that someday, there’s a chance we’ll all only be capable of polite chats about the generalities of our disconnected existences. But when we finally get up to leave, those feelings fall away, and we walk out the door together, laughing harder than when we came in, knowing the day is too good for fearing the unlikely possibilities of the future. The beauty of it is, that I know that no matter where we are, what we’re doing, who we’re dating, or how we’re dressed, at least for the next few months we can all be certain an uplifting cup of commercialized coffee with friends is never more than a few blocks and a couple of phone calls away.
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