Tag Archives: coffee

Two Blogs Written While Waiting for My Turn at the Laptop

CoffeeShopPingMallFeet

So here I am, sipping a tall, cold glass of coffee in the middle of a busy shopping mall. Busy shopping malls always have this buzzing sound inside, a mixture of the talking that’s going on from every direction, music a floor above, footsteps, clanging pots and pans, and announcements over numerous speakers. But here in this little square space at the center of the second floor, the idea is to sip a tall, cold glass of coffee while having a good conversation with someone. It’s not at all engaging to talk in such an atmosphere but, hey, we paid for the table and chairs, so we might as well make use of their products and services.

I understand that coffee shops were originally places where people can sip cups of coffee while taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Malls though, ever the melting pot of modern life, have become the new destination for people who wanna experience that relaxingly good Western pasttime. Nevermind all that buzz, just try and have a soul-enriching experience while you’re here in this supposedly “peaceful” place.

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Cold Coffee in Baguio

Emptied another mug of Benguet coffee,
Listened to another conversation from the next table
In Baguio. I’m free to scribble here,
Let the pencil tip wander from one cold thought to another,
Reflect on empty spaces in the shadows of pines.
Nothing comes to mind
But the retirement of the lines,
Of the restless spirits, and of the aching limbs.
All retire here. People sit and talk,
Look each other in the eye innocently.
It’s as if the endless zigzag road dumped
My ragtag soul into trash bins properly segregated.
Dated here from one cold establishment to another,
Emptying my wallet in the shadows of the night.
Nights are cruel here but smiling.
They send the icy winds to my eyes and my thin fingers,
Watch me curiously, sniggering at how I shiver
From head to toe, with her in my arms.

Fire brought me here.
Somewhere in this labyrinth-like city, buses stop,
People shop, old folks cough, but my fuel burns eternally.
I walk here, not like a cigarette hopelessly perishing
In an ash tray. I sleep here, not like the idle clouds
That sail slowly over my head. I could almost touch them.
I write here because I feel the chill creeping, hinting at me.

Emptied another mug of excitement,
Listened to another nonsense from the next table
In Baguio. I’m free to miss people here,
Let my tired legs climb one steep stairway to another,
Reflect on futile causes leaving me behind.
Nothing comes to mind
But her dark mascara and her hidden intentions
Disturbing my thoughts out in the open.
Weird that people sip icy shakes here,
Wear skimpy shorts and keep their cheer
Even as my head attempts to self-destruct
To let all the weird heat out. Where’s home?
I was there last week; I can remember the sweat.
There were familiar smiles and voices, oil on faces.
I think I was there last week.

Everything here is rich and silent.
A peculiar peacefulness lives even in the noisiest streets.
This city is a man who has had his fill
Of a sumptuous meal, and with his eyes drooping,
Dropped to the nearest bed and had slowly unfolding dreams.

I’m free to whisper here,
Let my voice mingle with the wind that freezes noses and ears.
Funny that I’m here with her, with this ridiculous air
Around me. Laptops, jackets, fog and preserves
Dance before me as I pay the cheap taxi fare.
“I’m in Baguio, right?” I ask her.
One should make sure since it’s hard to infer.
They told me the place was beautiful before I left.
Well, I found out that it’s cold — simply cold.
Had to empty myself,
Listen to coded dialects here in this table
Somewhere in Baguio. I’m free to be sad here,
Let the pencil tip glide from one cold feeling to another,
Reflect on empty minutes in the shadows of pines.
Nothing comes to mind.
No, nothing comes to mind now.

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My Warring Feelings for Starbucks

I used to tell Lucky, a good friend of mine, that I would burn if I step inside Starbucks or any other classy coffee shop. I just don’t feel right sipping over-the-top expensive cups of coffee.

Lately though, I found a good reason to sit there among the Starbucks crowd: to see someone special sip an over-the-top expensive cup of coffee.

Really, the whole reason I can get over my issues is I’m so busy staring at Chemae. It’s like beauty or love or the simple (almost dumb) combination of those two trumps every feeling of insecurity and injustice in me. I’m just immersed, soaked to my socks in this unbelievably light, unworldly feeling. I can watch her sip that cup all night if I don’t have to run to the train station every 9:00 PM.

Just Not a Starbucks Person (Before)

This is what I used to drink in UP. A refreshing plastic cup of buko juice (or so it says on the cup. May just be murky white water with sugar.)

This is what I used to drink in UP: a refreshing plastic cup of buko juice (or so it says on the cup. May just be murky white water with sugar.)

I used to live on fishballs, footlongs, and buko juice back in college, so the thought of paying up for a cup of Starbucks coffee back then was just ridiculous for me. In fact, it’s still ridiculous for me today, but I know I can afford a cup if I wanted to.

Coming from a very modest background, I’m overly suspicious of expensive and grand things. I feel like they are so unnecessary, like, “who’s the raving lunatic who allowed these things to exist?” I guess I’ve always felt that way ever since I studied Marx. Thoughts of injustice are hard to quarantine in your mind when you’ve been studying them for four years.

I might be changing as I spend more nights with the cutest hyperblogging coffee drinker though. I’m beginning to appreciate the meticulous concoction of this American coffee. I’m starting to like the feel of that chair and the cool of that simple shade; conversations overheard in the background; the guard peering in at our chess game; talks of family, love, sex, and society; the unmistakable peace in her gaze.

Warning: RANTS AHEAD


Read this Potentially Boring Part if You Want to Know Why I think Starbucks MAY BE Unjust

Injustice depends on your definition of justice. If your idea of justice is similar to Marx, then you’d find all sorts of evils and wrongs in the existence of Starbucks. However, if your idea of justice is that of Nietzsche, then things as they exist right now are the very definition of justice; meaning, what you have right now is just and necessary.

Enough of the philosophical gibberish though. I don’t have to read the history of Starbucks on Wikipedia to justify why cups of coffee there are so freakin’ costly. Off the top of my head, I’m quite sure it has to do with the quality of the coffee beans and the other ingredients that they use to concoct a fancy dark cherry mocha. Probably has to do with the careful shipping of those ingredients over here, too.

Let us say that a cup of Starbucks, in terms of all the labor and material things put into it, has a justified price: does that instantly eliminate the question of injustice?

I personally don’t think so. A cup of Starbucks coffee doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is located inside history, which is a nerdy way of saying that there are other things connected with that cup; for instance, the lives of the Starbucks staff who mixed the ingredients, the farmers who grew the ingredients, people who sip the cup, and the passersby who look on as others sip that cup. A cup of Starbucks coffee is inside an intricate mesh of lives.

I’d like to believe that all things, all lives, no matter how remote, are interconnected together. They are interconnected together because we can all identify ourselves as part of the same species: we are all human beings.

From this perspective, you’ve got to ask yourself: how can I sip this extravagant cup of coffee when other people in the world are dying of hunger?

Lots of people hate this kind of reasoning, and it’s very clear why. It’s like you’re jumping lightyears of connections and associations to arrive at this statement. In other words, how on earth can anyone connect sipping a cup of coffee with people dying of hunger?

But there is a relation. To deny that there is no relation between these two phenomena is to be a hypocrite. The truth is, some people sip high-priced (or possibly overpriced) cups of coffee while other people die of hunger. That fact, along with many other facts in the world, speaks of the everyday injustices we ignore to live comfortably.

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