I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks. Their coffee isn’t the best quality and they over sweeten their drinks. But it’s on campus and I’m waiting to do a group project. So I’m here and as I look around I’ve noticed a few things. A disgusting floor, spilled coffee, so so many apple products, but through all the chaos and dirt there’s a certain kind of beauty.
The dirty, napkin covered floor shows just how many students come in and out to study or meet with friends. They laugh, frown, concentrate, or blow off schoolwork and leave their mark on the gray tiles.
The spilled coffee attests to the laughter and carelessness happiness brings. I can just imagine someone curling up in this brown armchair and then laughing so hard that they drop their drink. Or maybe someone was so focused on finding the perfect wording for that particular paper that they forgot to pay attention to where they were setting their drink down. Either way, the orange stains simply prove that someone took the time to simply exists and live in that space.
As I scan the room there are a couple different responses from people. Some stand taciturn and avoid touching any of the surfaces. They wait for their drink and then promptly stalk out into the sultry evening. That response is far and few between though. For the most part, students chat while they wait for their pumpkin spice lattes before sitting down and discussing all of life’s details. Their conversations range from the simple “How are you?” to discussing their new boyfriend/girlfriend. These people are using Starbucks to launch their community.
Even the hardcore studiers like myself are participating. A smile to a stranger, tapping a foot to the rather excellent music, thanking a barista; these are all verbal and kinesthetic cues that draw you into the community. Oh how I envy those baristas! They get to witness daily relationships forming. They witness people grow, smile, laugh, cry, and every other painfully wonderful emotion in existence. This is life. This is community. And it’s absolutely beautiful.
What beauty are you finding in the world today? Take a look around, what you see might surprise you.