When coffee became the currency of British culture.
I’m sat in a local chain coffee shop. With its soulless interior, questionable tray to plate ratio and a second fee for merely wanting to remain in the same area as to where you handed over the first fee, it could be however anywhere in Britain.
Two women squeal at one another, sharing gossip as bland as their vastly overpriced sandwich. A man gulps coffee and shouts loudly down the phone about meeting another gentleman ‘next Thursday mate’, presumably for more coffee. A baby howls as Dido’s soft dulcet tones wash over the shop floor.
If the barristers could wave a white flag, they probably would.
“Hi, what do you want?”. Well to be honest Sara, I doubt you’ll be selling a ban on chain coffee stores across the British Isles. After scouring the menu (as if it’ll ever change) for such confirmation I settle for a small Mocha. At this moment I recall the scene from StarWars where Obi-Wan scolds Anakin (just before physically burning him alive) during episode III. ‘You’ve become the very thing you swore to destroy!’, shouts Ewan McGregor’s character. I’d put good money on a chain of coffee shops popping up on Mustafar in the near future.
Hypocrite! You’re fueling the very problem you claim to denounce! Well fair enough. But we all do things we don’t enjoy. I’ll watch Newcastle religiously next season, an exercise which may bring little happiness. But I’ll do it out of devotion and habit.
It’s clear the British public has developed a similar devotion towards the consumption of coffee. Unquestionably slurping more and more brown liquid in cups so large that it’ll soon become a team effort to get to to bottom of a small cappuccino. ‘Minimum £25 spend’ signs will pop up and be met with minimal hostility, instead we’ll just bite our tongues (mainly because the confectionery on offer is so small) and ‘grab another coffee’. Additional charges will be warranted if anyone dares flicker a smile whilst ordering, with point blank refusal of purchase should a customer acknowledge any member of staff.
I’ve sat in here for a while now. The women next to me is flicking through her phone, scrolling for the next meaningless virtual update in her life. She leaves. The coffee hasn’t been touched.
The poor, deflated latte is whisked away to the kitchen and put out its misery.
Of course, the irony of this tale is almost as thick as the cream piled on any given hot chocolate. As we wash back miniature flapjacks with gallons of caffeine, we are becoming more and more zombified to a culture of consumption for the sake of consumption.
In an effort to wake up and stay sharp, we’ve become a slave to sitting in hard seats at small wobbly tables, bombarded with vicious air con. Still, I could do with a coffee…