Coffee shops are ostensibly places of business where humans can purchase absurdly overpriced hot and cold beverages, as well as pastries etc. that are passed off as fresh, but are actually wheeled in on “truck day” by a man with an artisanal beard who believes he’s far above such tasks. None of it matters, though. Not really. Because the physical products are not what attract the customers, it’s the embrace of pretension that indirectly pays the bills.
Out in the real world, for instance, a grown man would almost certainly be mocked and ridiculed for wearing red pants, and/or the kind of chunky eyeglasses that were issued to retarded children during the 1960s. But in a coffee shop, he’s the toast of the town. He can sit there with his legs crossed in a wildly affected manner while sporting a ludicrous costume, and be viewed in a favorable light. And that’s what the places are truly selling: admission to a pretentious asshole safe-house.
Coffee shops are generally small in size and feature carefully-matched mismatched furnishings to create an approximation of an artsy and bohemian atmosphere. Customers seem to believe they become a little more worldly and sophisticated by merely stepping across the threshold. Out in the parking lot, they might be spitting on the pavement, scratching their asses, or rolling their balls like a gambler at the craps table. But the moment they walk into a coffee shop they become delicate intellectuals with faint European overtones: “No worries, no worries…”
Most coffee shops offer a free wireless internet connection, which attracts “writers.” They arrive with their laptop computers, covered in stickers chosen to make the owners seem hip and mysterious, and sit for hours at prominent tables “writing.” Almost none of their projects will ever see the light of day (which is a bullet-dodged for the rest of us). Because the point is not to make actual progress on their dubious novels or screenplays, it is to be seen “writing.” However, the “author” will be more than happy to give you a synopsis of his project, and it will invariably contain phrases such as “experimental” and “non-linear,” and will often feature a serial killer character with a jaunty nickname. Something like Fleshlight, Muffin Man, or The Cropdusting Stranger.
Even though coffee is not the most important feature of a coffee shop, it does attract humans who like to pretend they are aficionados of the beverage. It is an enticing option for people who don’t want to go all-in with scarves and opinions about foreign films, but still possess an interest in being pompous and overblown. It requires a lot less effort to memorize a preposterous drink order that can be used to dazzle friends and co-workers than to haul a laptop across town and act pensive for several hours. Coffee snobbery is a popular and effective pretentious asshole workaround.
I hope this report has proven to be helpful. As always, I will be standing in the open field behind Dollar General Store every Thursday between midnight and 2 a.m., if you should have any follow-up questions.
This concludes today’s broadcast.