When Starbucks opened along Taft Avenue near La Salle, I never imagined myself going there, but not because I didn't like the place. I think I was a sophomore when it opened (shit, the time should be clear in my memory as it wasn't so long ago). First, I knew I didn't have enough money to have a snack there—well that's the first and only reason.
I eventually learned to go there—eventually habitually—when I started hanging out with new friends from Malate.
My allowance then was P100 a day (or P150?—stupid memory!) Because I was the one doing it, I wasn't surprised with myself. My parents, on the other hand, were baffled. I'd be out all night and when they thought I had already gone to Tagaytay or Baguio, they'd find out I was just there at Starbucks—there for about half a day. And they'd ask, How do you manage to hang out at Starbucks, where do you get the money? I didn't know exactly.
My staple Starbucks snack consisted of maple oat scone and coffee frap. This I know clearly: the maple oat scone was just 40 pesos. The coffee frap was around 80 p—I'm certain it didn't go over a hundred pesos.
There was a term when I had Saturday classes from 8am to 12 noon. After class, I'd immediately go home, but I'd stop by Starbucks first to get food and then eat it on the bus.
Those bus rides were some of the best moments of my life: noontime—I just attended something meaningful in the morning and there was still the rest of the day to complete, to look forward to—I was alone with food I enjoyed, seated yet moving still.
'The broken hearts club' (indirect quote):
We try to know another and we have coffee with them and talk and eventually have sex with them if we like them, but we can also have sex first and see if we like to eventually take this person out for coffee and talk.Anne Carson, 'Autobiography of Red':
Sex is a way of getting to know someone.
—Amanda Paige (context: sex)
(I'm having neither sex nor long hours of 'coffee and conversation' with someone, in the meantime. In this world of fiction, meantime stretches to years.)
Whenever I hear about people who cannot eat alone, I become perplexed.
Maybe I was too young when I learned solitude's magnificence. Not that I didn't have friends. In fact I kept telling stories on how easy it was for me to make friends when I was in grade school. I barely had to try.
I gained from Althea (or to construe her statement) that perhaps a person couldn't take being alone because he couldn't take the company that is himself, he couldn't take the conversationalist that is him.
There are no more maple oat scones. I've asked Starbucks again and again about it and it's funny, because I actually thought my obstinacy would bring it back. But, hey, Starbucks, if you, by some chance, is reading this, please bring back the maple oat scone.
There are fewer and fewer people who have the time to stop. Everyone has to go and do and get something fast.