A Visit To My Alternate Universe
I HAVE OPTED TO SKIP my usual visit today to the Chapel at St. Arbucks in favor of going to the “other place” in my neighborhood.
With the impossibly cute name of Java Haute, (we’re in Terre Haute and they serve coffee – AKA Java. Get it? Get it? Clever, huh???) it is a hangout/study area for students from the nearby engineering college. Ergo: this joint has a higher geek population than most places this side of your local Best Buy store.
I’m here because I got an email from them announcing that this week at Java Haute was “San Francisco Week.”
Seeing as how I lived in S.F. for 25 years my immediate thought was that I had to embark on a fact finding mission to investigate.
When I came through the door at Java Haute the only “San Francisco–ish” thing I saw was that the baristas were wearing T-shirts that said “San Francisco” in big orange letters. Upon further inquiry I was told that the owner and two of the staff had recently attended a food industry trade show in S.F. That was it. They spent three hours walking around the convention center then played tourist for a long weekend. I’m surprised they weren’t wearing shirts that read, “I got crabs at Fisherman’s Wharf.”
The barista who told me about the trip also listed all of the tourist spots they had visited. I’m guessing the owner wanted to take a vacation that could also be written off as a business expense.
When I asked if they had gone to ‘this place or that place’ while in S.F. all I got back was a blank stare. I’m wondering if they even bothered to stop into any of the 6,787 actual coffee houses in the City? Probably not. They were too busy buying T-shirts.
I felt it my duty as a former resident of “Baghdad By The Bay” to give them an easy tip to make “San Francisco Week” more than just an excuse to wear the goofy T-shirts. I told the barista that, if they wanted Java Haute to be more like a real San Francisco coffee house, all of the baristas should speak with a Lebanese accent and smear some dirt on the floor and walls.
Now that I think about it they should also put up a bulletin board covered with colorful flyers announcing Poetry Reading events that no one will attend, massage parlors run by Cambodian hookers, and people looking for free rides to the next Burning Man Gathering in the Nevada desert. They might also want to hire a couple of 1960s Holdover Burnouts to spend time slumped over tables in the corner.
I’m just trying to help.
I think that tomorrow I will go back to the Chapel at St. Arbucks. I just don’t think the folks at Java Haute are serious about this whole San Francisco Week thing. If they were the staff wouldn’t have bathed for a week in preparation and the female baristas wouldn’t have shaved.
After all, authenticity is important.