Friday, May 12, 2006

Teaching -- coffee shop grading

I feel so hip -- I'm sitting in a cool urban independent coffee shop (no evil StarBUCKS for me..) near BN U-- waiting for hubby to finish his TA things... I've got my little PowerBook G4, a cup of expensive coffee and a seat by the window.

I'm supposed to be finishing grades, but I'm procrastinating for some reason.

I feel hip.

I can't help but picture my step-dad in this place.

A couple of weeks ago my mom told me that step-dad went to StarBUCKS for coffee while she was at a doctor's appointment. They live about two hours north of Duluth, MN --- right up there by Candada. They are much closer to Candada than they are to the Cities...

Step-dad, although he worked for an airline for many years and has been to Japan and all over the US, fits right in to the north woods. His favorite (only??) outfit is a pair of jeans, a flanel shirt with a t-shirt underneath. He smokes a lot (bad health... mom gave up fighting about it) and drinks his coffee plain and black.

His favorite place to get coffee is the local caffe -- the only non-bar restaurant in their "town". It has been the same since the late 70s... they have steak and eggs on the menu and if you are a vegetarian you'd better just order coffee because everything else has animal products in it.... I'm sure you get the picture.

For that matter, their "town" is kind of like going backto 1989. They have satelite TV and a TIVO (because hubby and I went with mom to Duluth to get it), one phone line and dial-up internet. They are too rural for DSL or cable high speed.

Imagine Step-dad walking into your local coffee shop. Imagine what it looks like to him.

The coffee is expensive -- and they give it to you in a paper cup. There are way too many options, when there should only be one question, "what size would you like?".

The girl at the counter has several piercings and a bit of an attitude. He is expected to tip her. He's not sure why.

The stylish (weird -- uncomfortable) tables and chairs are full of people all working on their own stuff. They have their laptops out, their ipods on and they slowly sip coffee and ignore one another. None of them are dressed like him.

This isn't his 50's version of a coffee shop.

He drinks his coffee and gets out before the fashion police or the guys from Queer Eye come to get him.

He is very un-hip.


App Crit said...

Yes, I do the same thing. Have PowerBook, WiFi, coffee that validates my unique urbane persona ;) ...will grade, or pretend to grade. It sure beats the office.

A Starbucks two hours NORTH of Duluth?


Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I wasn't too clear above... my parents live two hours north of Duluth... if you squint just right you can see Isabella on the map :).

Starbucks isn't in Isabella, yet -- but they are in Duluth proper.

App Crit said...

Gotcha. It's still hard for me to conceptualize of America two hours north of Duluth. All along the north shore of Superior, that sure is pretty country.

No Starbucks here in West Nowhere (except as served at the Barnes & Noble). Plenty of indie cafes, though. And a fair few of them are more than a quick walk from campus. Perfect.

I enjoy your blog and your thoughts elsewhere.