City Escapes, In Starbucks

Today was a good day.

I spent much of it in Starbucks, in Manchester, drinking spiced pumpkin latte and reading accounts of adventures in such far off places as Tangier; Haiti; Ischia; New Orleans.

Sitting directly opposite me, oblivious to my mental escapes, was a young woman, wearing a blouse of long, black-laced sleeves, locked in an insular world with her bespectacled beau. She looked comfortable enough in their interactions, but had enough self-conscious affectations to suggest that their love story was still in its infancy.

Whoever they were, they weren’t local, and their story had brought them here.

Perhaps they were from Tangier, Haiti, Ischia or New Orleans. You know how sometimes coincidence plays itself out.

Sometimes I find myself people watching, wondering, creating, until I realise I am in danger of becoming the Shopping Centre Creep and shake myself back out of my reverie.

I plunged myself back into my book, next wondering if Hollywood is still a childless city. And how empty and lifeless such a city would be.

My travels went on, and on, then, in the evening, as the coffee ran dry, Manchester itself began to wind down:

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16 thoughts on “City Escapes, In Starbucks

  1. People watching is one of my pleasure too. I find it awfully intriguing and I sometimes catch myself making up a very complicated story about the person (who has since left my sight).
    Oh, and your photo! Wow, quite the sunset. I really like the geometrical proportions in the photo and how the skyscraper stands out but you still see the vague contours of the cranes in the background. Sunsets are almost always beautiful.

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  2. Lovely bit.

    Starbucks is a last resort for me in choice of coffee shops. Unfortunately it is the only real happenin’ coffee shop in this town! So, I, too, sit and watch and write and read and absorb.

    Happy National Coffee Day (in the USA) to you.

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    • I know what you mean. Starbucks is my coffee place of choice when I’m in the city and pushed for time to hunt a place out (though I end up spending hours in there!) but when I’m in my local town centre I go to a small place run by a Polish guy. Hepburn and Monroe on the walls, vinyl records on the ceiling, a chess set, and deliberately slanted bookshelves from which the owner tells me I can take any book that I want-the place is great!

      Happy National Coffee Day to you too (belatedly). Don’t you just love accidental synchronicity 🙂

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    • That it is! It was this time last year that I first had this particular flavour. I was getting my usual Americano, and thought that spicy pumpkin sounded sickly. The girl working there let me have a free taste-I was hooked!

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      • Have you tried their ginger bread latte? It’s very Christmassy and I love it. Not to everyone’s taste but perhaps at time when you feel adventurous. Enjoy!

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  3. Your people watching is always fascinating, Andy. I was intrigued by that conversation and what you gleaned from it. I don’t get to do it as often, since I’m usually in a hurry or too deep in my thoughts to notice others. 😦

    I love this time of year because of all the pumpkin concoctions. I also like the gingerbread latte and the peppermint mocha.

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    • About what can be gleaned from people watching:
      I have never read anything by Virginia Woolf, but in a pamphlet about events taking place during this year’s Manchester Literary Festival, I have just read the following:
      Virginia Woolf did things differently. She could describe a love affair by watching its effect on plates and forks in a restaurant.

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      • Really??? I love that! Will have to see how I can use something like that in a story,
        I only read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. One of the staples of the English major booklist. 🙂

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    • Thank you Maja 🙂 The inspiration of strangers! I wrote a poem when I was in Stockholm, and a girl that I saw there, carrying sunflowers, features in it. That poem is included in my book, out later this month, and that girl will never know she acted as muse and features in it. There is a certain sadness in that, I think.

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