Avoid Cafes

 

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The propagandists have now achieved their goals, judging by the young man in a bandana from whom I ordered a hot chocolate.

It’s spilling over, the people are like bursting sausages of propaganda.

“Crazy times we live in,” he said,” as he began to mix my cocoa. “Some people just so full of hate, you know?”

He was referring to supporters of Donald Trump.

On this day, in Brussels, at least 31 people had been killed by bombs detonated by ISIS.

But the barista did not mention this. He was focused on Trump and his supporters.

“Scary, how full of hate people are.”

I said nothing.

I was weary and past all words. And in any case, he wasn’t interested in a conversation.

“And Bill Maher, that guy pisses me off big time. He pretends to be this liberal left guy but then out of the blue, just out of nowhere, he starts saying the most ignorant hateful things about Muslims.”

“Does he? Like what?”

“Oh like that the religion is all about violence and…I don’t know exactly.”

I figured I had to say something. So finally I said: “I think it’s fair to say that the media has us all primed to proclaim confidently about vast subjects we know virtually nothing about.”

He looked at me blankly.

“Yeah.”

There was  no getting away from it. People want to spray graffiti onto other people, first chance they get.

I heard his booming voice working the same riffs on every customer. I wondered if I could discreetly ask a manager if baristas could be asked to make the coffee, tea, and cocoa, without broadcasting their propaganda to the customers. I would pay extra for that.

The worst part about it was that they weren’t even his beliefs. They were generic statements.

If he was paying attention to the news of the day, he would have been a better reporter. He would have mentioned the arms, legs, and dead bodies all over the Brussels airport, and the frantic parents calling their children’s non answering cell phones.

For some reason, this didn’t strike the young man as “hate,” or even worth talking about.

I am rarely happy in cafes, but I keep trying.

If you think about it, nobody really wants to eat or drink anything served in cafes anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. John Powell says:

    Our disagreements on this matter have become stale. I choose not to prolong any discord or dueling defensiveness. May ♥ reign over it all, and over us all.

  2. John Powell says:

    It was not hostlity. What it was has already been clearly written at length elsewhere at this venue. In distilled summation, what it was could be classified as caring: Caring about protecting and preserving someone’s professional integrity and personal dignity. That appeal for money really is tainted by exaggerations, including exaggerated promises or prophecies which are not being, and cannot be fulfilled. I cared about the ill effects those exaggerations and tainted appeals for money would likely have on public impressions of your integrity and dignity, and on your receipt of the requested financial support. I have no guilt and regret for caring. Buenos dias.

  3. Andrea Gambioli says:

    I loved the bursting sausage metaphor. Thank God I’m vegan.

  4. Sparhawk says:

    Nice.
    I agree with this sad view of the public’s inability to speak. It’s bad to getting worse. Debating, for instance, used to be an art form. And speaking is decidedly a part of thinking. And no one is doing much of either these days. So thanks for doing all here, including a rare protest of what coffee shops are dumbed down to as well. I practice my speak/think in the supermarket check out lines with my confreres.

  5. Elizabeth Ely says:

    Avoid cafes? I’d like to avoid airports. Absolutely air-tight propaganda zones. At least the barista is a live person, delivering his clearly dumb version of the news. The headlines of celebrity magazines and unanswered speculation on the cable news channels is just drilled into your head as unavoidable “truth.” Fear is not even voluntary, it’s compulsory to look as if you even like fear, as you go from gate to gate searching for, maybe, quite possibly, relief in the form of a cup of coffee from a cafe. . . . Cheers, Beth 🙂

  6. John Powell says:

    Celia, that little hors d’oeuvre of reportage and angst (“Avoid Cafes”) made me feel your righteous bewilderment and righteous alienation, with which I shrug my shoulders in solidarity.

    I don’t got to cafes at all, ever. I used to, a lot, decades ago.

    Now I bring a bota-full of fresh homemade cacao chocolate (or other-flavored) beverage with me, on any of my lengthy excursions throughout the community.

    If you need to, I mean really need to be going to cafes for scoring fixes of hot chocolate, here’s a serious recommendation:

    For less than five bucks, you can get a two-inch or three-inch button made for you, containing in bold print, the words, “Don’t Talk Issues With Me. Let Me Have My Peace. Keep Your Issues To Yourself, Please.”

    That will shut them up. People read buttons, especially when they’re printed in bold type.

    p.s. ~ After considerable research, I chose the Vita Labs brand of raw cacao powder, for making REAL chocolate delicacies, be they liquid or otherwise. Check out their website, and the super-low prices for Vita Labs cacao on Amazon. Cheers. ♥

    • John Powell says:

      Ooops. It’s Viva Labs cacao, not Vita Labs. Viva, with a “v”. Not Vita with a “t”.

    • Celia Farber says:

      The BUTTON. I love it!!

      • John Powell says:

        Okay, Lady Celia. Tell me where to mail the button to. Forget the five bucks. It’ll cost you nada. Send me the address in an email, and then the magic button will soon be on it’s way to you, along with a couple of extras, just in case you lose one.

        So, the only two aspects of the magic-button procurement process which remain for you to decide are: (a.) Do you want them to be two-inch or three-inch buttons?; and (b.) What colors do you want for the letters and for the background?

        [Nope, this isn’t a joke. But, don’t feel obligated to politely relieve me of the holy pleasure of “going to all that trouble”. You’d be doing great harm to the whole world by trying to relieve me of that pleasure. Why, and how? Hear ye, hear ye. This seemingly insignificant Magic Button Mission must be accomplished! What’s at stake is saving one life from being sprayed with propaganda graffiti, and from paying extra for having cafe managers require baristas to keep their propaganda to themselves. As the sages told us, saving one life from all of that, is equivalent to saving the whole world from all of that. Clearly, you absolutely must help save the whole world from all of that, by helping John save one life from all of that. To the Bat Cave we go. Mission Magic Button beckons us to make haste.] 🙂

        Button size, and the colors: Send me your decision, and the address for shipment. No joke. My pleasure …for your defiant yet peaceful empowerment.

        Everybody wins on this mission, except the sausages.

        • Celia Farber says:

          Please explain your sudden outburst of hostility. Please EXPLAIN IT.

          • John Powell says:

            It was not hostlity. What it was has already been clearly written at length elsewhere at this venue. In distilled summation, what it was could be classified as caring: Caring about protecting and preserving someone’s professional integrity and personal dignity. That appeal for money really is tainted by exaggerations, including exaggerated promises or prophecies which are not being, and cannot be fulfilled. I cared about the ill effects those exaggerations and tainted appeals for money would likely have on public impressions of your integrity and dignity, and on your receipt of the requested financial support. I have no guilt and regret for caring. Buenos dias.

            • Celia Farber says:

              After I quantified why I used the word “viral” and after Stephen also expressed feeling the word was correct and earned, is it possible your concern was in fact undue? Maybe you should say: “Who am I to police your morals and language? In fact, you were accurate. I acknowledge that you did not exaggerate,”

              Because I did not, in fact. But not all of us feel we need to issue correction when we have falsely corrected somebody. I realize that. Some of us just invoke our excellent intentions.

              Wishing you a joyous Easter.

            • John Powell says:

              Our disagreements on this matter have become stale. I choose not to prolong any discord or dueling defensiveness. May ♥ reign over it all, and over us all.

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