Market is up. Recession over. So who are all these men in Starbucks? I have been coming to coffee houses for many years to get a little release from writing. I usually shuffle in the afternoon to a Starbucks and flop down in an old wing chair and get lost in some Fitzgerald, Yates, Whitman...just anything to cool the brain cells. But lately, all the chairs are taken. And they aren't taking by women, they are taken by older men. Middle age dudes of the forty something fifty something variety. They sit in their comfort jeans trying to look inconspicuous. These men do not read fiction. They stare at newspapers or some jabber away.
When I first saw these men I thought maybe it was a fluke, but everyday they increased until yesterday the place was overrun. We might as well be sitting in a union hall. They look like they should all be in offices. You see the hands reaching for something to do, expressions trying to navigate the strange duplicity of sitting in a Starbucks in the middle of the afternoon when the rest of the world is working. They go to the bathrooms, order more coffee, sit with legs crossed staring intently at nothing. They just don't know what to do. In Britain they call them being made redundant. And there is that feeling that for a lot of these guys they are now redundant. They are of the middle management variety and that is something the new economy will not carry.
The day passes and one by one they look at their watches and finally rise to put on their coats. The fact they have nowhere to go yells at you. I have lived a life of uncertainty as a writer, but you can tell these guys did not bargain for this. They are now redundant men, put out to pasture too early in a Starbucks in a small town: the sad lonely men of our time.