The scene of the alleged crime
Now, by Starbucks habit, you might assume that I'm referring to a caffeine habit, or just a taste for Bob Dylan + Band of Horses + John Mayer playlists, but no. My caffeine habit has already been kicked thanks to Dr. Junger (sample tweet: "the number of people these days that have parasites is crazy. often people who have them get them from raw fish, undercooked meat & pets." Must remember to cook pets thoroughly!), and I can do without the assorted playlists. Instead, I'm referring to my habit of trying to use coffee/tea/book stores to find a secluded, quiet space where I can find my zen.
Lesson #16: Look inwardly to find a peaceful space, because God knows it's hard to find in this city, at least when it comes to physical locations. I feel that this lesson will be an important one over the next few years (yes, years. I honestly am only beginning to achieve the necessary amount of inner calm that I need to survive). Of course, there are plenty of ways to help one along this journey (classes, meditation, desserts so good that you close your eyes to savor them), but finding an inner calm is ultimately something you learn on your own. It keeps you from going crazy, which makes me think at least 25% of this city has never found this peace. Instead they've found craziness.
Speaking of crazy people, tonight I visited my local Starbucks, hoping to find a quiet spot to catch up on the latest book club read. Sure enough, it was full of a few students, a few drunks, and a few really crazy people. A few of them got into a fight, after one haphazardly spilled coffee on another's computer and starting yelling (no really, yelling).
An employee must have called the cops, because a few minutes, I'm being asked to leave by an officer. "'Scuse me, ma'am. You'll have to leave - you hafta to drink Starbucks if you're in here." At first I thought he was joking, or just a crazy man.
But no, apparently that's what I get for being eco-conscious and having a reusable mug. After showing me his badge, I stood up for my tree-hugging self to explain that, No, officer, I am indeed drinking Starbucks. He backed off. "Until next time," he muttered, shaking his fist at me. Okay, he might have apologized for being totally wrong, but I could tell he was upset. Since the crazy coffee spiller had already left by this point, he was probably pissed that he didn't get to make any arrests.
This also perfectly illuminates the fact that perhaps Manhattan is too safe. If after breaking up a fight in a coffee shop, an officer has time to stroll around and pick out people that don't shouldn't be there (and is wrong much of the time), then there's something off.
So while my peppermint tea was especially relaxing, it helped me realize that I can't look to it or any place for inner calm. Or just a damn quiet spot to read.