Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Drinkin' By The Drive-Thru


Late afternoon at Starbucks, coffee time before chasing down some dinner. This is the outdoor patio where it's still legal to smoke a cigarette, and it's amazing how many people still do. There's more than twice as much seating area here as there is inside. Of course not everybody out here is smoking. Some want to be outside, some want to be with their friends who smoke, but often there are more empty seats inside than there are out here.

That boxy brown thing in the back is the menu board for the drive-thru lane. Sometimes I get the feeling that those of us who linger over our coffee are actually the "attraction" that makes people driving up the highway notice the place. First they see us, then they spot the Starbucks sign. The drive-thru lane really does the BIG volume. It seems like there's always a car or two, at least, waiting for their coffee.

While there's a wide variety of people who come to sit, chat, do there homework, and smoke, at any given time of day you can pretty much count on the same regulars being there, and they're not always what you'd expect them to be at first glance. That's me, of course, in the right foreground, using my left hand to shoot with the 15mm lens on my Bessa L. Lately I've expanded my "self-portrait" project to include some color shots.

In the background, with the beard and the stars tatooed around his elbows, is a guy who loves to work out, Jordan. He might not look the part but he's a bright pre-med student and a "nice Jewish boy" to boot. The youngster in the center is Peter. He's the younger brother of Samantha "call me Sam", another pre-med student of Chinese ancestory. Then there's officer Lee, a county cop who takes his coffee break here about every afternoon. His big thing is seeing a healthy person pull into a handicapped space. No warnings with him. Just a big fat ticket. From where he's sitting he can see the handicapped spots.

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