the life of richie


Posted in is by Rich on September 18, 2009

The slow, deliberate drip… Rich stopped at the Starbucks twice yesterday; always the same order (grande regular, room for milk: $1.98), but in the afternoon he could not bring himself to iterate those instructions; instead asked for medium coffee with milk, like he would when he purchased coffee from the carts around Manhattan. For five months in Queens he lived in small studio apartment in the back portion of the house of a man who owned several of those coffee/doughnut carts you see around the city. The man would drive his carts into Manhattan each morning before there was a sun. Rich would sometimes hear the carts going out; sometimes he would be coming in after they’d already left. By early afternoon they were back, outside Rich’s front door, in the driveway.

He often thinks of Foucault when he is in the Starbucks, watching the men and women order their lattes and chai. Heat, Foucault notes [in Madness & Civilization], in fact, dilates the pores of the organism, distends its membranes, and permits humidity to impregnate them by a secondary effect. Heat clears the way for liquids. It is precisely for this reason that all the hot drinks the seventeenth century used and abused risk becoming harmful: relaxation, general humidity, softness of the entire organism –– this is what threatens those who consume too many such infusions. And since these are the distinctive traits of the female body, as opposed to virile dryness and solidity, the abuse of hot drinks risks leading to a general feminization of the human race.

So is Starbucks now destroying men? Or in these new coffeeshops, will a kinder race emerge? And will the next Enlightenment come with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top?


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