I was reading a blog by a counselor from a small town in Ohio that was having an unusually rainy winter. Her suggestion was to reach out to others, drop in on your neighbors for a visit. It started me thinking about what we Portlandians do to survive the rain.
Well, I can’t say that we are prone to drop in on neighbors, but I’m pretty sure this is why Portland (and Seattle another very rainy city), are so famous for coffee shops. Okay, it may have started with wanting to self-medicate with caffeine, but we could certainly stay home and make our own caramel macchiato’s, but we don’t. We spend 3 to 4 dollars for a 20 oz drink that we could make ourselves for less than a dollar, because we just need to see people. And even if we are only making small talk, human interaction is the other drug that is so important to our rain soaked brains. We form a therapeutic alliance with the folks who whip up those various concoctions that we crave, so much so that we have given them a professional title; Barista.
Going to a coffee shop is like going to see your therapist, pharmacist, and mom all at one location. The barista is someone who will cater to your slightest whim just like the ideal mother. You can ask for anything and Barista-mom will make it just how you like it; 2%, skim, soy milk, rice milk, not too sweet, not sweet at all, extra caramel, decaf, half caf, with a sprinkle of chocolate, cinnamon, or nutmeg. In there you get to decide, and Barista-mom makes it with a smile and says, “here you are sweetie, can I get you anything else? “All this therapy for just 3 or 4 dollars!
That makes a lot of sense. What has always fascinated me is the variety in coffee shops. In light of your blog post, I’d say each therapy session is tailored to your mood that day, your style, your taste in art, music, whatever…. You pick the “therapist” that will help you with your current struggle.