This is my coffee cart guy. Do you see him there? On the right, behind the white car? He’s a nice guy from Alexandria. He’s got seven brothers and one sister back home in Egypt. He misses them, but he always seems to be in a good mood.
Everyone who works in New York has their own coffee cart guy. It’s part of the fabric of the city. You establish a rapport with him and you don’t buy coffee anywhere else. Eventually, he’ll know your order and if he sees you approaching, he’ll greet you with it already in the bag.
My guy sets up right in front of the Starbucks on 41st and Broadway. I like his nerve! I’ve always identified with the underdog because that’s all I’ve ever been. I’m just regular. Plus, his coffee costs a small fraction of what I’d pay at Starbucks. Fuck Starbucks. I’m sticking with little guy. Especially in the winter when he’s out there in the cold.
Each morning we exchange the same banter. I make fun of his coffee and he makes fun of my clothes.
When are you going to start selling some decent coffee?
As soon as your wife buys you a new shirt. How many times are you going to wear that thing?!
We have a laugh, bid each other adieu and head off into our day, hoping it won’t be too wretched.
While he’s preparing my coffee, I’ll turn around and look in the window of Starbucks. All you see are the tops of people’s heads because their faces are buried in smart phones, frantically texting and ignoring the world around them. Times Square is just outside the front door to the right but they might as well be in Broken Bow, Nebraska for all it matters. Idiots.
Final score: Humanity: 1 Starbucks: nil