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“A Cup of Blah To Go, Please.”

I was in Starbucks yesterday and over heard a man talking about a book he’s writing. His subject? How we all view things in different perspectives. I was immediately interested, not just because I like hearing about fellow writers and their material, but because he seemed so confident about his subject. I wondered what he meant by it.

He went on to explain, to the woman listening, that “For example, you may look at your cup and see it as a nice drink, or whatever. But, when I look at it, I think of all the resources required to make it, and how it has negatively impacted our environment, etc.” You get the idea.

I wanted to dump my drink onto his head and ask, “Aren't you grateful for anything?”

Normally, these things don’t bother me. I respect people’s opinion -- even if I don’t agree with it. This is what freedom is all about. But, what he was “trying” to explain -- or even defend -- wasn’t rational.

Here he was in a peaceful establishment, one filled with people so blessed --including himself-- that they could go in and buy a days’ worth of groceries for a family of three on ONE cup of coffee, plug his laptop into an outlet that sucked gobs of electricity, all the while sniffing that the very place he was in and enjoying was bent on putting our earth in the dump.

Really? Besides, doesn’t Starbucks use recycled materials for their paper cups already? How “green” does one have to be to be considered green?

And if he was so concerned about Starbuck’s adding emissions to the air, and waste into the earth, what was he doing there anyway? He should be at home, in the dark and the cold (because he isn’t using heat or electricity) writing by hand (no PC to plug in) and by candlelight, using a ceramic mug he can wash over and over. And then maybe I’d believe his words.

What’s worse? His subject wasn’t a new concept. Any editor would roll their eyes and say “Been there done that. Pass” We have enough literature and propaganda about keeping the earth green. I have enough commercials, paper advertisements, reusable bags and recycling cans to remind me constantly to keep the earth green. I keep my thermostat at 67 in the winter (or lower) recycle every glass or plastic item I use in the house, turn off electricity, and still … someone else wants to write about how my paper cup is ruining the world?

I’m not buying it. His words or the book. Until green people truly insist on being green--not just through driving a Prius or using recyclable shopping bags -- then I just DON’T BUY their unsubstantiated words. I do my part, but I am also grateful for everything I have right now: the freedom to drink at a café without wondering if a suicide bomber will come in, to peruse the internet without restriction, to write what I feel without being thrown in jail, and drink my coffee with thanksgiving and joy… before the price of coffee goes up again.

Remember these three things: 1. Actions always speak louder than words. 2. Real writers don't "write" in Starbucks. And 3. most writers know to write something more original ... like "How Our Over-greening the World Made Us Wish We'd Never Listened to Al Gore."


  1. Heather, I sometimes say if I can't react with grace I try humor. I hope the green-me writer is still able to make his mortgage payment and keep up with the latest software releases...
    We Alaskans often find ourselves at odds with tree-huggers. Let me say I love our trees here in South East. I have lived far enough North there weren't any trees. I also love our wildlife. I was brought up to only shoot what I was going to eat or was about to eat me.
    Recycling is a challenge for us. So much of what we would recycle has to be shipped down around Canada. That whole carbon footprint conversation happens again. Besides if we really did recycle everything what would the tourists do when they got up here? It seems a favorite game is digging up our yards looking for 100 year old medicine bottles...the stories I could tell. The questions tourists ask!
    There is no simple way to address these issues anywhere in the world. A simplistic attitude, I find, usually indicates an attitude culled from People magazine.
    I am grateful God has given us a magnificent place to park ourselves while we wait for our Lord's return. I am confident God expects us to be good stewards of the garden placed in our hands. I gotta believe expecting the planet to last forever is like expecting that aluminum pan at thanksgiving to be inherited by grandchildren. Not likely.
    We must- be responsible and be thankful.

  2. Heather,
    This is funny. I'm pretty sure I know that guy. . .ok, not really, but that type is always lurking around in any coffee shop. I think they like to hear themselves talk!

  3. Reign and shine: I get it!
    Amy, I bet it IS the same guy! Ha, ha.

    I'm sure I'll get flack for this post, but I don't care. What I do care about is the environment. It's true. I am concerned if there is indeed a problem with all the carbon emissions. It bothers to me to see exhaust rising up into the air from trucks.

    But, I am DOING what I can right now, in my own life and in my own way. And I don't want yet a writer taking my joy away from a good cup of coffee all because he thinks we are being awful to the environment. :)

  4. Good for you! He sounded just plain rude. Like you, I love the earth, and I'm doing everything I can to conserve our natural resources, but guys like him are waaaay to self-righteous.

  5. Very witty and entertaining observations... thanks for sharing. Sounds like he was all talk...

    Oh~ I especially like the last paragraph!

  6. Hi, im the newest follower here, Very nice blog !!! Hope to see you on my page too :)

  7. Starbucks is dangerous. Mostly because it's so often to very tempting to comment on someone else's behavior. (And yes, I did just refer to dumping coffee on someone's head as "commenting on his behavior".)

    I agree with you, the guy sounds very annoying. I think the worst thing is that he chose the woman's coffee to comment on. If he had only commented on his own drink, computer, shoes, haircut, watch, chair... his comment would have been less offensive. Still unfortunate, but less offensive.

  8. Kathi-Thanks for stopping by!
    LKHarris-Kolp- Thanks bunches!Really appreciate your words.
    Grigore, thanks for stopping by! I'll hop on over to your place too.
    Anne, I hear you ... so true. The example he gave wasn't the best.


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