Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fuel is for Machines

In the spirit of continuing to force my views on others by means of diatribe and rant, I would like to propose that we cease thinking about things like food and beverages purely for their utilitarian benefits, and get back to the idea that these things are to be savored and enjoyed.

It was the fascists, after all, who popularized the idea that food was merely fuel to replenish the workers' empty tanks so that they can continue to produce efficiently. For truly dedicated workaholics like Gordon Gekko, however, "Lunch is for wimps" (time, after all, is money, right?).

For my own part, I have never enjoyed (let alone even felt) the utilitarian effects of coffee, which probably explains my disdain for the drive-thru espresso stands so ubiquitous here in the Pacific Northwest. Coffee is to be drunk while sitting in a comfortable chair with a book in hand, not while fighting our way through rush hour traffic after a "power lunch" (and when a cigar is involved, one has no choice but to just take one's time).

"Modern coffeehouses," one author argues, "have as their mission purely useful goals: give you strong coffee and some bread to help you survive the day in a state of high anxiety and fear. They give off the unpleasant aroma of efficiency."

So as a form of protest against the hectic and rushed nature of our consumer-driven culture, I would call upon those who feel so moved to find some time to camp out in the corner of some café or coffeehouse to actually enjoy a meal and/or drink, and to crack open that book you've been wanting to read for years.

And no, you may not simply set your cell to vibrate. It must be left behind....