Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sitting in Starbucks and remembering Steve Jobs

I'm sitting in Starbucks in Santa Elena, and I've got mixed feelings about this. Starbucks is such a familiar sight for a Seattleite, and everything here looks just right, the cups, the Starbucks mermaid, the comfy couches, the internet access and (sigh) the prices. So I'm pleased to find this comforting combination. (Here's a photo of Kathy Garcia in front of the Starbucks in the Galeria - another northwestern tickled to find this familiar place.) But - on the other hand - I do wonder if Starbucks is chasing out some of the local coffee places - Viva Espresso, the Coffee Cup, Ben's - where you can get great espresso and buy a variety of Salvadoran coffees, among the best in the world.

I remember what a great hangout Starbucks was for the women who lived in Rose of Lima House, transitional living in Seattle, when I worked there. They'd go around the block to 1st, buy a cup of the coffee of the day, and sit and talk for two hours. It was the closest thing they could afford to being in a nice restaurant, and I always loved Starbucks for being a place where you could just be, even if you were homeless. It doesn't feel at all like that here, of course - clearly the folk who go to any coffee house in El Salvador are doing pretty well. They tend to be the folk who dress up in suits, if just so everyone will know that they work in air-conditioned splendor.

So my feelings on Starbucks here are mixed. But it's a good place to remember and give thanks for Steve Jobs, who's put such liveliness and fun into people's hands. I bought the first Macintosh in the spring after it was introduced; it cost an outrageous amount, you had to swap disks to go from the operating system to the writing and drawing programs, and I loved it. I remember those great fonts - imagine, being able to have fonts on a computer - New York, Chicago and quirky San Francisco - it was such fun for someone who'd been using a very dull word processor. And that, of course, was only the begionning, and now I sit here typing on my iPad on a the wireless keyboard, still having lots and lots of fun (and getting a bit of work done too) thanks to Steve's singular genius and vision. Gracias.

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