Interim


Final update March 5, 2005 log continues here



March 5

I headed north from work with a good bit of excitement about being the first customer at a new store in Pennington, NJ. As usual, I hunted for a good place to eat and stumbled across Los Primos, a Carribean restaurant where green plantains are served up by waitresses in very short and tight skirts. I found their dress to be very unusual for a Latin American restaurant, and I'd visited pzlenty.



Another thing unusual about the place was that a homeless man came in, came up to me at my table, and asked for money. During my meal!!! Then, outside, as I drove away, some dude motioned for me to turn on my lights. I appreciated it, but I still wasn't going to give him no 75 cents.

I went to sleep really early, like around 8:00, a service area in Maryland. But I started driving again really early, sometime after 3:00, to make sure I didn't get beaten out by no little ol' lady this time. I orried I wouldn't find the store in time because my mapping program, Streets & Trips 2005, plotted it in what seemed to be a residential neighborhood. Nevertheless, I drove along Denow Road, and though there was no store where it was plotted on my map, the road continued past the neighborhood, and I could tell it had been freshly built. Just before I reached Lawrenceville-Pennington Road, I spotted a cop on a side street. I wasn't sure if I was exceeding the limit or not, but he didn't stop me.

I didn't see the Starbucks at first, so I turned right and drove slowly. Then I spotted, across the parking lot (love my new eyes) the Starbucks menu board, lowlit, through the picture windows. I turned into the shopping center, which was all but devoid of stores. Besides the Starbucks, the only other shop I saw was the UPS store.

From the parking lot, I could see the cop's lights in the distance. I moved over to a different spot, in front of the store, out of his view. I set my alarm for 6:00 AM and hoped that no one else would show up that early. Shortly before 6:00, after a seriously wacky dream, a feeling came over me, and I peeked out from underneath my blankets to see the lights on in the store. I considered going back to sleep, but I'm glad I didn't. Instead I changed, then took a brief excursion around the corner to the dark side of the parking lot, and then just a few minutes after I returned to my spot in front of the store I saw another car parking in front, in the handicapped space. I quickly grabbed my coat and stepped outside the car and paced in front of the store to mark my territory.

It was really cold, and I had to keep moving, and I grumbled at the couple in the SUV sitting there in the heated car. I had the urge to go up to the window and yell "Boo ya! Beat you, sucka!" I restrainted myself, but later, in the store, I did have to turn around to the group in line behind me at tell them they had to get up pretty early to beat me. Hey, I'm allowed a little gloating, aren't I?

Shortly after 6:00 a second SUV arrived, and the lady driving it walked up the other. Apparently they all knew each other, and I wondered if they had a party planned like at the South Doylestown store. When the driver stepped out of the car I said "You aren't here for the Starbucks, are you."

"Yes we are," he replied.

"You're going to wait another thirty minutes? They don't open until 6:30."

"They said they would open at 6:00."

I hoped that, knowing they had another 30 minutes to wait they would pack it in and leave, but they continued to wait, and I continued to pace.

When the manager came outside to put up the "NOW OPEN" signs, he asked if I was Winter, as he had recognized me from my web site. But I still had to keep waiting.

Finally, at 6:20, the manager waved me over and welcomed me into the store. YAY!!! FIRST CUSTOMER!!!



Later that day, down in Philly, I found myself taking 52nd Street for the first time--it's denoted as West Philly's Main Street (big up to my man Will Smith).

I was headed to the Bala Cynwd store, where I got a kick out of being recognized by a barista who said she had seen me at a bunch of different Starbucks, mostly down in the Baltimore area. She seemed to get around a lot, like me.


March 2

The pressure that Jodi was feeling to participate in the documentary finally boiled over. Much drama ensued.


The Reunification Tour

February 25

A last-minute Scrabble dilemma compelled me to Michigan, and I decided to take Monday off and make a mini Starbucks tour out of it.


February 26

After a disappointing performance at the tournament in Farmington, I sped west, into the sunset (literally, on a clear day) to visit two new stores just west of Grand Rapids before continuing on to meet Jodi in Tinley Park. Unfortunately, Bill would not be driving in to get footage of me, because Jodi did not want to participate, and it just wasn't worth it for him to drive 20 hours from Nebraska to shoot only a few hours of footage after Jodi left.

I stealthed Muskegon, but since I hadn't even finished my coffee, in cup #40, by the time I reached Holland I went ahead and introduced myself to the manager. He seemed pleased to meet me, and I got a kick out of that. Because I was working, which meant I had money, but less time, I had been stealthing more and more stores and forgoing the recognition that was sometimes very rewarding.


February 27

Breakfast at Wheatfield's, a well-known Chicagoland restaurant, where the fresh orange juice was excellent, as were the eggs, even if I didn't buy into that whole double-yolk-egg thing.



I dragged Jodi with me (or, as she put it, held her captive) as I visited three new stores in Chicago proper. The first, at Chicago and Wabash, was worth the wait for its location in a colorful old building. It had shown up on the Starbucks web site more than a year earlier, but every time I called a nearby store to ask for info I was told it was still in the process of being converted from an SBC. I did a slight double-take when I walked in and a barista said "Look at you, Nancy Drew, wearing a Starbucks shirt". I should have asked her what that meant, because days later I'd still be wondering about the reference.

There were four others new stores in the burbs, but Jodi wanted to do something touristy, so we headed to the Science and Technology Museum, only to find a ticket line that was at least 30 minutes long, if not an hour. Since we had not much more than that before Jodi had to head back to Springfield, we had no choice but to head back to Tinley Park. We spent the rest of our brief time together at the cleverly-named The Egg-n-I.



Then it was time once again for yet another premature farewell, and I headed west towards Aurora. I felt extremely sleepy, and increasingly dizzy, and I couldn't figure out why, because I'd slept around 8 hours and had plenty of coffee already. On top of that, rain didn't help.

More coffee than I needed at the Chicago Premium Outlets because I spotted new cups, #39 and #41. Whee!!!

No more Tradewinds in Speedway??? Distress.

On the way back to the interstate from the new Kenosha store, I decided to be a good citizen of the world and give White Castle one more try. I learned that the burgers there were not referred to as "sliders" on the menu, only informally by customers. I also was surprised that they were cross-promoting with the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, recently out on DVD, given that the movie wasn't exactly "family friendly". But it was about as funny as I expected--I liked it. The bacon cheeseburger though--still sucked.

In West Allis (where I signed an apron), I thought it was just drizzle, but by the time I reached Brookfield it was clearly snow, and in the few minutes it took me to get a sample coffee and use the restroom it was clear the snow was getting heavier. I was worried, not about whether I'd reach Appleton, but more about how long it would take me to get back if the snow was heavy in the wee hours of the morning before the plows, traffic, and sun had a chance to clear it away.

I made it to Grafton with no problem, but shortly after continuing north towards Appleton on SR-57 I started to get really sleepy. I didn't see any place that seemed suitable for parking until Plymouth, where there was a wayside. But parking was prohibited from 10:00 to 6:00, so I continued on and spotted a Wal-Mart Supercenter. I had to sleep, but I worried that the snow would get worse before I reached Appleton.

No sooner had I settled into the parking lot than kiwiistic urger forced me to get up. I didn't feel like going into the Wal-Mart so I just drove over to a construction site. A returned to try and sleep, and around midnight a phone call woke me. I had slept enough that I decided to keep driving, all the way into Appleton, where I settled down in some neighborhood near one of the two new Starbucks.


February 28

I woke up and stepped outside the car around 6:00 AM. It wasn't light out yet, not this far north, and I could see a light on in a house across the street. Suddenly the light went off. I wasn't sure if I had been spotted, and I didn't want to take any chances, so I just headed over to the Starbucks parking lot to sleep some more.

I ended up with a free DoubleShot from the Starbucks because the barista couldn't find it on the register. I downed it after a scone, with the intention that the caffeine would kick in and wake me up after about an hour.

Kein schnee, aber there was plenty of ice, and I almost took a tumble while taking a photograph of the store.

After obtaining a sample I the second new Appleton store, my farthest point from Maryland before returning, I took a preemptive pain pill because I felt the beginnings of a headache.

After visiting a new store, I had a chance to relax in Madison with an excellent massage, during which the therapist raved about the Numa Numa dance. Not that the 1 1/2 detour made much of a difference, but it was only when I left and saw the time that I realized I had completely forgotten the Chicago rush hour. I should have visited the two Appleton stores at 5:30 AM and hauled ass through Madison and Janesville. As it was, I looked at my map over and over to try and guess which route through Chicagoland would be best.

Yay!!! Tradewinds at Speedway in Dyer, Indiana. Boo!!! Stupid man delaying the checkout line with some wack form of payment.

When traffic on I-80 towards Indiana started to back up I hoped to save time by taking SR-394 down to US-30 through Dyer and Schererville. Mighta worked

on i-65 wreck in oppossing lanes, further down fire truck stopped right in front of us wrecked truck, ppl so STUIPID, ice on bridge past fire truck, further down sitll, over turned truck and a jacknife semi--like the apocalypse

mergadeth on station rock out og lafayette

closer to 2 indy, 2 more wrecks STUPID PEOPLE!!!

nd anotjher onme-- fucking MORONS

anderson about 15 of 11, just in time, snowing, smaller road out to i-70


February 29

With a long drive to Maryland still, I slept as much as I needed, until 7:38, but it might have been just a few minutes too long. 500 miles in winter weather would take me 7-8 hours at best, putting me at work at 2-3 PM. My estimates turned out to be irrelevant, because one my worst driving fears was finally realized.

The snow was light and not sticking--nevertheless, somewhere west of Columbus, just past Springfield a mile before the exit to SR-56, traffic came to a dead stop. I put the car in park, bundled up, and walked over to the shoulder just as a state trooper drove past. It was hard to see for the light snow, but there it was, an eighteen-wheeler jackknifed, across both lanes from what it looked like. And just a mile from an exit, but it might as well have been ten miles. So I had no choice but to sit there.

It took at least 10 minutes, I think, for fire trucks and ambulances to arrive, requiring me, the truck behind me, and other vehicles to squeeze towards the left lane.

I worked on my log and listened to 91.3, which, after NPR, played an electic mix of music, so I wasn't miserable as I sat there, for over an hour. But it was looking unlikely that it would be worth going into work, though I really needed to at least make an appearance so I could claim my per diem. I walked over to the shoulder again, and the truck had not yet been moved. It's going to be a loooong wait, I thought.

After nearly two hours of waiting, I had to go find a spot down next to the ditch and make the snow yellow, I guess to the amusement of some dumbass trucker who honked. Then I walked down to where the truck was, just for lack of anything better to do. On the way back, I got the cold sleet/rain/snow right in my face, which turned numb by the time I returned to my car.

A little over two hours into the disaster, I was really glad I'd picked up an apple and banana along with a power bar at the Meijer before getting on the interstate. Some guy who had jogged up to the truck came back telling other drivers something as he jogged back. I couldn't hear what he said, he I took another peek at the truck and it finally appeared to have moved some, perhaps enough to let one lane through!

2 1/2 hours

heaviest snow

pilot

i ain't most ppl, stand on counter

YAY ME!!! I finally remembered to take I-470 around Wheeling, WV, to avoid the 45 MPH limit on I-70 through the city.



February 20

After spending the night at my cousin's in Yorktown Heights, I got up early and headed down to Briarcliff Manor to visit the store there. I was trying to decide whether to introduce myself and ask for a sample, and I was also checking for a wireless network, when one of the partners walked by and said "Can I help you sir." Something about her tone of voice struck me the wrong way, and I decided to just pay for my coffee and leave incognito. Plus, I needed a tall anyway, not simply four ounces.



February 19

In the morning, Bill drove back from Hartford again, this time to interview my cousin who lived in nearby Yorktown Heights, and to film us interacting, because a side benefit of my project was that the traveling allowed me to visit more with cousins and friends across the country that I would otherwise never or only rarely see.

During lunch, I went up to the New Fairfield store. I wanted to say hi to the manager who had e-mailed me months earlier, but I missed her because, the night before, I had called the store and been told she would be coming in after 10:00 AM. Well, she had been there earlier, and had left just before I arrived. Another disappointed fan.

That night, Bill came by to interview me one more time, this time about the pyschology students, and we also got footage of visiting a local Latin American restaurant, something I seek out wherever I travel.



February 18

I drove up to Danbury for a big Scrabble tournament, which would be intermingled on Friday and Saturday with filming on the documentary. After the nights three games, Bill, who had flown into Hartford, met me at the hotel in Danbury for an interview and some footage of me looking for a place to sleep and then getting ready for bed.


February 12

AARRGHH!!!

I never would have believed that I could be beaten out by a little old lady.

I left work all excited about being the first customer at South Doylestown. I took advantage of the trip to stop at a soul food restaurant in Baltimore, Gamba's, and then I studied Scrabble at a nearby store until they closed at 9:30. I drove up to the service area in Delaware, and I set my alarm to give me plenty of time to reach Starbucks by about 5:30.



I got up and started driving before my alarm. Because I had plenty of time, I dawdled and decided to take 611 through the city and avoid the tolls on the I-476. Mistake. I hit light after light after light, and I started to worried that I wouldn't make it on time. Thankfully, when I got on the other side of the turnpike I sped up, though I only had 20 minutes 'til 5:00.

I almost blew past the shopping center, but I spotted a Starbucks sign in the window and quickly swerved into the parking lot, across it, and into a space. But my sense of relief was short-lived because when I jumped out of the car I saw someone in front of the store, and old lady. I shouted to her that the store wasn't going to open for a while yet (15 minutes), hoping she would leave. But then one of the partners, the manager perhaps, opened the door and said "Come on in." I scooted into the store in front of the lady, but then I heard the manager excitedly say to another partner--"she wanted to be the first customer." Rats! It wasn't a coincidence, and anyhow even if I had gotten in the door first the lady was technically in line before me, so I couldn't legitimately claim first customerhood and still sleep at night.

The store had not gotten any DoubleShots, so I ordered a coffee. But then I thought about it, and decided what was the point since I could be first--I might as well wait 'til I wake up again. So I told the barista to forget it, and she dumped out the coffee. Then I changed my mind again and figured since I was already there why not be second. So I got the coffee anyway.



After some time in the restroom I came out to see other people arriving, apparently friends of the ladies. It semed like they were having a party over next to the fireplace. Several more showed up. Geez, it was 6:00 AM on a Saturday and these people, six in all, were gathering like it was afternoon tea. But I was just being grouchy because I'd been beaten out.

I walked out to the car to get my laptop so I could get my rancor down on paper. I overheard the old bat say "I think I woke up at 5:00", and I immediately thought--fucking bitch, I woke up at 3:00!!! A thousand Egyptian (the most powerful kind) curses on your bones! That's it, from now on I'm parking my ass right in front of the door at midnight!

I was about to leave and try to lose my despair in the land of dreams when I remembered I needed some water. I asked for some at the counter, and for some reason I happened to mention that I was tired because I'd driven up from Maryland. This must have jogged the memory of one of the partners, because she suddenly asked if I was the one visiting all the Starbucks. Well, all of a sudden my seemingly wasted trip improved. Both the partner who recognized me and the manager seemed genuinely excited to have me there, asking lots of questions and bidding me sign an autograph.

One of the partners had told the group in the corner about me, and the old lady said I should have told her I had come from Maryland, that she would have let me go first. I explained that, according to the honor system adopted by the Starbucks First Customer society, the first person in line gets the prize. She won fair and square.

I slept out in the parking lot for over three hours before getting up to photograph the store. I had left my coffee inside, and I went in for another and got to meet the district managers of that district and an adjoining one.

Before I left, I asked the starstruck barista about a place for breakfast or a bagel in Doylestown. I pulled in front of McGlinchey's first, but as it happened Kasey Chambers was performing on XPN--I wanted to listen so I forwent the sit-down and headed down to the Bagel Barrel. Needless to say, I kept a keen eye out for Doylesdown PD, out and about in their suburbans. You know a city's got money when all the cops drive suburbans, and cops in an affluent city tend to be hard on the have-nots.

I grabbed my bagel sandwich and headed west on 313 to Quakertown. Proving once more that I, too, can be slow on the uptake, it wasn't until I reached the town, at 11:27 AM, that I realized its name might have something to do with the Quakers. Ya think? The Starbucks was on Westend Blvd, and when I reached the intersection and saw a sign for Allentown, 16 miles--Billy Joel lyrics instantly sprung to mind.



February 9

I discovered the new Starbucks in Doylestown opens on Saturday morning, which gives me opportunity to be the first customer. Knowing that Doylestown is an affluent community, I anticipated that I might be hassled by the police if they discovered me sleeping in my car, and I decided to do some research. First I tried to check municode.com, but the site was down. So I went directly to the Doylestown and Bucks County web sites but could not find any municipal or county codes. So I called the Doylestown Police Department and spoke to an officer who transferred me to the chief of police who stated that there is no ordinance against sleeping in a car, and that I could not be charged with trespassing unless some kind of notice was given. But he also guaranteed me that if officers discovered me, they would investigate.

Later that night, I drove to dowtown Silver Spring for an interview with a man writing a book about coffee.


February 6

By the time I felt I had gotten my fill of sleep, it was past 9:00, and it didn't look like I'd finish my reshoots in time to make it back to Silver Spring for the Pedro Almodovar film Kika in time. I got online and reread the description--it was a farce, and it didn't sound like a movie I seek out, Almodovar or no. I decided to skip it and take my time on the reshoots, and then maybe head out to some new stores in PA.



I decided to try for another photo of 33rd and 10th, in the Associated Press building, which I had previously only been able to shoot from behind a column, out of sight of security. I went in and saw that there was only one security guard, and I considered just rushing in, taking the photo, and rushing out. I'm sure I could have gotten away with it. But I decided to try a little subterfuge first. I asked security if there was a restroom. I had to go back to my car to get my ID, and I had to leave it at the desk instead of just signing in, which worried me in case I was spotted. But when I returned from the restroom I was hidden behind a wall and was able to get a shot, blurry, but that showed the Starbucks better.

The next store, at 45th and 6th, I was able to shoot from across the street. I spotted the security guard outside on the sidewalk with his day-glo lime green jacket right away. And when I took out my camera, he took spotted me immediately. He looked at me, and then moved off into a corner by the doors. He took out a phone and started dialing. I moved down the sidewalk for another angle, and his eyes followed. I continue to shoot, and he went inside and I could see him talking to the other guards at the desk and pointing towards me.

Just around the corner was another Starbucks, one that I had had to get permission from security to visit, but only been able to get photo of the building from across the street. But I had noticed a big Starbucks logo on the wall, visible from the sidewalk, and since then I'd had the idea to go back and see if my camera could capture it through the revolving doors. It worked, though I hope to do better with a digital SLR and zoom lens in the future.

At the next store, 1675 Broadway, I noticed a cool sign reading "Broadway" high above and to the side of the Starbucks. I wanted to include it in the shot, but when I backed up far enough the sunlight washed the letters out. I once again though how cool it would be to spend several weeks during some summer doing nothing but running up and down Manhattan at different times of the day in order to get the best possible photo of each store.

I debated whether to leave for PA right away or remain in Manhattan and work on my site. In an ideal world, I would have time to hang out at every Starbucks in Manhattan (in the world, actually) and get a feel for it. But I don't think I'll live forever. And in Manhattan, parking was an added difficulty. So when I stumbled across a broken meter (free parking) in front of the store at 95th and Broadway, I jumped at the chance to hang out there for free.

Park of the appeal of hanging out at Starbucks is, of course, the chance to meet people. The first person I noticed was a cute girl sitting close to me, close because the store was pretty small. I tried to make chit-chat, but all I got back was nervous laughter.

I continued to sort through the day's photos, download some tunes from Erasure's new album, Nightbird, chat with Jodi, and take care of other miscellaneous tasks, including checking for new store listings for NY and the surrounding states. I discovered a new store in Wayne, NJ, and called a nearby store to learn it wouldn't open 'til March. But the guy sitting at the counter next to my table, who I think would be perfect for Jodi once she comes to her senses and dumps me for good, overheard and was curious as to why I was calling another Starbucks. He asked if was the guy going around visiting all the Starbucks. We got into a lengthy conversation about my project, and he had some interesting ideas. The one he seemed to like the most was to revisit each Starbucks and determine its personality and then "nickname" it. The idea was, of course impractical, even if I never visited a new store again in my life. There were just too many. But I had to appreciate that the guy was taking so much interest in my project.

After a couple of hours, I decided to put off heading out to Quakerstown, PA, and instead take advantage of my being in Manhattan to get some more Scrabble practice at the informal Sunday club. Even thought I had decided to refocus my efforts on my Starbucks project over Scrabble in 2005, I still had to balance the two. After club, I realized it wouldn't have been a good idea to go out to Quakerstown anyway, because the new Doylestown would not open until Friday, and it made sense to visit the two on the same trip.


February 5

After the tournament I grabbed a DoubleShot from the new store at 34th and Park for consumption a few hours later, right before a screening of Blue Velvet at the Sunshine. After the movie it was already 2:30 AM, so I figured I might as well stick around 'til the morning and photograph the store in daylight, and reshoot some other stores too. So I once again had occasion to engage in one of my favorite activities, sleeping in my car on the streets of New York. Being out there in the midst of the City's vibrance makes me feel so... alive!


February 4

Finally made it to Vineland. I'd planned to visit during the Atlantic City tournament, the previous week, but I was forced to skip it. So I pulled up my map and calculated that it would only be a 45-mile detour to Vineland on the way up to my tournament in Bayside.


January 23

Ah, I just didn't feel like driving up to work, so I decided to go on a mini tour of Starbucks to see if could find any more quotes cups. At the fourth store a partner explained to me that he thought the entire region received the same batch of cups, so I figured I was just wasting my time.

The Colorado Kitchen: biscuits tasty, but small. Grits have cheese and garlic. Eggs have an odd taste--not unpleasant, but I prefer plain eggs.

Later in the day, I almost screwed up big time. Just as I had visualised and feared for years, I finally dropped the spare key that I use to lock the car when I leave the engine running, and I dropped it right over a sewer grate. Thankfully, the gaps were narrow, and it did not slip through, because that would have sucked hard. On a Sunday afternoon, with my phone in the car, and with the temperature below freezing. I just know of these days it's going to happen for real, and I'm going to have to shell out 50 bucks for someone to come jimmy the lock. I really need to get a third key to carry around in my pants pocket at all times.



January 15

I forgot about Casi Cielo and returned to the same Starbucks instead of thinking to call around and find out serving a different blend. Once I reached the store and saw the listing for the coffee of the day, I made a few calls, but all I found different in the area was Christmas Blend, which I don't like enough to drive far out of my way.

A brochure I saw during my Florida trip, and later an online article, alerted me to a change Starbucks was making to their paper cups, the printing of small writings by selected personalities. I had been looking forward to the new cups, and I finally saw my first one. The quote, from Roger Ebert: "A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it."

The quote kind of eased the disappointment over the Casi Cielo, but not really.



January 14

As I drove back to the office after picking up my daily cup of coffee I thought it tasted a little funny. I didn't like it. When I reached the office I called the store to find out what blend it was, and I learned it was a new blend, from Guatemala, Casi Cielo.



January 9

Shortly after I arrived in Elkridge I received an e-mail from a lady about a new Starbucks in DC at 8th and F. When I called a nearby store to get a phone number I learned there was no such new store, but that there was a new one at a nearby intersection. 2 1/2 months later, that new store was still not listed on the web site, and I had forgotten exactly where it was. Well, I finally had a free day during the weekend when not off traveling or playing Scrabble, and I decided to head down to DC to visit the new store. What I learned, from calling Liberty Place, was that the newest store in that area was at 7th and E. Because there are so many stores in DC at letter/number intersections, it did not immediately register, but it became apparent as soon as I arrived that it was one I had visited during the summer with the reporter from the Washington Post Magazine.

Oh, well, I'm the last person that would cry because there wasn't a new Starbucks. Less work for me.

Even though I had a lot to do, I wasn't upset about wasting time driving into DC because one of the tasks on my list for the day was to catch up one one or two movies, and at the top of my list was The Woodsman playing at the nearby E Street Cinema. With an hour before the movie, and an rapidly intensifying withdrawal headache, I needed to find a nearby Starbucks. I picked the one at 9th and G simply because it had T-Mobile and a parking space not too far. When I entered, I immediately started looking for a power outlet. I went to the back of the store, found nothing, and when I turned around one of the baristas was starting keenly at me.

It's sad to say, but it's happened to many times for me to just chalk it up as a fluke, that I am treated with more suspicion at Starbucks (and businesses in general) staffed by minorities that by whites. It's not like I've done a study or anything, but if I had to guess, I would say that the degree of suspicion with with I'm treated correlates with the level of homeless and crime in the area. So if I think back, there probably has been no different in the way and blacks and white baristas look at me if I only consider suburban stores--it's at the stores in economically depressed areas where I sense the difference.

I sat facing the picture window because that's where I could plug in my laptop, and occasionally I would glance at the passers-by. One older lady, apparently homeless from the way she was toting a bunch of stuff in a bag (oh, right, a bag lady) had her head covered in a black hood, and in profile her face resembled that of the Emperor from the Star Wars movies.



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