Well, I suppose not so easy if you're living in Texas this summer. But finally we've had some summer weather here in New York. You know, 80℉ and a bit of humidity. I've actually turned a little fan on in my bedroom!
And one little luxury in summer is slipping into a bed with clean cotton sheets then sliding your legs and feet around, searching for those cool cotton patches under the covers. Much easier than chopping cotton at harvest time in heat and dust.
A fan in summer and cool cotton sheets: Now THAT's livin' easy!
Seldom do I go shopping, but today I went to Eastview Mall in Victor, NY for something specific. Victor, NY is saturated with upper middle class snots, and Eastview Mall is where the "upscale" stores are in the Rochester area. Whatever.
In the center of the mall is a Starbucks. Ever since I didn't get hired by them, I've pretty much boycotted Starbucks. That's not hard to do since their coffee tastes like burnt cardboard on a good day. Just my opinion, but taste buds tell the story. Do I sound bitter? Almost as bitter as their coffee!
Anyway, I was in the mood for one of those green icy thingys they make at Starbucks. So I waited in line with the snots and their snotty offspring. When my turn came to place my order I asked the "barista" if they still made those "green tea slappychinos". Without breaking a hint of a smile, he said to me as if he thought he was being educational, "We make a green tea FRAPPAchino." I said to him, "That was a joke....nevermind." I asked for a large. He rephrased that by asking me "You mean 'Grande'?" If anyone needed to be bitchslapped it was this guy. Let's call him "Buck".
There were three of these "Starbuckians" working today. (YES, they're called that by corporate, but that's another essay!) And NEVER once did I see them smile. Not once! Guess their sense of humor is in the stars.
Two years ago I was in a local Starbucks. The three following pieces were written with a sense of humor as I sat and observed the surroundings. It was part of my research. After all, I was to have several interviews with the company at that time. Guess I wasn't "Starbuckian" enough.
July 15, 2009
Note: All three selections from the chapbook "manic muse and other observations", 2007.
That's a bumper sticker. You see it all over Western New York. "Ithaca Is Gorges". It is a beautiful part of the state: A small college town at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes area of central New York.
I was working night shifts in Ithaca for the past week. Reporting for work at 9pm, I saw some very beautiful sunset skys around 8:45 pm. By 5am the first hint of the Earth revolving was an ever-so-faint blue sky crawling over the hills from the east. On the face of those hills sits Cornell University, still dark and sleeping. Leaving the parking lot at 6am yesterday, I snapped a few photos with my cell phone of the streaking sunlight shooting over those same hills. Sunrise in this town of fewer than 30,000 people is quite stunning, cheesy bumper stickers notwithstanding!
Rick Burnett Baker currently is self-employed as a narrative photographer, and is a member of the National Press Photographer's Association (NPPA). Baker, a native Texan, is a graduate of State University of New York (Albany) with a BA in Asian Studies, (minor in classical Chinese literature), a Graduate Certificate in US Urban Policy, and a Masters (MRP) in Regional and Urban Planning, Third World. He has worked with a mining company in Honduras, with a civil engineering firm in Saudi Arabia, and traveled andworked throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Northern Africa with Halliburton for nearly a decade, based out of Singapore. During his years living in Singapore he was also known for his radio and television voice-over work. Baker returned to the US in 1985 to complete academic interests and continues to live in New York.