Thursday, September 13, 2012

Coffee philosopher

During the week I generally get my swill coffee from McDonald's (no one can ever accuse me of being a coffee snob). It's hot and full of caffeine, the two most important considerations at o-dark-thirty.

This morning I felt the need for something nicer. Since the closest drive through Starbucks is both in the exact opposite direction from work and far from a freeway ramp, I thought I'd head to the Starbucks on campus.

If you didn't know Starbucks does indeed close for about six hours each night, you would think the blurry eyed grad students had been there overnight. A half dozen or so were draped over the tables, large coffees, laptops and textbooks strewn in front of them. Warmed my heart, it did.

Chalkboards, poised for customer scribbles, line one wall of the shop. One held incomprehensible (to me, anyway) formulas, but pretty arabic script covered part of the middle one. We've a fairly sizeable collection of middle eastern students (though why you would trade the heat of the desert for the snow and ice of the upper midwest, I'm not sure) at the university, and as foreign students tend to be, they are a close knit community.

Underneath the script, the translation: Peace in these negative times. Why can't we learn?

Why can't we learn?

For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.
Job 5:6 - 7

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