to publik coffee

Today I had a bit of a “snap back to reality” moment with Publik Coffee Roasters, the esteemed local hipster coffee shop of Salt Lake City. There was a time in my life when I was enamored with the hipster ways, but I must say that today I questioned that admiration.

I still stand behind succulents and jean jackets 100%, but as I sat my rump upon the very-not-comfortable iron chair and watched not one but two people spill copious amounts of creamer as they tried to pour it into their tiny hipster cups, I thought to myself: is this really all that cool?

I hereby dismiss peasant bread from this rant

Full disclaimer, I don’t drink coffee, so that very well may be why I stopped feeling the magic today. Maybe good coffee would’ve carried me through.

And another disclaimer to this rant is that Publik sells a certain variety of bread called “peasant bread” (I told you it was hipster) that I will never betray or deny. It is so immensely good. They make their hipster avocado toast on it, but they also sell it by the loaf for a whopping $5.99, to which I say “Take my money.”

Fun fact: In order to make their position in life more tolerable, peasants often rode bicycles with one real wheel in the back and a large wheel fashioned from wheat in the front. They also painted them red, and it all made a lot of sense.

The bread is not in fact made by peasants. It is made in fancy pants Park City with all organic ingredients, so there’s that. Just another classic instance of the affluent feeling down-to-earth by labeling their stuff with working-class terms.

But I can’t complain about it too much because I eat that kind of branding right up (even though I’m not rich).

The artificial garbage music

Now let me begin listing my complaints from today. First off, the music sounded how I imagine H&M clothes combined with Coachella and kombucha would sound if that was music. If our pioneer ancestors had to describe it, they would probably say it is basically alien beeps and human moans.

I tried to like it. I really tried. It just wasn’t working, and it was not conducive to remote work (which is what I was doing there and what I think most everyone else was doing there too).

The goatrider

Next, I had quite an interesting experience obtaining the Wi-Fi password. It was written on no sign that I could see, so I asked the girl behind the counter what it was.

Here is what she said: “The password is “goat,” like the farm animal, the ones you have on a farm. And then “rider,” like you are riding the goat, like a cowboy or something. All lowercase and one word.”

“Thank . . . you.”

Fun fact: Few people know that goats were once used to wrangle cows.

The naive youths

The illusion of coolness was also tarnished by the scene I witnessed of a new employee being trained in the ways of coffee.

“Just press this button here,” his trainer said. “That’s really all there is to it.” So the machines are really the effortlessly cool skilled baristas in this joint—the tattooed youngsters donning Dr. Martens just get all the credit.

At the table next to me, a girl majoring in psychology was babbling on about this and that as if everything in the world was designed to please her and would fall into place without question.

At another table, a student with a curly mohawk laughed as he said “I don’t know—my friends and I all just cheat off of each other.” Awesome. Some people don’t even get to go to college, but you just cheat your way through it because you can. How incredibly cool.

The mailman’s judgement

In the midst of all this, a single mailman entered the building to do himself a widdle in the bathroom. He was an older gentleman with white hair and a slight limp, and he was dressed in full postal uniform.

I’m sure he had been there before, but the look on his face as he surveyed all of it on his way to the bathroom said more than words ever could, and I suddenly felt a strange sense of embarrassment before the mailman.

It was like that feeling you get when you’re playing an imaginary game in the basement and your mom walks in and all at once you realize how very not real and not adult your game is.

Honestly, despite all this, I’ll probably go back. The Wi-Fi is free, that peasant bread is just way too good, and I’m sure as heck not driving all the way to the Kingdom of Park City for it.

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