The closest coffee shop to home is Peet's, down at the bottom of the hill. This is fine with me, because of all the chain coffee shops, I find Peet's to be the most acceptable. BUT, there is something really weird about my Peet's, which is that, for some reason I have yet to understand, it is always teeming with male seminary students.
Now, before I get too far into this post, I want to make it clear that this is not an anti-religion post, nor is is an anti-Pastor Jack post (because, Marcus, you are my baby cousin and if you start blowing hard I can always just tell you to shut it, or distract you by talking about my love affair with If Lucy Fell, or I can bring up the topic of degnoming).
What I want to talk about here is the super weird culture that this creates in the coffee shop. First of all, it is full of dudes hugging, offering to buy one another drinks, and talking about how much they love one another. There are really large, really well-worn bibles on most of the tables. You hear the words, "secular," "outreach," "blessing," and the phrase, "God's will" a whole lot more than you do in most other contexts. There is also a LOT of conversation about mission trips, particularly to Mexico. These conversations are often interrupted by the appearance of yet another seminary student, or sometimes a pastor, and conversation ceases for another round of hugging, I-love-you-man-ing, and discussion about what everyone's mothers and sisters (and wives!) are currently up to. Sometimes the hugs are preceded by an enthusiastic clap shake--you know, the shake that starts like a low-5, but ends in a vigorous shake. Weird.
I don't hate these guys because they are Christians, or because they are evangelists (although I am careful about what I read in front of them because I am sort of terrified about them noticing me and starting a conversation with the phrase, "Do you know G--?"). I sort of hate these guys because, if they weren't seminary students, they would be philosophy majors. They would have equally annoying conversations about Nietzsche and Hegel and Kant and his cows. Instead of having spiky hair and wedding rings, they would all wear black and sport tribal tattoos. They wouldn't carry around bibles, but they would carry around really beat up notebooks that they might journal/do pen and ink drawings in.
Both groups of guys are sort of annoying, but in totally similar ways. I'm more used to hanging out in coffee shops with the Nietzsche guys, and I'm less worried about them trying to convert me (I've got mad philosophy skills that I can shut them up with anyway), so I can tune them out more easily. But I find it almost impossible to grade the huge stack of student essays I have in front of me with the chattering of seminary guys in the background.