Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Of Coffee and Capitalism

Last month, on the 22nd, the cubemate and I planned to go to a Starbucks outlet. She brought along her Starbucks tumbler that day so she could get 50% discount on any beverages. I’m not a coffee person, much less a hard-line Starbucks fan. But I was bored at work and it only took a few footsteps away to get there (okay maybe a few more), so there we went.

As we were walking (and gossiping), we stumbled upon an old lady who was just walking right in front of us. I couldn’t tell how old she was, but she was a legit ‘ibu-ibu’. She was wearing a headscarf, a pair of gray trousers that were rolled up to the length of her ankles and seemed a bit dirty, and I believe, a pair of Swallow sandals. I also noticed that she was carrying a plastic box-like thing, wrapped in a large cloth, which she carried as if it was a sling bag. On her right hand, she carried a pink thermos bottle that looked like it hadn’t been washed for ages (I hoped she cleans the inside regularly, at least). I thought “Oh, she sells beverages. Perhaps mainly to the local ojek persons. And maybe that box she’s carrying consists of coffee sachets and plastic cups”.

We were about to enter the building where the Starbucks was at while the lady kept walking ahead. When we were about to part ways with the lady, I heard some security guards in front of the building greeting her ‘Emak’. Another thinking bubble popped with “Oh, she’s a regular and seems like local people knows her” written on it.

After we got that Starbucks drink, we went back to our cubicle-sweet-cubicle. Back to our work and emails. And reports. And YouTube videos. And Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. And M4m4h D3d3h’s dubsmash parodies.

And back to the thought of that old lady.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that encounter. There was a feeling of pity for her. Mixed with a touch of irony. In front of me, was her, who probably sells her coffees for under 10k. While behind her back, there was me, who was about to splurge 50k for a coffee. 

We were standing very close to each other, yet very distant.

I wanna be rich. I want to have ownership over concrete, tangible fortune that I know I can directly share with people like that lady. And the have nots. And the physically challenged. And those in need.

I just want to do something to other people that I can sense the impact, you know?

Even so, I’m sure she has something that no other person has in this entire world.

Something that makes her one special ‘Emak’.

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