Nancy Ketchman, a thoughtful reader, submitted this inquiry:
My response: tough one. I have to try not to reply with my instinctive response, as I don't drive across town to visit different coffeehouses, nor do I ever really find myself "just in the neighborhood". There are pretty much ruts in the road (or hiking trail) between my apartment, my office, and the various East Side/Riverwest/Bayshore area coffee shops.
With that qualifier out of the way, my response is that to frequent coffeehouses, you pretty much gotta have money to burn. From a purely financial standpoint, buying coffeehouse coffee makes about as much sense as burning a $5 bill just to watch the flames. I've also formulated the thought lately that liberals go to Alterra (not only, but most especially) to kind of practice their liberalism. In the same way that the seating areas in Starbucks exist largely as an illusion--you're buying the illusion that you have time to sit there--liberals go to Alterra to purchase a little of the cred offered by the tatooed and pierced barista, who, no doubt, is pursuing various forms of alternative lifestyles while the customer sits in his or her cubicle working for the man.