The Cell Phone Samaritan

NYC

I was immersed in work one night at Starbucks when I heard a loud, raspy voice call out, “Excuse me, you dropped your phone!”

Instinctively, I looked to the floor for my pink case before I heard a woman say “thanks!” She reached under the table and picked up her iPhone. The man seemed to appreciate her appreciation and started chatting with her.

“Just today this guy dropped his phone outside. I called a number and got through to someone,” he said to the woman and the young man she was with, tone friendly as if they’d spoken before. “A $400 phone, and no thank you, nothing. I waited for an hour outside Rockefeller Center, too. Unbelievable.”

His anger became other customers’ anger, and soon four or five people in the store shook their heads in unison. It was the first time I’d seen everyone in Starbucks engaged in the same conversation.

“Next time it happens, I’ll throw the phone in the garbage can. I’ll throw it out!” The man was standing now.

“Do it!” cheered the young man with the woman who had dropped her phone. The woman smiled, offering her approval. Even the baristas momentarily abandoned their shop-closing duties to listen to what was going on.

Finally the man sat down, pleased with his good deed for the day.

I can only hope what goes around comes around for this Cell Phone Samaritan—even in a city where phones seem to evaporate the second they’re left alone.

Cover photo: “OR” by Thomas Leuthard/ http://thomas.leuthard.photography/

Caffeine Culture

COFFEE, FOOD & DRINK, NOTRE DAME, OPINION, PHOTOGRAPHY, PUBLISHED WORK

Published in The Observer

If you’re anything like my friends and me, Starbucks downs your flex points just about as fast as you down its tall vanilla lattes.

I don’t even drink coffee just to stay awake. There are so many other great reasons to grab a cup: to fill an awkward break between classes, to catch up with friends, to procrastinate studying and to keep warm when the temperature goes subzero.

We live in a caffeine culture, and the ridiculously long coffee lines between classes prove that. You can even tell a lot about a person based on their caffeine preference.

We have the Waddicks types, who linger at the coveted red booths, reading Chaucer or discussing philosophy, slowly sipping large pumpkin spice coffees.

You know someone’s got a long day when their tumbler is filled to the brim with Grab and Go coffee and secured in the net pocket of a protruding backpack.

And then there are those who are perpetually holding Starbucks — never straight coffee but always with an excess of adjectives like nonfat, extra whip, unsweetened, light ice and no foam.

I may be stereotyping, but at Notre Dame getting coffee is a more social thing for girls than for guys. You are much more likely to see four PW girls in LaFun gossiping over coffee, than to see four Siegfried guys crowded around a Burger King table, chatting and sipping their nonfat lattes.

On the other hand, unlike guys, girls don’t typically purchase energy drinks to have fun with their friends. Let’s take the case of Five-Hour Energy shots. Girls never brag about taking them. In fact, most girls will down them in the privacy of a Subway booth or in their own rooms. But when guys pop open that small bottle, they have to broadcast it to whoever they pass by. It’s always like, “Dude, I’m so ridiculously awake now, I just took a Five-Hour Energy. Love that stuff.”

Addiction? Possibly. Problem? Not really.

But the Five-Hour Energy shot poured into the coffee? Yes, I’ve seen it done. Now that’s a problem.

At Notre Dame, we like to think that while we “play hard” on the weekends, during the weekdays we are studious, diligent and in control. However, our coffee drinking habits are oddly reminiscent of our weekend drinking habits. Why else would we order a double shot of espresso on a Monday morning, or claim that “one more cup” of coffee won’t hurt us? Why else would we suffer through headaches at 11 a.m., just because we didn’t have that morning cup?

Whether you’re a social coffee drinker, a caffeine addict, or, gasp, you “don’t like coffee,” there’s no denying that we live in a caffeine culture.

Of course, there are those out there who claim to survive without any caffeine at all. On good, old-fashioned sleep, they say. I still think there has got to be some method to that madness, but for now, more power to them.

Europe, through coffee

COFFEE, FOOD & DRINK, PHOTOGRAPHY

I don’t know what it is about coffee. I like to drink it, I like to write about it, I like to photograph it. Coffee has even found its way into my everyday attire by way of those inevitable spills when I’m walking too fast (which is usually.)

Anyway, since I arrived home from Europe a few weeks ago and am feeling particularly nostalgic for those café au laits, I thought this post would be appropriate. I present you: “Coffee Portraits.”

Cafe latte, Venice, Italy

Cafe americano, Salzburg, Austria

Latte with cinnamon and cocoa powder, outside Windsor Castle, Windsor, UK

Ok, not coffee, but the perfect complement! Salzburg, Austria

Cafe americano, Prague, Czech Republic

The ice coffees in Prague come with ice cream and whipped cream! Amazing.

Cafe au lait, Paris, France

Coffee. Ridgewood, New Jersey.