Philz Coffee

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

It’s my second week here in the Bay Area. I’m sitting in one of the regionally famous Philz Coffees sipping on my Mint Mojito Iced Coffee. According to one of my friends here, that’s the thing to get if you’ve never been to one. I immediately outed myself as a Bay Area Newbie when the barista (do they still call themselves baristas here or is that too passe?) had to flag me down to take my order then had to repeat herself when she asked me if I liked it “sweet and creamy.” After it was served, I was instructed to try it right away and make sure it was perfect. I gave it the verbal thumbs up. That wasn’t the desired response. I immediately flashed back to all the past surveys where my sales/service rep told me I had to rate my experience nothing less than a 5 on everything, lest they befall some horrible fate. I reset my face and took another sip. With a raise of my eyebrows and a big smile, I said it was “perfect.”

The coffee shop consists mostly of a typical 20s-30s crowd glued to their laptop and smartphone screens, like I am now, sitting tightly packed together. Not quite like sardines; more like an overcrowded fish tank. The main seating area is a wooden table with a power strip down the middle. It reminds me of the community dining tables they have at some restaurants. People are crammed right next to one another, but the laptops seem to emit a kind of invisible barrier, not unlike the small privacy barriers between urinals in men’s restrooms. I managed to find myself a comfy little spot on their gray, power strip-less leather couch. The Bay Area is pretty much like this most places, sardines or overcrowded fish tanks, but I’ve been surprised at how dead it can be, even in popular areas, at certain times. The occasional Cal Berkeley girl pops in, dressed like she was just in the middle of running, to get her quick fix. Even the occasional confused Philz Newbie trickles in, making me feel like a seasoned pro with my minutes of experience and seniority over them.

My time here is limited. Unlike my old coffee shops in Denver, this place is not within walking distance of where I live and parking costs $2/hr. And, if you recall Encyclopedia Brown, my couch is power strip-less. It’s not as comfortable as my old haunts, but it’s not bad either. I miss Denver, but there is a ton of opportunity out here and a lot of different things to do. Jim Rohn is famously quoted as saying, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” You’re surrounded by the best-of-the-best in places like the Bay Area, and it inspires you to reach higher than you might elsewhere. I intend to make the most of my time here.

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