Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Eliot inspires, worries people at Pensacola Starbucks

Our Starbucks clientele at the north end of Pensacola (the Ferry Pass area) received Friday's T. S. Eliot readings rather well, or at least better than I expected. We didn't have any screaming or bursting into tears, although I think one of my co-workers (we call each other "partners," which is almost a little creepy) came close. In fact, most of our customers cheerily accepted my somber orations with something approaching approval, and nearly all signs of bafflement or irritation were swept under the rug of courtesy. Pensacola, you made me proud!

I tried to avoid the morbid and macabre, but I discovered that this is not so easy with Eliot, or at least not with the sets of his poetry in my collection. The phrase "unreal city" kept catching my eye as I scanned the pages for more uplifting verse. Pensacola, anyone? Surely, Eliot is talking about Pensacola.

My, er, partners were slow to take up the mantle of the bard, leaving me the bulk of the recitation duties. However, despite some aversion to "The Wasteland," they were inspired to contribute their own poetic creations in the form of satirical haiku. Aha! Individual creativity unleashed in the corporate service industry. Who would have guessed? The Apocalypse must be nigh.

All in all, Friday night at Starbucks achieved a most lyrical and transcendent quality as patrons and partners alike felt their spirits lifted by the likes of "The Hollow Men." The following evening with Yeats, William Carlos Williams, and Solzhenitsyn did not fare so well. Evidently, this city has its limits.


Sarah Providence said...

I'm curious how you pulled this off. Surely, it must have pleased a good number of them to have such an unexpected surprise with their coffee.

I, Bill Clifton... said...

I basically yelled at them while they waited for their drinks. Most of them seemed amused, perhaps even edified. I may have even started a "poetry night" tradition at our store. Of course, as an Englishmen once informed me, you can't actually start a tradition. Traditions are formed like stalagtites.