Is the coffeehouse aesthetic dead?|Military Bubble

This is a bit of a silly post but it still falls under the category of “cool shit I get to do now that I’m out of the Navy”

Like many Millennials I grew up watching Friends.

…which I now realize was probably highly inappropriate for an 8 year old but hey! People think I’m funny now so that’s something.

Specifically, my brain seems to live in the world of Friends and So Little Time where the coffeehouse was one of the primary settings.

I guess it’s another one of those things that I idealized doing when I got out.

I remember going to Ryan’s Bros Coffee stupid early in the morning when my ship was in the shipyards because it was the only area I could get halfway decent parking.

I remember thinking “Man, this place is so cool. In an alternate timeline, in an alternate universe, I’m a freelance writer or a graphic designer and I spend all my time here working on my laptop.”

So since I got sent back on COVID leave I’ve been spending some time writing at a few different coffee places*.

Just the typical chains, Starbucks, Panera, Target, whatever…
Haven’t found a cool, hip, local place yet.

Then I got to thinking, do those places even exist anymore?
And if they do, do people hang out there forever?

I’m at Panera right now and there are very few people here.
Although, I am thankful for the quiet compared to the Starbucks.
I was here when I wrote last week’s post as well.
I guess they really got me with their MyPanera+ Coffee subscription.

Much of the 90s sitcom aesthetic centered around you and your friends hanging out and drinking coffee at a place that, apparently, would never get annoyed or ask you to leave.

With me turning 30 and Katherine turning 10 I’m starting to hit the point where I have absolutely no idea what the kids are talking about nowadays.

Fortnite dances, dabbing, something about Roblox?

I don’t know any of the headliners at the concerts I work security at but I guess it’s better off that way.

I find myself saying words like “webcam” and realizing no one says “webcam” or “digi cam” anymore.

But I feel like it’s a lot more than me just getting old and gradually uncool-er by the minute.

I lived in what I called a “military bubble” for much of my adult life.

The Military Bubble

The term “military bubble” comes from my friend Lee who never understood our pop culture references in high school because her parents were hippies who raised her in a “60s bubble”.

I didn’t realize that when I graduated high school I’d be entering a bubble of my own.

When I got out of boot camp it felt like I had been in there for decades.
It was 2009 and the one piece of news that happened to make it to the inside was that apparently Tiger Woods cheated on his wife?

I got to “A” school and had several questions:
1) Why does everyone have tiny laptops? (netbooks)
2) What are these weird ass rubber bands everyone is wearing around their wrists? (Silly Bands)
3) Who the hell is Justin Bieber? (…Justin Bieber)

This is a common pattern that would repeat throughout my career as, with every deployment, I would get stuffed back into that military bubble. has their own definition which works too.

Coming back from my 2015 deployment to see kids playing with hoverboards and drones was probably the weirdest thing for me.

Inside the Military Bubble you don’t get very much pop culture news unless the ultra slow mobile version of Facebook allows it. Or you’re lucky enough to have family and friends who email you.

Extra lucky if they write you letters through snail mail and send you care packages.

Anyway, I guess all I wanted to say is that I feel like my pop culture references are a few decades behind. My brain is stuck in Windows 98 and I need to upgrade to Windows 10 (I know we’re on 11 now, let’s take it slow ok?)

The constant stream of SpongeBob references I have in my head could only work for so long.

Albeit, they do have a ridiculously long shelf life in a nautical setting like a US warship.

I thought about segueing this into a post about how the  Navy as a community is several decades behind in a lot of other categories but I’ll leave it for now because I’ll be late for my COVID test otherwise.

Stay safe, wash your hands.


*It should be noted that while I did get sent back on COVID leave, I no longer have COVID.
I had it in the beginning of the month but I still have a cough so my job didn’t want me around which is understandable. I am being responsible with my coffeehouse adventures, masked up, socially distanced, sitting outside when I can, etc.

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