some of my guiltiest (no longer secret) pleasures

Starbucks coffee - the guiltiest pleasure of allThe biggest guilty pleasure of my current existence can be seen, clearly and undeniably, in the photo.

If you’ve lived in the UK for the past couple of years or so, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Starbucks has been involved in lots of the stuff I mentioned in my previous post today as far as the downsides of transnational corporatism is concerned.

It’s a problem not because I’m an envious soul, unhappy that others should concentrate their wealth.  That’s not the issue.  The issue, far more, is that if a large company in a liberal society and economy has the right to take advantage of community infrastructures (road networks, health services, the education establishments that bring up future consumers), it surely has the obligation to contribute reasonably to their building, running, maintenance and repair.

Yet here I am, sensuously enjoying my guilty pleasure.  Yup.  Starbucks’ Espresso Dark Roast beans make one of the coffees I’d forego almost any other pleasure for.

That’s how conflicted a person I am.

I’m ordered, by the more coherent in my society, to challenge through boycott the evils of such carelessnesses to local economies.  I don’t, in fact, where I have the choice, go to Starbucks’ coffee shops any more as a result.

But I found discounted these coffee beans in Tesco before Christmas.  And since then, I’ve been hooked.

In the absence of another favourite coffee of mine – Portuguese torrefacto coffee (beans darkly roasted in sugar until they look like shiny black beetles …) – I give in to my guilty secret.  A secret which is secret no more.

Actually, I wonder if this a wider habit amongst us older ones who still profess to a social conscience, but who find boycotting this and that – tracking which company or organisation needs to be added to an ever-growing list – as tiring as I am sure they desire, plan and expect it to be.

And in politics as much as in consumerism: after all, you may in public proclaim how disgraceful that new racist splinter party is – and yet very much in private, maybe not even to a spouse or close friend, find yourself agreeing with many of its so-called principles.

That’s how far our democracy seems to be falling, I’m afraid.

Politically, I don’t think it’s my case.

But business-wise, as you can see, I have fallen.

Other secret pleasures I’m prepared to reveal?  Hmm.  That’s an interesting question.

I love the sound of cicadas in the pine trees on Adriatic islands, as handsome people, smelling of sun-tan lotion, walk by on their way to the beach.

Handsome by virtue of their ways of being as well as their physical presences.

Handsome by virtue of their “couldn’t care less” attitudes.

It’s my body and I’ll shake it as I wish …

I also love reading the thoughts of intelligent people, as they go out on a limb and demand that something cannot be so.

I love the limbs they go out on; love to imagine them as literal limbs too!

I love wondering if one day I might be so firm; so concrete; so resolute in all I think and do.

I love imagining myself in a place where I could do real good – even as I find myself without the means to do anything of permanent value for anything but my nearest and dearest.

A social context, I suppose, is what I am looking for.

A social place to be.

And finally, I cannot not remember how, in my life of relative ordinariness, I have had some days of genuine splendour – days which I feel privileged to have known; days I shall never forget; days I shall always treasure as long as I am able to do so.

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