There’s this stretch of westbound Highway 50 I drive down frequently that seems to exist in some sort of dimensional vortex where two worlds are colliding. These worlds have reached an odd sort of symmetry, a sense of balance that probably makes sense on some kind of cosmic level, but which for the life of me I can’t understand as my car zips past it.
For instance, there are these two 7-Elevens that aren’t even a mile apart. One’s been there for years, the other went up in the last year or so. You stand outside the new one, look down the street, and see the old one casting jealous glances at its newer, shinier neighbor. It likely knows its days are numbered, doomed to fade away in favor of youth and vitality. But for now, the two stores are locked in stasis, drawing just enough customers their respective ways to justify their continued co-existence.
But further east is the epicenter of this effect. There’s a Starbucks on the north side of the street. Not half a mile west, there’s a Starbucks on the south side of the street. And a decent forward pass west of that stands a Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks inside of it. Now it could be that there’s an incredibly high density of coffee drinkers in that area. Or that the collection of shops and businesses is especially taxing and in need of large amounts of caffeine. But I’d like to think a national chain like Starbucks wouldn’t need three separate locations to handle something like that. Maybe there’s some sort of convergence being set up, some tapping into ley lines or drawing of harmonic energies that only mass retailed gourmet coffee can properly channel. If so, I think they’re on top of it.
I know the real answer is likely sprawling commercialization, unchecked growth, corporate greed and consumer laziness. But pretending an episode of Fringe is going on is a whole lot more fun than that.