The clamorous sounds and flurry of activity from lunch have dissipated as people have gone to class, leaving only those students who are on free periods. The largest group of these consists of seniors who have congregated around two of the rectangular tables, while only one person, Ian B, occupies the senior lounge. It’s fifth period, and the atrium is a very subdued place. While the table group is engaged in loud conversation, Ian seems rather bored, forced to occupy himself with games on his phone. The monotony is broken briefly by Phil, who skips mischievously over to the window separating the atrium from the quiet room, and peers sneakily but awkwardly in at its occupants. Jacob enters the scene and engages Ian in a brief conversation about their senior seminar classes. He then comes over to me and expresses that he is “extremely bored right now.” Perhaps this boredom is typical of students free at this time, as when Olay saw me taking notes for Journalism, he said: “I wish I was in that class,” suggesting that he too was bored. It seems that coming off the excitement of lunch, students are much more prone to boredom and sluggishness.
It’s the contrast of students sipping 2 litres of pink Brisk lemonade to the wrinkled women with grocery carts that gives the Van Ness area such a unique semblance. Sitting on the concrete steps in front of 7-11 and Sushi Para I observed the mix of people who walked by my post. Van Ness is not a destination Metro stop; a few stores within a few blocks of each other and the two schools are the only things to attract visitors, so why do they keep coming? At a quarter to two a blonde walked out of Sushi Para with a Louis Vuitton handbag, followed shortly by a rushed man with a steaming taquito box that cost him $1.00. A light Pekingese in a sweater meandered into the scene and in response a nearby student at Edmund Burke School commented that “There’s a lot of rich people [in Van Ness], and then there’s us and the people who go to UDC.” Perhaps the Mercedes parked next to the ever present “Road Work Ahead” sign embodies the bustling work of the area mixed with leisure, class, and Pekingese.
It is unsurprising that Starbucks would fall victim to nautical mishap: its name derives from a character in Moby Dick. From Monday, November 12th, at 8 AM, until Thursday the 15th, at 11:30 AM, the Starbucks Coffee in Van Ness, a regular haunt of Burke students and teachers alike, was closed for “plumbing issues.” A water pipe elsewhere in the building collapsed, leading to a failure of the various plumbing installations in the building. The fallout from this incident was rumored to be disastrous. The floor drains, supposedly, began to regurgitate dirty water, and Starbucks’ district manager, Lauren Esveld, would not speak in detail about the conditions in the restrooms. It will suffice to say that it was “gross.”
This calamitous event was not only gross, but inconvenient. The closure led to the loss of an estimated $10,000, and countless customers were left disgruntled and groggy. Lauren, the manager, said that they were mostly understanding, and happy to receive the free coffee that diligent employees gave out during the day. Although there was free coffee, it might have turned to ashes in some people’s mouths because it was not a Pumpkin Spice Latte, the most popular item on the menu.
Throughout the closure, customers would peer in the windows anxiously while shadowy figures moved around within, perhaps preparing to reopen, or perhaps doing something more nefarious; it was impossible to tell. The only part of Starbucks where you could see clearly what was going on was the pastry cabinet, where gloved and ungloved hands (disembodied) would reach in and adjust the pastries.
Chris Jones, a self-styled “Starbucks-aholic,” describes how difficult it is to be deprived of Starbucks. He once spent an entire year, as a New Year’s resolution, eschewing Starbucks. As soon as a year passed, Chris immediately slipped back into his Starbucks habit. Melanie Brill, a student, performed a small, joyous dance maneuver (Beyoncé inspired) when she saw that Starbucks had returned to business. Clearly, overpriced coffee deprivation is more challenging than you would expect. Any hot beverage enthusiast will assure you that coffee at 7-11 is simply not as good.
The closure is not without its benefits. One passerby admitted that they smoked fewer cigarettes because of the closure. By both addicts and dilettantes, the re-opening of Starbucks was heralded with delight.
Watching the people in line outside Burke, waiting to vote in the 32nd precinct, I noticed that almost everyone was on their Smartphone. I even witnessed one individual asking Siri who to vote for. What has this world come to when voters are making their decisions right before entering the voting booth??
Henceforth, The Cageliner will now post online! Rejoice, plebians, for no longer must you search for the print issue. Keep an eye on this space.
Jeffrey Robb (Burke ’10) was a lotta fun while at Burke. Such fun included his excellent Burke-themed comic strip – The Organization, which you can find right here on Burke.Word (he’s still waiting on those royalty checks). Unnamed sources (meaning I can’t say who’s mom told me) now tell your humble scribe and school yenta, that the tradition of fun continues as Jeffrey concludes his second year at Muhlenberg College. Jeffrey is a company member of a somewhat rogue comedy troop called “Fun With Science” (you can tell their roguishness by the number of beards in the troop). In one of their recent videos, Fun With Randy, they somehow extorted the President of the College, Peyton Randolph Helm, to come play with them outside. Like most things Jeffrey does – you’ll love it.
With apologies to Queen: We are the champions, my friends. We kept on fighting ’til the end. We are the Champions. We are the Cham….” Well, you get the picture.
2012 is a banner year for the Burke Middle School Softball Team! Last year, this scrappy team came in a promising second place in what turned out to be a harbinger (AP English word) for this year’s run through the playoffs. From spring training, until the final out on a long throw from Valerie to Sophia filling in for Esme, this team and this season has been special. So special, in fact, that Sports historians, softball sabermatricians, and Burke graybeards are all looking into whether this is the first Sports Banner ever for a Burke Middle School team.
With seven strong innings by pitcher, Catherine W…. and
Patient, solid hitting against a very strong Sandy Spring pitcher…and
Clockwork-like fielding, Burke played it calm and cool, like it has all season, to bring home the win, 6-1.
The season-capping win came before an SRO crowd comprised of parents, friends, many alums, and a bleacher-full of softball-loving faculty fans, including Bob K., Ginger, Monica, Susan, Guy, Judith, Michelle (and Chase), Wendell, and Daniel (channeling Casey Stengel).
Special thanks for such a special season go to all the coaches: JD, Sam, Shala, and, of course, coach/team mascot Adam K.
Last, but not least, thanks for all the great action photos go to Holly Johnson!