It’s lunchtime in America. In the Starbucks Coffee — next to the Fox News building at 1211 Avenue of the Americas — employees of Fox News, the scourge of journalism and an aneurysm in the age of information, gather to get coffee, spill all their drinks, and generally be debased, perverted versions of real-life people.
A gaggle of Nordic-looking women with flowing blond hair pulled, seemingly, from a 1982 issue of Playboy, stumble into the establishment, girlishly giggling about their day, about who is “cute,” and about “the shutdown.”
“I don’t get it,” says one woman. “They shut down because of Obama, right?” She makes more in a year than everyone working at the coffee shop combined. She orders a Chocolate Chai Tea Latte with the vim and vigor of a flat tire. Her lanyard dips perilously close to the tip jar as she orders, yet she tips nothing. Several employees bearing News Corp badges refuse to clean up entirely, pushing and shoving other patrons out of the way in a wave of cologne and uninterrupted hubris.
Another woman picks up a napkin to wipe her hands, but in turn spills the whole stack. She looks at them, and doesn’t do anything. She walks away. I am left to clean up her mess. The employees make their drinks as if in slow motion, their movements signaling a waking nightmare just below the surface. It’s as if, should one of them accidentally prick their fingers, that a glorious white light of righteous outrage would shoot out, killing the Fox News employees in a hail of self-awareness.
“I like Brad!” blurts out a woman, seemingly to nobody, as if only saying it to validate her place in the universe.
A youngish man looking uncomfortable in a suit one size too big, as if he had borrowed it from his father, orders a Caramel Macchiato. He is handed the drink and devours it, piping hot, in less than 30 seconds. He gets back in line and orders another. His tangible self-hatred dances perilously close to the surface. He high-fives another man, then a woman. Perhaps they know each other. Perhaps they don’t. Perhaps the only thing they have left is the empty, hollow movements of celebration: a high five here, a small “whoop” there. Maybe they don’t know what they are winning, or even what game they are playing, poisoning American minds with the kind of misinformation so dark and dire that I wonder, aloud, to whoever will listen to me in this dead zone of honest thought near the News Corp Building, that maybe we’d all be better off walking into the heavy mid-afternoon traffic and laying down in the middle of the road just to escape this mortal coil.
Two businessmen talk about Banana Republic and how they “love their clothes” because “they’re businessy but I can wear them to the bar.” Their mouths flap like sad flags in a bored storm. Their shirts are all tucked into their pants. I wonder if any of them have ever realized a dream, or to what point they’ve managed to fail upwards: making thousands of dollars at being terrible.
“Nice to meet me,” says another man, without a shred of irony.