April/May 2006 (v8 i6)
Crossing Your Border 1997
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Local coffee shop not inherently pretentious
Music selection, coffee mugs available at Wal-Mart
by Stephen Short, Associate Editor

By municipal order, lifting one’s pinky
constitutes physical labor within Austin
city limits.
AUSTIN — Freshman Neil Samberg ventured into a coffee shop that was not inherently pretentious Thursday evening, as he sought a laid-back environment in which to study for his macroeconomics final.

“I was headed for the PCL when I saw a sign for Arachnid Abode Coffee House,” recalled Samberg. “This gender studies major who lives in my dorm is always talking about it, so I thought I’d go in and check it out.”

Clad in a Rose Bowl championship T-shirt, jean shorts, and knee-high socks with sandals, Samberg noted the “friendly atmosphere” as several patrons flashed him a cursory glance.

“Usually when you walk into a coffee shop, no one acknowledges your presence,” said Samberg. “But this guy in a sweater vest actually took the time to callously gaze at me. That’s special.”

“They were playing Dashboard Confessional on the speakers, too, which is awesome,” said Samberg. “I played acoustic guitar back in high school, so I know where this guy is coming from.”

After admiring a series of portraits near the entrance depicting the devil receiving fellatio from Vice President Cheney, Samberg walked to the counter to order a sandwich and coffee.

“There was nobody in line ahead of me, but the two cashiers working behind the counter were engaged in a lively discussion concerning nouveau post-modern sculpture in Chile from 1964 to 1967, so I let them talk,” explained Samberg. “I was happy to stand there for eight minutes as they finished their debate — it gave me time to choose what kind of coffee I wanted.”

Samberg added: “Those guys sure know their Chilean post-modern sculpture.”

Finally ordering an $8 hummus sandwich and a $5 iced caramel mocha latte with non-dairy soy creamer, Samberg scoured the store for an available seat.

“It didn’t really bother me that every seat was taken. It just means that there’s a heavy demand that the store is meeting,” said Samberg. “As an economics major, I realize that’s free-market capitalism at it’s finest.”

Despite the lack of seating that evening, Samberg fervently endorses Arachnid Abode as an excellent place to eat and study.

“I was choking on a piece of my sandwich, but before I had a chance to ask for help, one of the cashiers jostled me into a wall,” said a grateful Samberg. “I am forever indebted to him. If it weren’t for his quick thinking, I would be dead.”

Arachnid Abode cashier Mark Masonsill clarified Samberg’s account of the incident.

“I was hanging a picture of Ralph Nader above the cash register when I noticed someone holding a Starbucks mug,” recalled Masonsill. “I bolted for the mug, but some inconsiderate dork with corporate clothing was standing in my way.”

Masonsill continued: “I had to shove him to the floor, but I was able to get that Starbucks mug out of here.”

Arachnid Abode patron Jane Ray disagrees with Samberg’s positive review.

“This place has sold out,” complained Ray. “I thought they were playing Dashboard Confessional to be ironic, but when that frat guy with the football shirt came in and started rocking out to the music, they actually turned the volume up and played more of the CD.”

Ray added: “They don’t even use Columbian fair-trade coffee beans.”

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