The 10 People You Meet in Starbucks (while studying for the Bar)

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time studying in Starbucks for the past two months now, ever since Randy sent me a message all the way from Bacolod saying: “araw araw ako nag-aaral sa coffee shop bro, pinapayaman ko na yung Starbucks dito sa amin. “ I guess that was a wake up call of sorts. That inspired me to go to the nearest Starbucks branch no to study, but to help that branch raise its revenue (good karma motherfuckers).

It’s done wonders for my bar review, as I’ve been able to finish reading books in record time  (relative to Trian Lauang standards of course). Left to my own devices at home, I’d finish a dismal 20 pages per day, tops. The only problem in studying in Starbucks is I’m very easily distracted. My attention span is shorter than the Brooklyn Nets’ championship window (goodbye Truth and KG!). It doesn’t help that I really have this habit of “Sherlocking” other people (aka observing total strangers and giving intelligent guesses on who they are and what they’re up to with the help of my tremendous powers of deduction and judgmental prejudice). So without further ado, here are the 10 people I’ve met in my Academic Adventures in Starbucks and their supposed stories according to my Holmesian Powers of Deduction:

just like this, but a little less Benedict Cumberbatch-y and a lot more douchebaggy.  photo from

just like this, but a little less Benedict Cumberbatch-y and a lot more douchebaggy.
photo from

1. the Douchey Networking Guy- jock, single stud on one ear, Miami Heat fan, megaphone voice. I hate this guy. Kept harping to his recruits about the wonders of Multi-Level Marketing and his supposedly profound knowledge gained from reading Robert Kiyosaki books like “the Secret” and “the Power”. Even called up one of his friends who was a Spurs fan to rub in the Game 6 Finals loss. What a douche. Wasn’t able to read past 10 pages with this guy around. I hate this guy, but I wish him well. I hope he ends up becoming a very successful seller…of balut.

2. the College Girl playing Hooky (not Hooker)- I’ve seen this girl a couple of times. Around 1st-2nd year college, from a royal pontifical university in Espana. First time I saw her, classes got suspended because of the bad weather. At around 4p.m. her friends arrived and asked her why she hasn’t gone home yet. Told them that she told her mom her class ends at 6p.m. everyday (and every person who’s ever been a student knows, longer school hours = bigger allowance), so she can’t go home for the next 2 hours. Nice. Kabataan ang Pag-asa ng Bayan!

3 &4. the Clandestine Senior Citizen Duo- two Senior citizens who meet every afternoon in the exact same table almost everytime. One of them seems like a retired old businessman and the other guy seems to be working for him, most likely either a bodyguard or former police/military. Seems like Senior citizen #1 is involved in some lawsuit, and Senior citizen #2 is doing some investigation or leg work for him. They’re fine old gentlemen, but I hate the third person in their posse…

5. the Cute Little Grandson of Clandestine Senior Citizen #1 who I would really love to Clothesline- reminds me a little of myself when I was young: cute, curious, and a little smart-ass for his age. Seeing him run around the coffee shop really makes me reminisce…and makes me want to strangle him with my shoelaces. I’d love to give him a Stan Hansen Lariat.

6. the Guy Who Stays Longer than I Do- the gold standard for length of stay in a coffee shop. No matter how early I go to Starbucks he’s always there when I arrive, and no matter how late I leave he’s always still there. Looks kinda 90s slacker-y: wears a loose unbuttoned polo over a t-shirt, loose pants, brown shoes. I think he’s a work away from home kinda guy, either a programmer or a graphic designer. One time I saw him sleeping on the couch for hours. When he finally woke up, he turned on his laptop and started watching Les Miserables. Gotta love the guy. Livin’ the life!

7. our Pastor- he doesn’t recognize me because I barely go to Church. Praise the Lord for that.

8. 3 Korean Girls- early teens, raised in the U.S., studying in an International School in Metro Manila. These girls reminded me of Arc and Pat and our trip to Korea. Biggest problem the three of us had when we were Korea was that the only native we met who spoke English (or at least was willing to talk to us in English) was Phil (who despite his awesomeness, unfortunately does not posses a vagina so he doesn’t count) and the two Korean guys from New Zealand we met while drinking soju. If only we saw these girls there, we could’ve at least gone home telling everyone that we got to talk to some Korean girls. Too bad for us, especially ol’ Won-ho, the only English the Korean girls we spoke to over there knew were “sorry, I don’t understand”, “foreigner”, and “no English”. Oh well.

Amusing exchange I heard when a 50-something guy approached them and asked if he could share a table with them, to which they graciously agreed to do (despite the creepiness of the request, given that there were a lot of unoccupied tables and chairs in the cafe).

Man: (blurts out of nowhere, while the girls were having their own conversation) Where you from?

Girls: Korea.

Man: North or South?

Girls: (laughs at the absurdity of the question and the obvious KSP moves of the old guy)

Man: Oh I thought it was North.

Girls: Yeah, we escaped.

9. Fellow Bar Reviewee Marv Haduca- I’ve only seen him here once, but he seems to be really popular there. All the baristas and guards know him by name, and when they found out that I’m from ALS immediately ask me if I knew him. Congrats bro, you’re a Starbucks Superstar! You’re a SuperStarB!

10. That sneaky, prejudiced, little asshole who’s judging everybody and thinks he’s better than everyone- oh wait, that’s me.

Et tu, Douche?

Et tu, Douche?



7 thoughts on “The 10 People You Meet in Starbucks (while studying for the Bar)

    • thanks bro. if i don’t pass the bar maybe i can have a career as the Bill Simmons of Legal Blogging. he’s the Sports Guy, I’m the Law Guy. hahaha. those guys at cracked are gonna eat me alive :))

  1. Pingback: The 10 People You Meet at Starbucks While Studying for the Bar | the desertion

    • oh, i see. so which state’s bar exams are you taking? i guess that’s one of the major differences between legal practice here and there: over here we have a single exam for the entire country, while over there different states have separate exams. haha. i bet a lot of filipino law students would take an exam with a high passing rate at a boring state than go through the torture of taking a tougher exam at a “more exciting” state.

      and yeah, the bar’s really tough over here since unlike most licensure exams you can only take it once per year. last year’s passing rate was brutal, it was the lowest in a decade. they seem to be changing the format every year (there are years when it’s mostly essay, or mostly multiple choice, or sometimes split), so i guess that also contributes to the difficulty level. as for the non-passers, i know quite a couple of them from my school. most of them re-take the bar until they pass (though we have a three strike rule, so they really have to pass on their third take at the latest). some who choose not to re-take it or who’ve struck out, get jobs in government or business. i’m not sure about those from other schools though. sucks that being a paralegal isn’t really a profession over here, so that can’t be a backup plan for non-passers.

      • I’m taking Arizona’s bar exams, but with a sufficiently high score, I can be admitted to practice law in 10 different states. There is a relatively new arrangement that is starting up around here. It is called the Uniform Bar Exam, and 10 states have joined to administer the same exam. What’s unique about some states here, is that you can take one bar exam and a good score can qualify you for all 10 states. But each state sets its own passing score, even though the exam is exactly the same between the 10 states. For the cost of a law school education, it would really suck to have to settle for a paralegal career. Paralegals need no formal education – they can learn just by on-the-job training. The average salary for paralegals is nothing compared to average salary for attorneys. So to pay upwards of $200,000 USD for a legal education to make $40,000 per year as a paralegal as opposed to $120,000 or more per year as an attorney…well, you get the point.

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