Anyone who travels--particularly on business--knows one often has time to kill; back when I worked in politics, I would check out of my hotel, have a meeting or two, but have time either before or after the meeting, before I needed to arrive at the airport. And as business travelers know, the airport is seldom a pleasant place to wait. Sometimes there isn't time for sightseeing or a movie; so one finds a comfortable place to relax, do work, or simply reflect.
Again, back in the day, I found bookstores that helpfully provide comfortable chairs, as well as coffee shops such as Starbucks, suitable for this. Especially on weekdays, the upholstered chairs tend to be available, and the environment is not too noisy.
And, of course, I do like to visit a bookstore and browse and read (basically, I can read a good deal for free!), and to get a really good cup of coffee, albeit rather pricey.
One of the amusing things about Starbucks is listening to the patter as the barrista calls out the completed "drink order" (I want to say, "no, I don't want a 'drink'--I want a coffee."): "no-room double-chai half-soy, half-decaf iced venti Cappuchino" and suchlike. Every once in a while, when there isn't a line of impatient commuters behind me, I enjoy the bemused reaction when I follow the lead of the "menu board" and use Italian: "Vorrei venti Americano, negro, per favore!"; "si, grazie!" "prego!"
Well, as you must have guessed by now, that is where I am at present, enjoying the last of an iced coffee--oh, sorry: "iced venti no-room Americano!" As you may have heard, we've had heavy rain in D.C. the past few days, with cloudbursts coming suddenly; so walking about sightseeing holds little attraction.
Some may accuse me of "going over to the Dark Side," by frequenting Starbucks; "you should go to a local, independent place!" Well, two problems; first, one never knows what one will get at those local places, and I've found that while the coffee is usually as good, sometimes it's even higher-priced! Second, there is the problem of finding those places. As it is, visiting northern Virginia involves quite enough driving when I know where I'm going; I don't relish more. It's the same thing that propelled McDonalds to world-supremacy: travelers who want to find a familiar place, with consistent quality, wherever they go.
When you get a Starbucks and a bookstore together, all you really need is a dormitory somewhere in the back, and one could just move in!