Took a test Friday (and by Friday I mean two weeks ago Friday). Do these tests measure language, or do they test test taking ability? Or ability to guess? Does the speaking test test speaking ability, or compositional skills? If I don’t have a composition similar to the pattern they want, I could be limited in how high of a level I could reach. I understand that as you reach higher you have to be able to create paragraphs, but if you’re fluent but with sloppy paragraph construction you could be at the same level as someone who still hasn’t learned the word for fence or universe.
I had this discussion with my friend yesterday. It was in the context of Starbuck’s. We’d started into the conversation because one of the coffee shops we frequent recently (earlier this year) went through some renovations, it was closed for a couple of months, and when it reopened all of the staff had changed. At first it was no big deal, but the more we went there the more it became apparent that their outlook on coffee had also changed. They have some pour over coffee making devices (nice, porcelain, probably a $200 set) collecting dust and acting as a sugar packet holder. (Pour over coffee is typically liked by coffee snobs). The baristas seem uninterested and are probably just finding some job to make some cash on the side. Anyway the experience has changed and the coffee has changed. Eventually we talked about Starbuck’s and how so many people like it, despite it having a burnt taste, and I asked, what if we were the ones who’re weird? If so many people like the burnt taste of coffee, if the majority like it that way, isn’t that the standard? What if we’re the ones who are weird in liking small-batch coffee, with roasting in-house or near-house and a short time between the grind and the pour?
I can’t help but keep the disdain and pretentiousness out of my tone, but really why drink starbuck’s? Somewhere along the way, because most people like commercial coffee, and because there is the vocal minority who loudly stick their noses up at Starbuck’s and the like, if I come out and say that I don’t like Starbuck’s I’m branded as either a hipster or elitist or something of that nature. It’s not that I dislike Starbuck’s because of their monopoly. It’s not like I think everyone should share my tastes and preferences and those who don’t are wrong. It’s just that I have a standard for quality and I appreciate people putting effort into what their making. Why buy something if it isn’t even trying to be the best that it can be?
Naturally this let to us noting on how Americans like consistency in certain things. Like produce. And hotels. “New city? Oh let’s just stay at the best western because I know what it’ll be like.” It’s weird how we Americans value pioneers and pride ourselves on having a sense of adventure, but apparently that sense of adventure doesn’t extend to everything.
P.S. I guess after a week and a half I can finally publish this.