I have just come back from visiting one of the two coffee shops at the edge of the universe. Ever since I started this job, I've been meaning to visit one or both of them, since they happen to be just a couple miles from where I work. I'm not just saying that the end of the universe sits within a short drive of my office because I want to be strange or metaphysical. I'm not speaking metaphorically, either. Today, I really did have lunch in the spot where the universe ends. I know, because comedian Lewis Black
said so in one of his standup shows on Comedy Central, and if you can't trust a standup comedian about this sort of thing, then who can you trust?
Louis Black did not give the location of the place where the universe ends, saying only that he had discovered it and that it is in Houston, Texas. He said he was surprised that it was here, but no one who has lived in Houston would even raise an eyebrow to learn such a thing. Houston is a quirky place, a sprawling city of over 4 million people that most of the world forgets even exists. It's exactly the sort of low-key area that would be home to such an important find. As a public service, I will tell you exact location, in case you ever want to seek it out. The end of the universe is in an upscale and artsy part of the city, where sophisticated, beautiful people rub elbows with their own ilk. It is in zip code 77019, at the intersection of Shepherd Drive and West Gray Street. Now you know. While you are in the area, you may as well stop by the River Oaks Theater, which is the last place in Houston where you can still catch the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with a full-costumed cast acting out the movie infront of the screen, and an audience that tosses toast in the air and gets up to dance The Time Warp
What Mr. Black found so profound about this intersection, and what convinced him that this is truly the end of the universe, is that on the south side of West Gray at Shepherd, there is a Starbucks coffee shop, that at first glance looks like any other Starbucks coffee shop. But immediately across the street from it, the first thing you see when you step out of this Starbucks is...get this...yet another Starbucks. I can verify that this is true, for I was in the southernmost Starbucks this afternoon, gazing northward at the other Starbucks. One Starbucks is mostly white, with black trim. The other Starbucks is mostly black, with white trim. There they sit, within a stone's throw of each other. You could walk from one to the other in a few short steps, if you were brave or foolhardy enough to cross West Gray on foot (I don't advise it, though).
And how does the coffee taste at the end of the universe? I am sad to say that it tastes about the same as it does anywhere else, and because the coffee at the end of the universe is served in a Starbucks, it is more than a little overpriced. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * # * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~