I remember the halcyon days of my freshman year: I would walk through the glass doors into the dim entryway of Au Bon Pain, clutching my bag in front of me as I put in my order. Then, when it was filled, I would bolt back out to the world of red-brick formality, my heart still racing from those few furious moments of proletarian life.
But those days are over! The only place in Harvard Square that had not been remodeled to match its bourgeois neighbors is officially no more—and I hate it.
ABP is now yet another café where students and professors whip out their laptops and novels while drinking black espresso and eat a turkey sandwich with light mayo, American cheese and no bread. Instead of talking to themselves, everyone is now whispering sweet nothings to their iPhones. There are no more sparrows tapping on the glass as they try to escape. And the bathroom—wait for it—is clean.
Au Bon Pain used to be the ironic twist in a town where every other café has its own special name for a Café au Lait. With the fanciest name—because it’s French—and the grungiest clientele, ABP was a pithy contradiction. But it too has fallen into the trap of the middle-upper class university town.