Doctors say repeated exposure to the smell of espresso and indie folk music were the cause of death for Hannah Hirsh, a 23-year-old Brooklyn resident who died on Thursday.
Hirsh reportedly spent 40 hours a week in BROWN, a coffee shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Employees estimate she may have been exposed to the same Lumineers Pandora station for as many as six days in a row. Barista Corey Paulsen says, “She was in here more than any of the employees. I actually thought she was the owner.”
Friends say Hirsh had been looking for part-time work on Craigslist, researching potential MFA programs, and working on some short stories. On March 3rd she tweeted: “Any of you ever submitted to the New Yorker before? Is it hard?” followed by a tweet to a friend on the next day that read, “Do you ever let people guest post on your blog? I’ve got some ideas.”
Experts recommend rotating among independent coffee shops in order to limit exposure to exposed brick and black-and-white photographs, which may cause people to develop an inflated sense of their own creative abilities. In studies, participants subjected to the smell of espresso over extended periods have exhibited symptoms of pretentiousness, ambivalence, and lack of ambition. “Compounded, the various stimuli at coffee shops can result in even greater mental deterioration, which may eventually result in death,” says Dr. Joseph Weathers of Harvard University. “Ideally, you should just work from home and avoid the risk.”
In memoriam, employees are keeping a chalk drawing of Hirsch up on the sandwich board outside the shop for the next week, or until it rains.