Now back to my regularly scheduled, yet randomly written post:
At first it was special, in the way that an intimate moment in a public setting with an almost-complete-stranger-turned-casual-acquaintance can be.
Last year, after we’d drop TP off at CCD (which means: I have no idea. something something, sunday school), we’d head over to Starbucks to kill the time and enjoy a latte.
A bonus to our Sunday latte was Nicholas.* After a few visits, Nicholas started to call us by name, making us feel special and valued, exactly the way the CEO of Starbucks intended when he mandated that customer service training.
This went on for a while, and it was great. I started showing up on weekdays, just to see if Nicholas would be there to welcome me and write my name, spelled correctly with a “C” and not a “K”, on my cup. I have to admit I felt sort of cool being known by a few of the baristas. Like I had finally “made it” in the world of unemployed artists, retired professors and rich young people with unexplained income who populate my Starbucks of choice. I was high on self-esteem and espresso.
And then: One Sunday, after dropping all 3 kids at CCD (again, no idea what that stands for, but trust me, its religious), we walked into our favorite Starbucks to the sound of Nicholas calling our names AND filling up our post-consumer cardboard cups with “the usual.”
Except that’s not what we were going to order. It’s true that we usually order a Grande bold and Tall Decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte—but that’s not what we had in mind at the moment. And it’s true that Nicholas was only trying to provide the utmost in customer service by having the drinks practically ready for us before we reached the counter, but…
For weeks John had been avoiding him because he would pour the Grande Bold before John could get to the counter to order. And sometimes John likes a Vanilla latte, or this toffee thing that I can never remember the name of. John would hover outside ducked under some greenery while I stood in line, hoping to order something different.
Until now I had managed to avoid being pigeon-holed by one drink, but it seemed Nicholas had decided I was doomed to a life of Pumpkin Spice Latte, never again to behold my second favorite order: Nonfat Chai Tea Latte! As long as Nicholas is working, when I approach the counter I can only dream of what I might order and then whisper, “Nevermind.”
And so, sigh, now when we go to Starbucks, John and I are forced to endure “the usual.” Which, when compared with digging a ditch into frozen tundra at gunpoint, I mean–I guess I’ll take it.
It’s a hard life.
*Nicholas is not his real name, but I promise I took great pains to choose a pseudonym that would accurately conjure the same feeling as his real name, so that you could enjoy an authentic “blog about nothing” experience.