I spent much of Christmas morning twitching uncontrollably, and wondering if there was a chance that the Starbucks at the end of Academy Road was open. While we own a crappy generic drip coffee maker, it has never once produced a cup of coffee that was close to being “good.” Lukewarm, vaguely coffee tasting water comes from it, and unless I’m stranded for several days without ready access to places that sling espresso, it stays turned off. Hubs and I both prefer a good espresso based drink, be it an Americano (that’s espresso + hot water for you non-coffee types) or a cappuccino (espresso + some milk + lots of milk foam) and are willing to pay for it. Yes, we realize we should invest in a good machine, and will probably do so soon. Until then, we have Starbucks.
While Starbucks is not, by any scope of the imagination, a bastion of great coffee, it more than fills the void. It’s also close to our house. It is on a coffee stratosphere higher than a double double. As it turns out, Starbucks can also be relied upon to be a heathen, Godless, greedy corporate entity which was open (with limited hours) on December 25th. I pretty much teleported myself from the dining room in my house into their store, upon finding out from their website that they were open for business. S’bucks was also wall-t0-wall packed with other coffee addicts, shaking like junkies and signing off on the sale of their soul for a grande peppermint mocha. I ordered two Venti * Skinny* Cappuccinos, and gladly handed them the deed to my house to pay for it (I gave them the last of my blood plasma the day before.)
I meandered over to the pick up counter area, which, was strangely devoid of caffeine addled addicts. They were all chugging back on their liquid elixir of love, pounding on laptops fiendishly, and prattling on endlessly about whatever thesis they were working on to bored partners. There had been a woman and child ahead of me in the line, but I hadn’t paid attention to what they ordered, and they were seated together on a plush chaise near the door. I leaned on the counter like a boozehound in a honky tonk, waiting for the bartender to push my order across the counter. The young male barista wordlessly pushed the first cappuccino across the counter, and I eagerly snatched it, doused it with cinnamon and vanilla sprinkles, and started tonguing the delicious foam off the top. I continued licking and slurping at the drink, enjoying it as perversely as possible, waiting for the other one to take home to hubby. The barista had also put a plastic spoon on the counter, so I used that to start digging out the fragrant foam. Around that time, I noticed someone standing next to me, looking at me oddly. It was the woman with the kid.
People look at me oddly all the time.
I kept licking at the spoon.
Which was right about when I realized that the drink I was ravishing was not a venti.
It was a grande.
As I spun the drink to look at the order hieroglyphics on the side of the cup, to see if they screwed my order up, the barista pushed two venti cappuccinos across the counter.
I looked at the comparatively smaller coffee that I was cradling. I looked at the two vats sitting in front of me. I looked at the woman staring at me. I looked down at her kid who had a yogurt and no spoon.
I had stolen and orally abused HER drink.
Quick! You look like an asshole! Think of something witty!
“I’m so, so, so sorry. I’m jetlagged from coming back from Europe and wasn’t thinking.”
Which is when I brilliantly held out the spoon for her to take.
She looked skeptical, but bemused.
The barista, realizing that he’d failed to call the drinks, stepped in and said “Oh, this happens A LOT. I’ll make you a new one, ma’am.”
She said “I’ll need a new spoon too.”
Me: “Oh. God. I’m so sorry. I think my kids need to go back to school – I can’t believe they’re home until the 9th of January! Those lucky teachers get to kick back and relax!”
Her: “My husband is a teacher.”
….and slunk out.