By: Ann Brown
I am in the worst mood today and I took it out on the nice barrista at Starbucks.
Remind me to be nice to him next time I go there. Or at least, remind me to feel bad every time I drive by. Because, as I’ve always told my children, “the important thing is that you feel bad.”
I know he didn’t deserve my bitchiness this morning but he was just bugging me. He had this ridiculous smile where his jaw kinda jutted out a little bit. How can you not hate a person like that? And I think his name was Brian or Sheldon or something upbeat. So fuck him.
Robin and I were in there getting coffee. I was already in kind of a shitty mood because it was a gorgeous autumn day and Robin was being so sweet to me. You see my point.
So this barrista person greets us with his stupid jutted-out jaw smile and says, “are you folks enjoying this beautiful day?” God, I almost bitch slapped him right there and then. First of all, fucking George W Bush ruined the word “folks” for me in the same way that Palin poisoned the word “maverick”, which was one of my top ten favorite words before that douchebag came on the scene. This is a constant source of aggravation for me because there are so many times I want to use the word “maverick” to describe, well, me, and now I can’t.
AAAAIIEEE, God, now I hate that barrista even more. I have no idea why that is, but it’s true. Such is the vitriolic power of the reactionary right to me. Robin gave me his order and went to wait in the car. He knows when to bail.
“Do you have anything FANTASTIC planned for this beautiful afternoon?” says Happy Barrista, presenting his smiley jaw to me as if it were a red-hot monkey’s butt in estrous.
I attempted to mold my mouth into a facsimile of a smile, averted his gaze, and nodded no.
Now, if someone gave me that social cue, I would totally get that they wanted space. So would you. There are some primal rules of the jungle that is Sunday morning at Starbucks, and Mr. Isn’t-It-A-Beautiful-Day better just fucking well get to learning them.
“Really?” he exclaims, “Nothing fun AT ALL? That’s not good!”
Oh my God. What the hell are they teaching them over at Starbucks University? Wasn’t there even one day when the supervisor spent time talking about how to talk to customers? Although, come to think of it, I’ve never been assaulted with that kind of shock and awe cheer by any other barristas so I’m thinking that maybe the problem wasn’t in the training. Maybe BrianSheldon’s mother took a few too many Paxils in her first trimester.
“Nuthin’ much planned,” I managed to mumble. Suddenly, the pastries were beginning to look really good. Suddenly, I needed either a pumpkin scone or a cig or I was gonna blow. There was a whiny toddler behind me. I considered pushing him, just to take the edge off.
“No way! You gotta do something GREAT today!”
I didn’t even look at him. I made myself very busy studying the zipper on my wallet.
“Tell you what,” he says, “how about a coffee on the house?”
A conundrum. Take the freebie and be responsible for a change of attitude or reject the freebie and possibly draw more attention to myself when all I wanted to do was get my fucking coffee, get back into the car and enjoy my shitty mood? Sophie’s Choice, to be sure.
“Sure. Thanks.” I said.
“And how about a muffin? On the house!”
I was beginning to feel a bit more kindly towards him. Maybe the jaw thing was a birth defect. Unfixable.
“OKAY, then! Let’s get our HAPPY on!”
Never mind. He must die.
I slunk into a corner and waited for my drink. All around me, Starbucks life went on, oblivious to my pissy melancholia. Lattes were made, espressos were returned because they were not hot enough, muffins were chosen and reconsidered, sugar free hazelnut syrup was added, refills were given. The after-church crowd arrived brimming with fellowship, the neighborhood skaters left for the skatepark, the serious runners took the outside tables and stretched their calves in the sun, the young dads with their backpacked babies ordered sugar free nonfat mochas – to bring home to their wives, no doubt, in the hopes of earning points for afternoon sex while the baby napped – and climbed manfully into their minivans. Sons of Anarchy, suburb style. Born to be mild.
I added a splash of half and half to my coffee and walked to the door. A young kid held it open for me. I decided to try to be a better person, at least to not be such a bitch to Robin.
“Look,” I said to him, when I got to the car, “I got a freebie coffee for being in a shitty mood. And a muffin.”
Robin checked out my lucre. “Where’s my coffee?” he asked.
He went back into Starbucks while I ate my muffin in the car. I know I should have gone in, but I just didn’t want to.
The important thing is that I feel bad about it.