Starbucks. I have been known to pride myself, (largely delusionally) on being one of the many, the salt of the earth, without pretense, airs or sense of entitlement. Of course in reality I am ALL of those things and then some. The ABIB is your basic alienated, effete urban snob and like so many others of my ilk cannot get enough coffee. I've said before in this blog that I do love a good cuppa and that my daily routine, God help me, includes the local Dunkin' Donuts drive "thru". What I'm about to tell you now is that on the weekends, being the good urbanite that I am, what I truly and deeply crave is: a venti Starbucks latte.
So here we are, at the crux of my deepest fear: I am, indeed, one of THEM. I just used the words "venti" and "latte" in the same sentence. The fact that I used them at all fills me with a deep and abiding dread and makes me just a wee bit nauseous. But they're DELICIOUS. I love their foamy tops and the creamy steamed milk that perfectly blends with the strong espresso. Excuse me, I have to go puke.
Thanks, I'm back. Anyway, I figure that the penance I pay (and rightfully so) for being such a Starbucks whore, is, well...Starbucks. Is there a more dreadful place on earth than any given Starbucks on any urban street in America? If you've ever been in one you'll know that the answer to that is an unequivocal: OH, HELLS NO!
You know the drill: you get in line to place your order and immediately you realize that for the forseeable future you are going to have to listen to the latest urban-cool music which has no discernable words but does have a digeradoo playing in the background. The music quickly becoming a milquetoasty nuisance, the next thing you notice is that you are literally surrounded on all sides by the scariest people on earth. The person (you think its a person) right in front of you is a woman who is wearing jeans that have a crease (they've been fucking ironed, but not by her, you can bet your ass), are approximately a size one and are just the right level of faded to make them look "hip". Which, on this woman, is the only reason you would ever use the word "hip". She's wearing the latest six hundred dollar pointy-toed, designer high heels and her hair is coiffed to within an inch of it's life. Her nails are perfectly manicured (you can see them because she keeps reaching back to fluff her hair) and she's wearing sunglasses inside. In February. At 5:00 PM. Also, she's talking in a constant, low-level stream into the Bluetoof earpiece of her Blackberry-enabled, five hundred dollar cell phone.
Everyone in there looks like her, except you, in your sweats and your sensible Birkenstocks and your pulled back hair, unwashed beneath last year's Disney World baseball cap. The sounds you hear are almost too much to bear, as voices sing out: "double espresso, triple skim, decaf latte, two Equals" and "cinnamon machiatto with a shot, low fat soy, four Splendas", and "vanilla frappachino, no whipped cream, half ice, half skim", and...and...and God help the poor sucker who gets up to the counter and orders the unthinkable: "a large coffee, please". A thunderclap of silence as everyone swivels in place to look at this alien in their midst, and they all take a single step back to give him a little bit wider berth. His uncool vibe, his plain, sad sack demeanor, his utterly unassuming taste could be, godforbid, contagious! He actually blushes with shame and you feel a certain kinship, a deep empathy (run for your life you poor sucker!!), but you dare not speak as he shuffles out, head down, eyes averted. You dare not because you're still waiting for your delicious, dirty little secret in the shape of a cup full of milky foam. It's that bad.
And it feels like if you don't get your fix soon your head will explode from the psychic dissonance of actually BEING inside the Starbucks, waiting with all of these CREATURES who never, ever, ever stop being obnoxious and nattering about nothing, "I told her that her daughter needs to get into the group, her CHI is out of wack and it's not helping the other kids at all at nap time".
I guess I deserve it. What can I say? I'm a ho for a good latte; we all gotta pay for our sins. And inside your head the chanting begins: "one of us! one of us! gooble gobble! gooble gobble!"