Last night I went to Starbucks to do some reading. “Why go all the way to Starbucks?” you ask. Well, there are several reasons. First of all, I am physically incapable of getting work done in my house, because there are cats to pet, Law and Order reruns to watch, food to eat, and floors to be vacuumed, all of which should really be done before I can start reading/writing/learning by osmosis. Second, I guess I could stay in my office after 5 and get work done in the comfort of my own cheap uncomfortable chair. But, then there’s the internet – that temptress, that wealth of information and entertainment. The internet cannot be denied. The internet WILL NOT BE IGNORED.
Plus! Home and the office just can’t offer what Starbucks can – the opportunity to needlessly spend money on a beautifully branded consumable item. I don’t love Starbucks for the coffee. In fact, Starbucks coffee is sort of gross and way too acidic and hurts the ulcer I gave myself in college taking 15 ibuprofen a day washing it down with cheap vodka. No, I love Starbucks for the trendiness. I love it for its wonderful green logo and its soft music and its comfy chairs that are never, ever available. I love it for its ubiquitousness, because when you’re feeling the urge to spend money on something, you can always find a Starbucks nearby. I love it for its legalized method for getting drugs into the human body.
So, last night, off I went to the shiny new Starbucks, which is just outside the Safeway that also just happens to have a Starbucks INSIDE IT (and if Safeway starts giving out coupons for a free Starbucks drink for every $50 spent in their store again this summer, Reasons Why I Love the Overpriced, Overcrowded Canton Safeway will have to be a post of its own) with the very noble intentions of spending money and getting some work done. I waited in line at the counter, trying to decide what I should order. Caramel Macchiato? Café Latte? Café Americano? But when my turn finally came, I just blurted out “Grande regular coffee, please” because I don’t really know what all those other drinks are, or even what they mean. There is no description of them on the price chart because, duh! Anyone who’s anyone is BORN knowing the particular ingredients of every Starbucks drink. Now just hand over your money.
Sometimes when I order a regular coffee, the employees respond with a question, like “room?” which I now know means, do you want them to leave you room to put in milk, or “regular or decaf?” which means “do you like drugs or don’t you.” I’m ready for those questions. I’m down with the Starbucks lingo. I’m trendy. I SWEAR I DIDN’T MEAN WHAT I SAID ABOUT YOUR COFFEE BEING SORT OF GROSS NOW PLEASE JUST SELL ME SOMETHING! But this person in a green apron said something I’d never heard before, and for a split second, I was terrified. “Huh?” I said. “We’re just brewing a fresh pot,” she repeated, while rolling her eyes exaggeratedly, “If you can just wait a few minutes, it’ll be ready soon and the coffee’s on us. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
I was dumbfounded. I had never imagined such a wonderful scenario could possibly be true. I got my caffeine. I got my work done. I even got a comfy chair, which turned out not to be very comfortable at all, and I quickly abandoned it for a drafty table by the window. And I got it all for free. Tell me there’s more to life than that.