I must confess; at one time I was a latte whore. I didn’t care where I got it or how I got It, as long as I got my Chai latte. It is a weakness of mine that I enjoy, this love for Chai latte; it was love at first sip and its been going strong for a few years.
At first it was a no-brainer; there was no question as to where to get this coveted drink of mine..Starbucks. This is the place for me, I decided. It’s a bit corporate, but so what? I know what I’m getting there.
At Starbucks everyone seems so upwardly mobile, so cute in their colorful new clothes..people with jobs and busy lives. Even the slackers types were busy clicking away with the free Wi Fi. Everyone was happy and smiled and were friendly. I guess that is easy to do when you have a job and extra money for fancy coffees.
I like the music in Starbucks, they play all types. It is the only place where I will hear old jazz tunes from the 40’s my eclectic taste perks to attention on that….Billie Holiday and caffeine? What more do you want?
We started to frequent a particular one, M.M. and I. It seemed the lattes were extra good over there. Frothy and creamy with a swirl of spicy…I am in Latte heaven!
One bright late summer morning last year something happened that at first didn’t seem so bad but then as time went on it got worse. What I am talking about here doesn’t sound so bad until you’ve lived it…I really don’t want to offend anyone by what I say. Especially this group of people but in order I tell my story I must…
I can’t put it any other way than this; It was the cops. We would walk in and there they were, a pack of them. At first I thought; cool, I have always thought of the police as people too, and I have always appreciated the risks they take everyday for us. I am not a criminal, I have no record and I should have nothing to fear from the police. They are brave men and women who serve and protect……….but quite the suspicious bunch.
I felt it right away. I looked at them as people, they looked at me like a criminal. I am really very harmless looking, I bet most of them could take me in a fight. It’s obvious. So I am surprised when one looks at me like a potential threat. I suppose they are trained to be like that, and it’s probably necessary in their book. But I can’t help but be uncomfortable.
It is this reason why they are a “they” and everyone else, including the criminals and me are: “We.” It is also the reason we tried a new place down the street; A laid-back appearing hippie type establishment by the name of Tom and Mary’s. A picture of Tom and Mary graced the sign out front, they looked so nice.. I liked them instantly, even before we met. There was tie-dye everywhere and plastic chairs to sit on. The inside looked like the outside but I thought; so what.
No more cops and no more corporate guilt. I am on the edge now, part of the anti establishment crowd …. A latte revolutionist! Aha!
It was a bit downhill after that though; Tom appeared at least twenty years older in person than he did on the sign. He didn’t smile or even look at us at all. He muttered at us while Mary made the lattes. She wasn’t much friendlier. M.M.’s attempts at some sort of witty banter with her fell flat. We could tell she didn’t take fools gladly. Mary was not the laid back hippie princess on the sign, she was a mean old witch. Yikes! The lines on her face told the story.
The place was empty and silent as a tomb. A pimply toucan faced man with a tiny little dog walked in and chatted it up with Tom and Mary who, apparently liked him better than us. I got the impression that this place didn’t cotton to outsiders who looked like Starbucks people. I think it was my purple lipstick and Prada bag but I didn’t feel a part of the whole groove anymore.. My dreams of being a revolutionist dashed, I sighed and tried the drink. It was good, I wanted it to be damn awful, I wanted to spit it out and run back to Starbucks. right then and there.
We went back a couple of times but could no longer stand it. I am glad to say we returned to the corporate giant and then I understood the reason for some of their success. A Smile. The people at Starbucks seemed friendlier and happier. We told those kind people of our ordeal and they welcomed us back with open arms.
And the cops? They seemed friendlier and happier too. And different. Two lady cops at the back booth last time. I secretly drank a toast to justice and lattes and the two ladies in blue totally ignored us.
Have an excellent day!