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Starbucks Thoughts

Starbucks Me, originally uploaded by punquin.

I go to Starbucks a lot. I know a lot of people are anti-chains when it comes to their coffee, but I don’t mind. I know my drink will always be good and they’ll (almost) always have soy milk. I do go to a local coffee shop to work sometimes, but their chai lattes aren’t that good. Plus, they’ve had a management change that Danny is unhappy about and I’ve been weary to go back.

Anyway, I go in to my office 3 days a week, and on the way, Benny and I stop at our favorite Starbucks for breakfast. I always bring my own cup (I have a bunch of hot mugs and one iced drink cup). The usual baristas know my drink (grande soy no-water chai) and make it hot or iced depending on the cup I bring. I buy a scone or a slice of lemon loaf cake and snag a table outside. Benny, who waits patiently in the car, gets to join me, and we sit together sharing a scone and saying hi to the people who stop to admire him.

Today as I set my stuff down on a table outside, the girl who was in line behind me paused at my table and asked if I minded she join me. I was surprised, but didn’t mind at all - so long as she didn’t mind Benny. He gave her a sniff then settled right in to his usual spot blocking as much sidewalk as possible. I’ve had someone share a table before when all of the others were taken (my Starbucks has about 5 tables when the others in our area have 1 or 2). Usually we sit in silence doing our own thing. I asked to join a man I see there often once. He is a talker and knows all of the baristas by their first names. He was happy to share his table with Benny and I in exchange for some philosophizing.

I am awkward in social situations, with work being an exception. At work, I can talk to any customer and if I am in the lobby, I make it a point to have some sort of friendly conversation with everyone who comes in. But, take away the customer aspect and I feel lost. It’s a good thing my relationships (all three of them) all developed from friendships. I’d be useless at flirting and mingling!

The girl was really pretty, probably younger than me, smoking (but asked if I minded first)… I was expecting the usual - silence while she smoked or perhaps talked on her phone, but she actually started up a conversation. Uh, oh! I have to talk! :P We chatted about Benny and her dog, and she also asked me questions like ‘Are you from around here?’ I realized at that point I wasn’t doing a very good job of balancing the conversation and tried to think of something to ask her. “Are those green tea lattes good?” I’m hopeless. I’m not good at posing personal questions to strangers. She offered me a taste, which I declined (can’t have milk). She had asked if there were any good places to take dogs in the area, so I brought up the charity dog was my work is hosting this month. Before she had to go, she told me her roommate and her were having a party on the 4th and that I’d be welcome. That she was branching out and finding new friends. I told her my name and work email address (easiest toremember).

I have no idea if I’ll hear from her again, nor do I know if I could be brave enough to go to a party of someone I’d just met at Starbucks. She was nice though.

While Benny and I were out there, there was a steady stream of moms with kids and babies. We definitely live in the suburbs, that is for sure. One lady with a toddler who could walk, but not say much yet, approached Benny and asked to pet him. He was so, so good with her. He let her smack his face (her idea of patting his head) and even snuck in a quick kiss that made her laugh. I didn’t have to stand on his leash - only remind him to stay laying down. He’s a really good boy. Just yesterday on a walk, he sat calmly while three girls, aged 3 - 8 smothered him with hugs all at once. If I could just get him over his fear of loud noises and certain places, he might have a chance at being a therapy dog one day.

The Starbucks card that I’ve been using for years (one of the first designs - very blah) is finally peeling apart. Since they now let you design your own card online, I ordered one today that should arrive when my current one runs out. Most of the designs you can do are meant to show what your favorite drink is, but I couldn’t get their card generator to let me put exactly what I get. But, the design I chose is really cute because I was able to make a cartoon of me on it. Thanks to political-correctness, it is easier to make avatars that look like me, because they usually have either braids or dreads as a hair option now.

Back to work. Who knew Starbucks could inspire me to write such a long post…

Originally published in my journal, Stephanie's Thoughts. Leave me a comment!

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September 2011


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