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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Harpy. From the depths. Of Hell. Or just another morning at Starbucks...

Sooooo...  I don't usually come to Starbucks during the early morning hours. For starters, I don't function very well before noon. Now that I think about it - I really don't do all that well while the sun is up either. 

But I digress... 

The Starbucks I often frequent is much more frantic during the early morning hours. It's crowded. The vibe is hurly-burly... loud, and not very conducive to rational thought. The baristas are busy. The customers can be rude. Everyone seems to be in a hurry and fighting for space.  

I prefer a more chill Starbucks environment. Anything after 6 p.m. suits me. That's when this particular store clears out and there's just me... the music, the baristas, and a smaller crowd that isn't waiting to pounce on an open seat like a Kardashian on a pro athlete. 

Over the years I've learned timing is everything at Starbucks. You never hit at a quarter to eight or a quarter to nine. Those are prime spots for people racing to work who think they can "stop in" for a quick coffee. Wrong!!! Anything 9 a.m. - noon is problematic if you want laptop space and an outlet. The same goes for 2-4 p.m. 

But the truth is I was up early today. I needed a little entertainment to go along with my caffeine. And history has shown me there is more potential for drama in a more frantic Starbucks. So I decided to drop in just to see if there was any trouble brewing. 

(See what I did there? Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)


I hit just after 7 a.m. Walk in and walk right up to the register, because it’s too early for the office drones. One of the baristas greets me. She says she's picking up a shift at this store instead of her own. She was singing Adele when I walked in... and she sounded like a live cat being put down a garbage disposal. She rolls her eyes. I roll mine. We LOVE each other... 

I order what's become my standard... a skinny tall vanilla latte. Yes. I am aware the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back. No. I'm not ready to order one yet... Why? Because I'm not sure what filter everyone is using to Instagram it this season. No. I'm not serious. More eyeball rolling. Told you. We LOVE each other. The Barista calls it in and adds "Because she's a pain, she wants real coffee." The Barista on bar hears this and turns around, says "What?!?" Sees me... then laughs.

Perfect. Opportunity for drama is high. And that's why I'm here... because if I'm up this early I might as well be getting entertained.  

I get my drink, sit and observe.

I'm just chillin'. Like a villain. Tapping on my phone.

Then I hear it. This voice.

This screech.

A Harpy.

From the depths.

Of hell.

Or maybe it's Brooklyn.

I couldn't tell.

I'm going to call her Yoga Yolanda.

She was in her color coordinated Lulu Lemon wunder unders and sport bra with her jacket open to show off her stomach. In fairness...  sister-girl was looking fit. Curves in all the right places, didn't look like a hooker - just a yoga girl nipping down the block for a post-workout coffee.

But she has this fake chumminess with the baristas - the loud chattiness and mouth that says "I don't know ya'll, but I pretend we're friends so maybe you'll give me a discount one day?"

Girl, they know you. They don't like you. You will never get anything for free except a smile. OR WILL SHE?!?

Yoga Yolanda orders, then edges sideways. She decides to strike up a "conversation" with the two baristas who are going flat out to keep up with a sudden rush that sees the line stretch back to the door. It includes two mommies with huge strollers who debate smoothies vs. sugar-free frappuccinos until I want to scream at them "Neither one is that good for you!"

But I'm digressing again. I'll blame it on the caffeine. 

Yoga Yolanda never directs her comments to any one barista. No... she just aims the words into empty space until someone mumbles a response. So, for the following, I don't know if I'd call this a "conversation", or just Yoga Yolanda dialogue punctuated by an occasional "hmmm" or "okay" by whoever happened to be passing by at that moment.

So just imagine that's how the conversation goes. She talks. She talks some more. The line is stacked up, so everyone around gets a good bit of this.

Yoga Yolanda: "It is really busy in here today." (Step back everyone because we have a MENSA genius up in here!)
Yoga Yolanda: "It has been really hot lately." (It's SoCal. In early September? Were you expecting Anchorage?)
Yoga Yolanda: "I like it when you work." (Aimed at the barista on bar.)
Yoga Yolanda: "I'm in a happy mood today."
Yoga Yolanda: "You're all in a happy mood today too."
Yoga Yolanda: "I wasn't really happy on Saturday morning."
Yoga Yolanda: "It was really bad. I had terrible service."
Yoga Yolanda: "It was so bad I just didn't want to come back ever again."
Yoga Yolanda: "Nobody smiled at me when I got my coffee on Wednesday."
Yoga Yolanda: "Everybody smiled at me today."
Yoga Yolanda: "I like it when people smile at me."
Yoga Yolanda: "That's probably because I came in at 6 a.m."
Yoga Yolanda: "Why wasn't anybody in a good mood on Saturday morning?"
Yoga Yolanda: "I just felt bad the whole day because the people here were grumpy."
Yoga Yolanda: "I just don't understand why nobody smiled at me."
Yoga Yolanda: "I don't like it when I don't get a smile."
Yoga Yolanda: "Do you think it was because it was so early in the morning? I didn't think about that."
Yoga Yolanda: "I'm always grumpy before I have my coffee too."
Yoga Yolanda: "OK. Well, thanks for smiling today!"


She is the ONLY one that talked during this entire conversation. The concept that someone might be grumpy about getting up before 5 a.m. to serve coffee to folks like her was apparently a foreign concept.

God bless Yoga Yolanda and her wunder unders. 

PS: She didn't tip either. Maybe that's why they don't smile girlfriend?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The needs of the many... You know the rest

Once upon a time there lived a man. 
This man was a dreamer. 
This man had hopes and visions of a better future. 
A future built upon true equality and mutual respect. 
This man was named, Gene Roddenberry.

Gene had an idea, and he wanted to share that idea... and his dreams for a better future. He did that, through a television series called Star Trek. 

Cue the music, and say it with me, everyone...

"Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." 

On September 8, 1966 America heard these words for the first time when Star Trek made its debut on NBC at 8:30 pm. I wonder if Gene Roddenberry had any idea of what he was starting when his scrappy, low-budget series aired for the first time 47 years ago. Could he imagine it would spin off four live-action series. An animated series. Toys. Games. Comics. Movies. A language (Klingon). Did he know the influence it would have on popular culture, scientists, designers, engineers? Did he know the world he created would influence technological innovations - like cell phones and plasma tv's? 

I admit it. I'm a die hard Trekkie. I'm not afraid to let my red shirt geek flag fly. I grew up in a home with a dad who talked about tribbles and transporters. Who told us our Tang was "Tranya". And quoted pearls of Star Trek wisdom at opportune moments.

All your people must learn before you can reach for the stars.-Kirk, "The Gamesters of Triskelion"

Change is the essential process of all existence.-Spock

After a time, you may find that "having" is not so pleasing a thing, 
after all, as "wanting." It is not logical, but it is often true. -Spock, "Amok Time" 

A little suffering is good for the soul. -Kirk, "The Corbomite Maneuver"

Thanks a lot, Captain Kirk. My dad was a particular fan of that one... ;-)

Hey. Wisdom is wisdom no matter who says it. I love all things Trek, and am a big fan of the Next Generation in particular (especially you, Wil Wheaton). But there's just something about the 1960's series that draws me in.  I'm not sure why really, maybe I prefer the way Kirk handled situations with his fists, unlike Picard who used a more diplomatic approach. Maybe it's Khaaaaaaan! Maybe its the cheesy effects. Maybe it's The Gorn - one of the worst/funniest fight sequences ever filmed. It scared the crap out of me as a kid. (Yes. This is currently my screensaver on my phone). 

Maybe it's just based on the fact that Spock was completely badass! 

Whatever the case may be, one thing that is undeniable is the legacy the show created. To all my fellow Trekkies I say... Live Long and Prosper. And Happy Birthday, Star Trek!!!  \\ //

Of COURSE that's me. I'm not afraid of the red shirt. BRING it, Gorn! My phaser is set to kill...