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.
From the depths.
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?