I awake this morning with blood coming out of my nose and just know it’s going to be a great day. I’ve lived in Ohio for five years now and haven’t had bloody noses since high school. Why now? I’ve grown accustomed to living a normal nose bleed free life. After twenty minutes trying to stop the bleed I brush my teeth and suddenly feel a cough coming on, in place of what I expect I get a sizeable clot of blood. It’s going to be a fantastic day.
I’m going to need some coffee. Hotel coffee: no good. Once I’ve finished packing up I exit the hotel and hop into my truck, turn on my GPS and glance at my arrival time. 8:45. Fantastic, I have plenty of time to get coffee. The closest place is a Starbucks inside of a Target to which I venture.
Once inside I stand behind a balding man with a golf windbreaker and an older woman holding a humidifier. The barista, an impossibly skinny boy named Clayton, is having some trouble with the regular coffee dispenser and spends some time fiddling with that. No matter to me, I have all the time in the world. After the meek looking teen gets the man his coffee and latte I assume the two will move on and enjoy their coffee elsewhere. Oh not so quick, it seems this man forgot to order two more large black coffees. The boy interjects, “You mean Venti’s?” Oh Christ, this fucking argument. Just get the stupid twit his coffee so I can get mine, but no these two spend the next 48 seconds back and forth on coffee sizes. This argument has been played out; it’s been played out since 2002. Stop it. Finally the man pays and grabs his tray looks to his lady friends and states, “It was nice to meet you.” What? You’re not together? Why were you standing that close to each others personal bubbles? “I’ll have two tall vanilla lattes.” At least this woman isn’t trying to fight the sad fight against Starbucks sizing. Referring to her humidifier, “And I’ll be taking this out to my car, I’ll be right back to get my coffees.”
Finally it’s my turn to order, I rattle it off quickly and efficiently, have my card ready. I’ll be out of here soon. I turn around to find in this space of time four other people have accumulated behind me. This poor lone barista, shouldn’t you be in high school learning about hormones?
Another man approaches simultaneously talking in his blue tooth while ordering. I hate people who stay on the phone at registers, I disliked it when I worked a register, I still do. He orders a beverage the barista has obviously never heard of and the man makes an annoyed grunt slash sigh as he explains it. “It’s steamed milk, with caramel mixed it.”
After this exchange I expect him to get to my drink, but no, he hasn’t even made the lady’s vanilla lattes yet. He is so flustered, so very poor at multitasking. He steams the milk for each drink separately and is oh so meticulous about how he puts lids on while asking if the lady needs holders or plugs. This poor kid is trying so hard to be good and these people are giving him mean looks and huffing, leaving the line and coming back. I want to give this kid a hug. A hug and some help.
Meanwhile 15 minutes have gone by since I first stepped foot in this Target. In my mind’s eye I see the arrival time on my GPS ticking up and up…losing time and making me later and later. It’s so stressful to be told exactly when you will arrive somewhere; I know I will be late even before I try.
At last a lady arrives to help this child with his register so he can make drinks. However he has now lost his place and must read each of his individual chicken scratches to figure out what to make next. I now begin to believe I may never get my precious caffeine and that I will die in this line, just waste away to nothing while I wait. By the time they call my drink I will no longer be here, I will just be a pile of dust and rat droppings, having died with no caffeine in my system and the last thing I tasted will be a glob of blood.
Suddenly I get pulled out of my dark fantasy as my drink is called, 'I will be nice to this boy', I think to myself. “Thanks so much, have a great day!” I grab it and flee to the truck.