Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why I Can’t Go Back To Starbucks

As you know, Starbucks is an evil corporation that supports things like rape and murder, and also does not serve beverages that are smaller than ‘Tall’. I used to like them a lot. But now they don’t like me, and I think the feeling is becoming mutual, though I do still weep a little bit when I think about the times we had.

Starbucks and I had any number of arguments over the years. Nothing serious, just the sort of lover’s quarrels one would expect from a carnivorous coffee chain and an undercover neurosurgeon who likes to bathe in public restrooms and nap on comfy couches while enjoying an eclectic soundtrack and inhaling the intoxicating aroma of coffee that other people are paying four dollars a cup for. In the end, our mutual respect for one another was always enough to help us put our disagreements behind us and we ended each day as we began it, with my arms wrapped tightly around the closed and dark glass of the little building while I waited for it to open up again and welcome me.

But yesterday was different, and I think that everyday after yesterday, including both today and tomorrow, are bound to be different too. It started when someone asked if they could help me. The regular staff and I are well past this, and all of them know that the best way to help me is just to let me sleep it off, or in some instances, put more hand towels in the restroom so that I can get dry. But by now these are things we can communicate without speaking, so it was startling to once again hear a question I thought we’d settled long ago. I assumed that it must just be a new staff member, and I would have to train him like all the rest. I asked him his name and he said Jeff. I told Jeff that it would be very helpful if he could turn down the stereo because I needed to catch forty winks and then in about a half hour I told him that he could start running warm water in one of the bathroom sinks.

It turned out that Jeff was not a new employee, but a corporate stooge of some sort sent to investigate a case of persistent loitering and possible hobo like behavior. I assured Jeff that I’d be on the lookout and tried to get back to sleep, but he continued to pester me. He asked if I might like to order something and I explained that I did not like coffee, and that even if I did, just between him and me, I’d never be stupid enough to pay four dollars a cup. Jeff asked what I was doing here if I didn’t like coffee, and I told him that I enjoyed the ambiance while waiting for pages on my undercover neurosurgery pager. Jeff pointed out that my pager appeared to be a severely damaged garage door opener. I explained that that’s how I remained undercover.

We went back and forth like this for a half hour until the police appeared which at first I thought was incredibly handy. I explained to them that this man, this Jeff, was badgering me and preventing my nap and thus endangering any patients I might have to see later in the day. But Jeff turned out to have the police in his pocket, bribed with big jugs of complicated coffee. There were laws and regulations and some such and apparently I was in violation of them all.

Am I being evicted, I asked.

Jeff told me that I didn’t live there. He said that I was welcome to come back if I wished to purchase coffee, but otherwise I was banned from the premises, and if I failed to comply he would prosecute me. He asked again if I wanted to purchase any coffee.

Long story short, I ended up in the back of the police car after I tried to remove what I assumed must be a tumor in Jeff’s brain that was causing him to ask me the same questions over and over. Sadly, the utensils at Starbucks are all plastic and I was not able to penetrate Jeff’s skull cap before the authorities interrupted. After I was released I tried to go back and inform Jeff that without intervention his problem would only get worse, but I wasn’t even able to enter the building before I was in the back of another police car.

So apparently, I can’t go back to Starbucks anymore, and Jeff’s tumor will just go on growing unchecked until he dies. I don’t wish anyone ill, but if you won’t listen to reason, it serves you right. In any case, I won’t pretend that I haven’t cried a little over the injustice of it all. I’m crying right now. When I close my eyes I’m almost there, the scent of coffee beans in my nose, some inoffensive lite-rock in my ears, and the comfy embrace of a padded bench under my back. But when I open them it’s just this cell which smells faintly of urine and lacks all the aesthetic appeal of my former love. If these painful memories persist I’ll have no choice but to dig them out of my own head, and that’s not the kind of operation you want to take on unless you’ve had a good rest and a bath. Until yesterday I’d have known just where to I could find both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...