I knew it could be bad. It was starting to snow. By text, my sweetheart informed me that she really wanted me to get her a cinnamon dulce latte, grande, from Starbucks. As a high school teacher who still has a few days left until classes begin again, I obligingly pulled on my hipster-appropriate pea coat and made for the car.
Act 1: The snow beginneth.
In Midland, Texas we see snow once, maybe twice a year. About three inches total. Despite a large part of the population owning full-size trucks and SUVs, and a great many of them having decided to install lift kits and oversize, off-road tires, Midlanders still go completely out-of-their-mind crazy any time a snowflake touches pavement. Citizens with fully-stocked mega-pantries and Expeditions and Suburbans with four-wheel-drive and off-road tires will race to the nearest grocery store to purchase 4-8 months’ worth of emergency provisions. Never mind the fact that this 1-3 inches of snow will be completely melted within 24 hours.
Therefore, as I made my way to Starbucks in my Toyota Corolla, I had the joy of encountering a terrified populous on the ravenous hunt for food. The Starbucks, conveniently located next to Midland’s most popular supermarket, was completely gridlocked. Though I temporarily considered returning home and texting my sweetie that the latte was beyond my pale, I reconsidered and, as a loving husband, braved the traffic. I parked far away and trudged through the falling flakes to the Starbucks, which boasted a drive-thru line of vehicles that stretched well out into the street.
Act 2: The overage hipster doofi.
I was in line behind two young men. Well, two men who wanted to be young. With their knit caps and pea coats and trendy footwear, they appeared to be twenty-year-old hipsters home from college break. A closer look revealed a sadder truth: Both men, friends apparently, were much closer to thirty. Cell phones clutched like precious jewels, these obnoxious fools bantered with each other and, eventually, began poking and jostling like teenagers.
Seriously? Dude, you look thirty, for crying out loud! You should not be playing grab-ass in the Starbucks line with your overage buddy. This is not a teen movie.
Act 3: The slowdown at the register.
Outside the snowflakes grow bigger and begin to fall faster, further terrifying the snow-averse population. The hipster duo in front of me continues to jostle, poke, prod, and compare texts. I focus grimly on the cash register, hoping beyond hope that this line will finally begin to move.
No such luck.
The guy at the front is apparently ordering coffee for an entire office despite looking like he just rolled out of bed and shrugged his way into an ill-fitting San Fransisco 49ers jacket. After an eon of ordering he finally shambles off to await the mass of caffeine he will deliver to friends unknown. The following customers are also in no hurry, slowly stumbling their way through hesitant orders as I try to ignore the hipster doofi.
Finally! The doofi are ordering! I am next!
Doofus #1, instead of be quick with his request, is focused on simultaneously trying to order and play with his cell phone. As a result, words trickle out of him like half-frozen molasses, his eyes darting between the menu and his glowing phone. Doofus #2 puts on an identical performance, which is fitting because he and his buddy appear to have identical phones. Then Doofus #1 has to figure out how he wants to pay. Slowly he digs around in his wallet and eventually fishes out a $100 bill.
“You got anything smaller?” the cashier asks in a bored tone. “Nope, sorry,” the doofus replies. He stares vacantly ahead, as does the cashier. What the heck are they doing? I wonder. Suddenly the doofus’ dull eyes gleam. “Wait, I got this,” he says, handing her a Starbucks gift card. Crisis averted, and it only took about ten times longer than it needed to! I am now excited. I am next!
Wait, no. The cashier has to go to the back to get something. For about an hour.
By the time she returns I am worried that the roads have iced over and I quickly announce my desire for a cinnamon dulce latte, grande, skinny. I thrust my credit card at her, she slowly swipes it, and I am off to the Splenda/napkin/coffee condiment dispensary station to await my beverage.
Act 4: The bantering employee theatre show.
The young woman making the coffees for us waiting folk is a lively lass and appears to have a flair for theatre. I appreciate her taking time out of making our drinks to banter with her fellow staff in a loud, attention-seeking voice. Yes, I appreciate your humorous lecture to your colleague about wearing her jacket outside in the falling snow as if you were her mother, especially since it slowed down your latte-making speed by half. It’s not like the weather’s getting worse outside.
Bing! Bing! My sweetie is texting, wondering where her coffee is. I grit my teeth.
Finally, it is ready! Oh, sweet relief! I grab some Splenda packets and rush out into the storm, clutching the cup of sugary, overpriced goodness. As snowflakes pour onto my pea coat and stick to my hair, I smile. Maybe today wasn’t so bad after all.