Panic at The Starbucks

Linking up with Yeah Write #42!

If you were choking on a hotdog I would calmly come up behind you and give you the Heimlich Maneuver. If you needed CPR, I’d be down on the ground in a minute, no panic, no problemo. If there was an armed robbery I’d freak a bit, but certainly wouldn’t soil myself.

But ask me to order a latte at Starbucks? Total anxiety.

It starts on the ride to Starbucks.

I should really be supporting an independent coffee shop. They actually have normal sizes. What’s wrong with the words small, medium and large?

But the closest independent coffee shop has a gnat problem and a lot of hanging plants that house small spiders.

I hate spiders. Emily told me that statistic about how many spiders a person accidentally consumes in their lifetime. I’ve lost sleep over that one. I can’t do the spidery coffee shop. What is that? Is something crawling on me?

I attempt to park in front of Starbucks. There are three mini-vans parked with enough space in between them to park a VW Bug stuffed with fifty clowns. Why are women afraid of parallel parking? Just back the fuck up, people. I circle the block and park next to a dumpster. Best morning ever.

This particular Starbucks is filled to capacity. There’s a guy in line handing out financial planning pamphlets and offering to buy strangers coffee. Avert your eyes, avert your eyes. Wait, why isn’t he buying me a coffee? Do I look unfriendly? Do I look weird? I look weird. I am unfriendly and weird. It’s the hair. There’s a spider in my hair, isn’t there?

The Starbucks employees are chirpy and well caffeinated. They are moving too fast. They talk loudly. They seem to know all of the customers by name.

Linda Jo! How’s the baby? Are you having your usual Venti Triple Breve Salted Carmel No Whip Five Pump Power Latte?

Hey Steve! How’s the new job? Can I blend you up your usual 5,000 Calorie Extra Venti Grande Soy Lo-Fat Full Whip No Pump Smoothie Mocha?

I wait in line, trying to be soothed by the Jazz Greats Starbucks Special CD tunes coming from the ceiling tile speakers. But I am beginning to sweat.

Shit, what do I want? What do I want? Okay, I want a medium-sized kind of sweet but not too sweet latte. What do they call that here?

The customer before me steps up to the cash register. The tall handsome buzz cut cutie flashes her a winning smile. In a matter of seconds she’s ordered her drink. There appears to be some sort of way to how she described her drink. Was it size, then the name of the drink? Or was it the name of the drink followed by the size? My heart begins to pound. There’s a long line behind me.

I practice my order in my head: Grande three pump one percent vanilla latte. Grande three pump one percent vanilla latte. Grande three pump one percent vanilla latte.

I can do this. I can’t do this. I can do this.

I step up to the register. The tall handsome buzz cut cutie looks at me. I look at him. He raises his eyebrows. I smile nervously. Uh, hi! I say. The man behind me sighs. A woman behind him taps her foot. There are bananas in a basket at the register. I get distracted.

Why are they selling bananas at Starbucks? Bananas don’t really go with coffee. How odd. Gosh, when is the last time I ate a banana? Ha ha ha. There are so many great banana jokes.

The employee at the register clears his throat. Do you need some help deciding? he asks. My throat goes dry. My tongue feels like a dried out sponge.

I sputter: I’ll have a tall latte vanilla two pump venti soy americano teabag.

Suddenly I’m laughing nervously and very aware of my anxiety related mild urinary incontinence issue.

I take a deep breath, do ten Kegels and sputter: Wait, wait! I mean, a vanilla slightly sweet, but not too sweet, latte with that milk that’s not totally without fat but not totally with fat.

The guy at the cash register gets a slightly sad, slightly sweet look on his face. It has dawned on him that I am most likely developmentally disabled.

You mean you want a grande three pump one percent vanilla latte (right, crazy lady)?

Yes! Yes! That’s what I mean. (Tinkle.)

The people in line behind me audibly sigh. It looks like the cute counter guy is going to pat me on the head, but he’s really leaning toward me to signal that I need to pay. I give him my credit card, he hands it back to me and motions toward the small crowd that is gathered around drink depository area.

It is then that I realize that I have to figure out which drink is mine among all the other drinks seemingly scrawled with hieroglyphics. Luckily I carry a brown paper bag in my purse for just these moments.