Stella and I would be greeted by the Starbucks team and soon they came to know my order and start making it once I walked in the door. I love that. They would even save a blueberry scone for me, which is love through baked goods. I love having a place know me, feeling that I belong there, despite my inability to afford their drinks.
Since school ended for the boys almost a month ago now, I haven't been inside the Starbucks. I loathe the idea of taking all three in and spending $15 on drinks and snacks and chaos. It isn't pleasant and it ruins my image of that Starbucks location.
After dropping the boys off at Vacation Bible School this morning, which was a peaceful and happy time contrary to yesterday's drop off, I decided Stella and I would go to Starbucks. I was craving my chai tea and figured it would be the perfect accompaniment to my time with the online defensive driving course I have to finish this week.
(Please note how well I am doing with said course...I'm writing about it, which unfortunately does not give me any credit with the state of Texas, bastards.)
As Stella and I walked through the outdoor dining area I noticed the usual grouping of elderly people at a table in the corner. They have been there every time Stella and I have walked in to this Starbucks, but I have yet to get one of them to say hello to me, or my usually crowd pleasing baby.
I have no clue what this group is all about, but I can only assume they meet every morning to discuss their hatred of women in their thirties, and their cute babies. There is no other explanation since I know at least some of them can hear and I have actually made eye contact with several of them. I tried for weeks to shout a very pleasant, "Good morning!" as I walked by, but after a while it started to feel a little sad so I stopped with my joy spreading.
This morning they were all tuning in to hear what a man at a table, also outside, across the way was discussing. I must say, I was intrigued as well. This man had, what appeared to be the lid of a large trash can, turned upside down on the top of his table with a hairless duck/bird creature inside. All I heard of his preaching was, "mainstream media wants you to believe these creatures can help us, but they will do no such thing."
The old people were enthralled and, as usual, no one gave a shit that Stella and I were walking by. I can only assume this man was of course just preaching to the Elderly Who Hate Women and Babies Group of Round Rock about how to further their group's mission of hatred. Of course.
One person that did give a shit is a man that has been there every time I have stopped at this Starbucks before noon. This man is a little off, has slurred speech and apparently has only one set of clothing because I have never seen him in anything else.
I guess that's an assumption, he could have a large number of the same shorts and shirt, or perhaps this is his Starbucks outfit and actually has tons of clothing at home that he changes in to after his time there, or perhaps his clothes actually are different and I am missing the slight variances in one outfit to the next?
I like the idea that this is his Starbucks outfit so let's go with that.
I believe he is some sort of war veteran due to his hat and several pins that he wears. I did try to ask him one time about it and thank him for his service, seriously thank the people that fight for us because that is one seriously difficult position, but I couldn't quite understand what he said back to me. I'm going to assume he is a veteran though and didn't just steal the hat and pins.
This man is always sitting outside in his Starbucks shorts and tee outfit, regardless of temperature, drinking his coffee. He always has his black sunglasses on and his veteran hat and he ALWAYS gets up to open the door for Stella and me. He does not walk quickly and some times I have to slow my pace to allow him time to open it for us.
I love this man. As we pass through the door I always stop and hold Stella out to him so she can giggle at him, in a nice way, I think. She always says hi to him and he gets really excited to see her and tries to talk to her in that voice you use to talk to little babies, but his speech is so impaired that it mostly just sounds awkward....but Stella does not mind at all and he doesn't seem to mind either.
When we go inside the four or five Starbucks employees all greet us, OK fine, mostly Stella. She is quite a hit. The three women all discuss the fact that she doesn't have a bow in her hair this morning. Two proclaim her as their "favorite baby," and I find myself turning to glance at the third woman, wondering who has beat out Stella as her "favorite baby?"
I quickly realize I am crazy and move on to ordering. One of the men working tells me Stella is like Helen of Troy and will be starting wars with her beauty, or bringing international peace with her cuteness. I don't think Helen of Troy bought international peace so why was that included? Which is it buddy? War or Peace?
As I am waiting for my drink, a woman sitting at a table next to me asks me how old Stella is and laughs when I answer "one." She goes on to ask me if she has tried coffee yet.
Surely I have misunderstood this woman. Why would my one year old have tried coffee?
I tell her that we're starting her slow and she only has Coke and Mountain Dew right now, with a periodic Xanax to take the edge off. You really have to balance their drugs for them at this age, so annoyingly dependent.
OK, really I inform her that actually, Stella has not yet tried any coffee, and that even my three and five year olds have not drank any coffee...I'm soooo conservative and strict.
She laughs, for some unknown reason and informs me that her daughters, now eight and twelve, love coffee and have since they were little. She says she let them try it when they were really young and ever since then they were sneaking drinks or consuming espresso beans behind her back.
They also started smoking weed behind the garage around 5 and taking small shots of vodka (no smell you know, how handy!) around 6...those crazy kids!
I want to ask her if she has ever told her doctor about her daughters' "addiction" to coffee as she called it, because it seems sort of off to me. But...what the hell do I know?
I smile and pretend to think the whole thing is as hilarious as she does since she can't seem to stop laughing. I'm wondering how many espresso beans she's had this morning? I'm hoping a lot.
I explain to her that I don't even really like coffee and usually only have about 1/4 a cup in the morning and only drink chai tea at Starbucks, but she just laughs and I start to feel a little nervous like she might start throwing coffee beans at me or something or try to steal Stella.
I find comfort in knowing the Veteran is outside and he'd totally have our back if shit started to go down. Even with his slow pace, I'm confident he could take this espresso lady down. Unfortunately I think that those old people, accompanied by their man with the hairless bird would relish the opportunity to bring harm to me and my baby so all of them would probably over take us.
I attempt to wrap up our discussion and curse my idea to order a breakfast sandwich since they take FOREVER to be ready, forcing me to stand right in the line of fire of this woman's craziness. She begins to tell me that she tries to limit the amount of coffee her girls have, which does give me a moment of peace, but then she proceeds with her crazy as she informs me that if the girls are going to their Dad's house she always gives them espresso beans and coffee just before she drops them off.
That's great lady. I rarely do this, but I begin to get a little snippy back to her because now I think she's just jacking with her daughters' bodies in order to get back at her ex-husband and I can't stand when people are this toxic.
I quickly say, "Wow, well that doesn't sound too kind to anyone."
I know, you're thinking I'm so bold. You're probably wondering why that lady didn't get up and just punch me in the mouth after such a violent verbal assault. I can only assume she was intimidated by my braid. That's right, I braided my hair this morning. Bad-ass.
As we say our goodbyes to the Stella fan club and crazy coffee lady and head to the door, I see veteran guy get up to open the door for us so I slow down a bit so he has time to open it for us. He's so great.
As we pass by I tell him to have a wonderful day, to which he replies, "You have a better one!"
I love nice strangers.
But seriously, I'm thinking I should just stick to the drive through for a while, particularly if those old people are outside, definitely if the bird man's there.
What was going on there?
Speaking of nice strangers Wonderdads is currently running a contest to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and I thought I would share it with you, because who doesn't want to help a kid have their wish?
Simply register for their free weekly email featuring the best dad/child activities in your city at http://www.wonderdads.com/. Whatever city has the most sign-ups, WonderDads will donate $1 for each person that signed up from that city to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. So share this on your pages, get your friends to sign up and let's make some dreams come true!