For the first time ever yesterday, I went into a Starbucks on my own. Actually, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been in a Starbucks at all before, so it was a new experience for me. I’d like to say here and now, that I won’t be going back. Nor will I be venturing into any other ‘coffee shop’.
For a start I don’t drink coffee. Tried it a few times, but just the smell makes me feel slightly nauseous and lightheaded. Last time I drank coffee was at a dinner party some 20 years ago. We’d just moved in to a new house, and were invited by kindly neighbours who were, frankly, ordinarily a little too posh for the likes of us. We didn’t know any of the other four couples there at all. It would have felt very unsophisticated to ask for a cup of tea instead, so I took the coffee served in tiny cups at the end of the meal, and tried not to turn my nose up at it as I drank it.
Pretty much instantaneously, I felt my head swim, things went a bit blurry, and I felt the need to excuse myself to head to the loo to slosh some water on my face. The next thing I knew I was sitting on the floor on their deep-pile carpet with my head between my knees, having passed out cold. Very sophisticated. They all thought I was drunk. I wasn’t, which was apparent by my swift recovery. But once they realised I was sober as a judge, everyone made a big fuss, and a doctor was called. I felt a right twerp. All I wanted was a cup a’ rosy.
Anyway, I’ll never know whether it was the coffee that made me faint, it doesn’t seem to have that effect on anyone else, but I haven’t drunk it since.
So, anyway, I was hanging about, very bored, waiting for a train yesterday, and thought I’d get myself a cup of hot chocolate (I can’t abide tea in plastic cups). Starbucks was the only place in the near vacinity, so I braved it. Oh, the smell. Do you know (I expect you do) that they have a pile of coffee beans, just loose on the top of some machine….eewww….! All I wanted was a cup of hot chocolate, but I had to make decisions about what size/type, and I also had, for some unfathomable reason, to tell the girl my name. Then go and queue for my drink.
It was ok. Lukewarm for hot chocolate, even without the pile of cream I was offered. I had to sit on a primary school sized stool at a bench table. Can’t say I enjoyed it. At all. But it killed some time – all of five minutes, mostly queueing.
I am, I admit, slightly jealous of all those other folk happily ordering their fancy named beverages. Knowing the difference between a latte, a macchiato, cappacino and espresso, not to mention the different versions of them. I do still feel very unsophisticated compared to those who sit with friends slowly sipping something frothy, or people who rush about clutching enormous plastic cups of something or other that they seem to need to just fuel them through their day (they must be loaded too – have you seen the price of those things??? And why don’t they need the loo all the time???) However, I have learnt in my old age, that the one thing that makes anyone seem sophisticated is their being able to ask for what they want with confidence and ease, and without embarrassment.
So these days, if I’m coming ’round to your house, put the coffee maker away and make sure you’re stocked up on tea bags – you know that’s what I’ll be asking for.