throw it at you.


i'm at a starbucks now. i'm at a starbucks because it's better than sitting in the airport lobby. i don't know why everyone isn't in starbucks instead, listening to some sinatra and drinking a mango tango that only cost $3.25. you know, why wait out there with everyone else, watching cnn or whatever they've got going on the monitors. why's it always cnn? i just don't get it.

anyway, i used to work at a starbucks. it was just like the one i'm in now. all starbuckses are the same. they've all got that granite floor, or whatever it is, black squares - well, half of it is black, the other half is a lighter grey or something - and they've got these round wooden tables and a bunch of chairs. high chairs for people who like high chairs and regular chairs for the rest of us.

some old asian ladies are working behind the counter. they've got the standard getup, white or black shirts, green aprons and pants that aren't jeans. that's the uniform. that's what they told me when i worked at a starbucks in watsonville. they said no jeans. they said black pants, but no jeans. something about jeans doesn't look professional, i guess. so, i went out and i got a pair of black pants from the goodwill or salvation army or whatever was closest.

it was a weird thing for me to work at a starbucks. for one, i was a college graduate. i know that's the norm, but it shouldn't be the norm. someone who went to college shouldn't have to pour coffee, i'm sorry. that's just the way i feel. some people may feel otherwise, but not me. maybe it's the way i was raised, or the way i was taught. but who knows, really? who cares. there are worse things in life.

so, there i was, a twenty-three, twenty-four year old college grad, and i was working at a starbucks. the other thing was, i was an english tutor, and sometimes, my students would come in. it was a weird thing. i would serve them strawberries and cream at night, and then, in the morning, i would help them with english. it was just like, teaching someone to write was as pointless as pouring him a drink. i was a little bitter about it, in case you couldn't already tell.

i worked at starbucks for about three months. the other workers were college students, or else grownups who didn't mind working for a starbucks, or who couldn't find anything better, and they'd all refer to me as "college grad." it'd be like, "hey, college grad, how's it going?" and i'd say fine because what else was i gonna say to that? i had nothing to say to that.

there were some cute girls who worked at the starbucks in watsonville when i worked there. it wasn't like i could do a thing about it, since i had a girlfriend, but even if i didn't have a girlfriend, i still probably wouldn't have asked any of them out. there was this one girl, angela, who i swore was my crush from pre-school (but i never brought that up because, well, i didn't wanna look like a psychopath), and there was this girl aimee, and there was this girl named lindsey. and they were all cute, cute baristas who worked with me at starbucks.

sometimes, angela would refer to me as "hon." i found it very condescending, but i didn't make a big stink out of it. she'd call me "hon," and all it would take was for me to look into her big brown eyes or else get a whiff of her perfume, and all would be forgiven. she called me "hon" for a long time, and then one day, she asked me how old i was. word must have gotten around that a college grad was in their presence, so she asked me my age. i told her twenty-four. she said, "oh. so, you're my age then," and she stopped calling me "hon" after that. by then, though, honestly, i didn't mind.

and then there was lindsey, this blonde girl who was friends with aimee. both aimee and lindsey had boyfriends, and, like i said, i had a girlfriend, so what did it matter? aimee was really loud and obnoxiously extroverted, so i liked lindsey better. the other thing was, lindsey was a creative writing major. she confided in me once. once, she said, "this is gonna sound really geeky, but...i like to write buffy fan fiction." swoon, right? i think about that moment now, and i swoon.

lindsey and i were closing up shop one night, while our supervisor - whatever her name was - was counting the money in the back. i swept the floors, and i mopped them, while lindsey cleaned up behind the counter. she had to turn off all the machines, clean the machines, clear out the baked goods, sweep the baked goods section, etc. in short, it was a lot of work to accomplish something so pointless. but anyway, i was sweeping, or else mopping, and i asked her for a rag. specifically, i said, "could you throw me a rag?" she said, "do you really want me to throw it at you?" she giggled, and then i came up to her and got the rag. and then she smiled at me in a way that i will never forget.

in all likelihood, i will never see these girls again. and if all turns out well, i will never have to work at a starbucks again, but i won't forget them. i won't forget how she handed me that rag that night and how she smiled. and i won't forget how it made me feel.

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