My summer addiction to Starbucks is well known, if not well documented. (uh oh, until now that is) Iced venti quad espresso, please, with a generous splash of soy milk and yes, do fill it to the brim with ice. On average I can go through about four of these babies a day – which is one reason why I’ve recently taken a liking to decaf.
I’ve also noticed the disquieting trend of being asked for your name when you place an order – as though hearing someone shout “I’ve got a triple tall extra whip mocha caramel non-fat chai for Precious” across a crowded shop someone makes the experience that much more personable – or the wait that much less interminable. The first time it happened to me I was taken aback. I didn’t know what to say, so I pretended as though my iPod was too loud to hear and ignored the cashier. I tried to walk away and wait at the bar but the barista asked me my name, too. Trapped, I muttered “Mike” – though if anyone were to actually call me Mike I would give them a stiff talking to. When my drink came up at the bar, I was shamed: all these people I would never see again now knew me as Mike, the four-shot iced junkie.
Later in the day, however, the idea popped into my head that I didn’t have to be Mike. Or even Michael for that matter. At Starbucks, I could be anyone. I could even be … a spy, secretly sent to do coffee recon. And so began what has become my harmless summer amusement! My first fib was put into play later that evening when I claimed to be Oliver, in honor of my friend’s new baby. The next morning on the way to work I was Aiden – another friend’s new baby. In rapid succession a flurry of false identities (and occasional accents) breezily followed easy-peasy: Bradley, Topher, Archie, Will, Jack, Jonny, Marcus, Augustus, Jesus, Dougie, JT, BJ, KJ, Jake, Scooch, Jasper, Zeke, Kim, Con, Cort, Howie, Ross, Chandler, Joey.
I’m growing so bold I now pay with my credit card while still giving them a different name. Screw you, Starbucks, I’m starting to secretly think – I’ve got a higher purpose going on here. Now just give me my coffee before I call out the ninja assassins – or corporate wonks, depending on the day. Well, not really. But with a heat wave firmly entrenched and a belly full of stitches and three more weeks to go before I travel again I’ve got to amuse myself somehow, don’t I?