June 17, 2024

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?

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