Thursday, January 11, 2007
hell is a starbucks. or other people. i don't know - whatever sartre said.
The weather has finally turned frigiddy, and although I spent the first eleven days of January fretting about the unnatural warmth I’m not very happy with the cold either, mostly because I can’t find my gloves and I have to start wearing socks again. Not that freezing temperatures have stopped me from heading out coatless and shorts-clad to the gym, however. I could change my clothes when I’m there I suppose, but I have a completely illogical but very resolute resistance to using lockers and padlocks, so I don’t. I instead choose to dress for sixty degree weather and run as fast as I can from my car to the building (because I’m awesome).

So, because I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I could justify the empty calories due to having just ran three miles, and I was absolutely freezing I made a rare stop at Starbucks yesterday. I’m aware that this may not be particularly interesting, however I am doing something called ESTABLISHING SETTING, so a little background information is necessary. Sorry.

Anyway, I was standing at the counter waiting for my frappa-cappa-mocha-latte-whatever, trying to avoid eye contact with the barista due to my dread of making small talk with strangers and suddenly feeling very aware of how sweaty and disgusting my hair was, when an fifty-something, matronly looking woman queued up behind me. I did what I normally do – looked over at her, gave a weak grin and then quickly looked away so as not to be engaged in any forced pleasantries about the weather and other such things. Of course, since I was so focused on avoiding it, she started in with general statements about the weather and other such things. Ugh.

She started telling me how relieved she was that the weather had turned cold (I agreed) and bemoaning how freezing her hands were (I said mine were too), then, as if I might not have believed her, she took off her glove and put her hand, which was quite frigid indeed, flat on my right cheek so could feel it for myself. It lingered there for a bit too long, and I started mentally willing the barista to hurryitupalready so I could take my frappa-cappa-mocha-latte-whatever and run through the twenty degree air to my car. It seems that my telepathy skills are a bit rusty, however, because it wasn’t working. I had apparently ordered the most complex beverage on the planet and was being punished for it. Severely.

And if placing her hand lovingly on my cheek wasn’t enough to establish that it was freaking cold out, she then grabbed my hand as if to check that I hadn’t been lying when I said that my own hands were cold. At this point I could feel my eyes darting desperately to the barista, but it was no use. I was trapped in my own version of No Exit and this particular interpretation just happened to be set in a Starbucks (which, I suppose, isn’t all that different from an existential hell). Apparently satisfied that I hadn’t been lying about my cold hands, she let go and then, miraculously, my drink appeared on the counter and I was free. I did not say goodbye, and I did not look back.

And so you see, this is why I don’t like engaging in small talk with strangers.

(Perhaps it’s also why I should try a bit harder to find my gloves.)



Blogger Wife said...

Jesus. What is with people?! People are indeed weird AND stupid. I think it's strange enough when people check out my groceries in the checkout at Meijer and make smalltalk about what I'm making for dinner, but sheesh - physical contact! That's just slightly psycho.

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