Good morning, dear void. First, a lesson from a younger version of myself:
This is a lesson in lazyness. Today, I was lazy. I pulled on jeans and a shirt I misbuttoned and got in the car. I drove past my regular Starbucks and drove something like, .43 miles to get to the Starbucks with the drive-thru for the sole purpose of not having to walk the twenty or so steps from my car to the inside of my regular Starbucks. I know.
I pull into the lazy person’s Starbucks mecca and see the drive-thru blocked off. I realize this is karma for being such a lazy person and thought of things my grandma told me as a child: “At LEAST you are healthy and have a good pair of legs to walk on!” Payback. I groaned, grabbed my purse, and walked to the door. A tall dude was standing there reading the sign taped from the inside and I knew what was up.
THIS COFFEEHOUSE WILL BE CLOSED TEMPORARILY FOR RENOVATIONS!! ENJOY THE STARBUCKS .43 MILES DOWN THE ROAD YOU JUST CAME, YOU LAZY FUCK.
It didn’t really say that second part. I grimaced and turned slowly to leave when the guy spoke.
“Well, that sucks, guess we’ve got to go to the one near Royal Palm,” he said. He smiled weirdly as if half his face was frozen; that unfrozen half was smarmy. “Maybe I’ll, uh, see you there.”
I made the kind of face you make when you bite your sandwich and an excess of mayonaise lodges into a corner of your mouth, that is to say, displeased, and walked back to my car. I drove to the other Starbucks as I should have from the start and hung my head humbly as I waited in line to place my order. Everyone behind the counter looked hungover and thankfully not as cheery as other days. I put my purse down on the counter.
“Grandenonfatpumpkinspicelatte.” I mumble before caffeination like many of my generation.
It’s the first time this season that I’ve ordered this drink and it felt like autumn even though it was a stagnant 86 degrees outside. The barista took my name and wrote it and my order on the cup is metallic silver Sharpie; things were looking up already. I took my drink when it was finished, walked those original twenty steps to my car, and made my way back to my desk. This is why, dear reader, you should suck it up and just walk inside your local coffeehouse to avoid instant karma.
And now for an example in how you can grow:
If you’re like me and have a name that is difficult for many people to pronounce (Ana-ees, by the way), give people a fake name. If the person behind the counter or on the phone for takeout seems like they will have no idea what to do with a diaeresis that your parents inflicted you with, pick something new every time. I’ve been a Poppy, Zelda, Claire, Julia, Annie, Ellie, June. Today, I was Addison. Don’t giggle when they call your fake name, though. If you pay with a credit card and the cashier notices that the names don’t match, let her imagine the worst. Or the coolest. It’s not lying, it’s Starbucks.
That cup above has not only Korres Lip Butter smeared on it but my real name, diaeresis and all! This may not seem huge but it is. Just two years ago, I didn’t want to bother telling the person who made my coffee every day my name for fear that they’d mess it up or even worse, get too familiar, too close. I noticed it today in my office when I realized, “that’s my name!” and indeed, it is. I spent a long time not even letting the person working at Starbucks know me, not trusting anyone or rather, not trusting myself to be good enough somehow to be liked by others.
I know what you’re thinking, that it’s just coffee and that it’s just a two minute interaction that doesn’t really mean anything but in those two minutes every day two years ago, I revealed how little I trusted other people and how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin. That girl back then with 20,000 blog followers who couldn’t bring herself to share that same blog, that same writing with hardly anyone she knew in real life. Not because she feared she was a terrible writer, although she has had her moments, but because letting people in is a risk. It means opening yourself up to a lot of wonderful things and people and connections but it also means you might not hear what you want, that you are open to all kinds of potentially hurtful garbage.
This, not the example specifically, but this idea of potentially getting hurt used to scare the shit out of me, I mean, the tiny remnant of it left in my head as a weak little voice still rears its ugly head now and then but it’s not worth listening to. You can’t hide from the world and you can’t calculate how something is going to turn out; you miss out on the most important things this way.
So, don’t worry what anyone is going to say or think of you, you have no control over that. As soon as you realize that, how little control you have over anyone else, the freer you’ll be. And don’t be a weirdo, tell them your name at Starbucks.