Saturday, November 22, 2008

Every day, I swear I will never go back there again.

At Starbucks, I have received my Grande Red-Eye and am standing at the preparation station where one adds sugar or its substitutes and cinnamon or nutmeg or vanilla or chocolate powder. I am studying the four dimly labeled canisters containing whole milk, half-and-half, skim milk and fat-free milk. You have to turn each one this way or that to locate and read the labels. Would it be too much to ask that Mr. And Mrs. Starbuck consider painting each of these a different color for the convenience of their customers?

A young quick-motioned woman dressed for a cold commute to a professional workplace is next to me at the station. She has stirred in her additives and is trying to jam the cap back on her twenty ounces of coffee, causing it to kick out from under her push and to spill over the counter, the floor and into an open shopping bag by her side that contained laundry, some paperwork and running shoes.

I looked up at her and saw the reason for this disaster. She had been trying to seal the cap one-handedly because her other hand pressed a cell phone against her ear.

I don’t want to blame her for the national gablaise of cell phone addiction that is ruining the mechanics of common congress but I was not going to let the moment pass unpegged.

“That would not have happened if you were not glued to that phone.”

“Tell that to my mother” she said, imitating my cadence and offering me the phone.

“Give it to me” I replied, and because this is a New York City story, she handed me her phone without a moment of hesitation.

“Hey lady, get off the phone and let your daughter have a life.”

“Who is this?” bellowed a Harvey Fiersteinish voice from the bottom of some dreadful well.

“Jesus, lady, you could cut diamonds with that voice, and a diamond is just what you daughter will never get if you keep her tied to the phone although I am considering marrying her just to free her from having to listen to you.”

“Put my daughter back on this phone or I’m calling the police!”

I handed the phone back to the young woman who put it up to her ear and then lowered it again, shifting her weight into a more relaxed pose, and, sounding like a Junior League version of her mama, she said “Thanks. So what’s your name?"

12 comments:

Patrick said...

Bravo! This fantastic. I'd never have the balls to do this, but I love this story. Working as an art model I am often amused by how many college students simply can NOT make it through a three hour class without anwering their phones, even if it's simply to say "can I call you back? I'm in class right now." Over the years I've seen a funny progression in the classroom; at first teachers were very firm about saying NO cell phone usage in class. Now they let it go more often than not. I will now see INSTRUCTORS take phone calls during class. On Wednesday the instructor would say "no texting or phone calls while the model is posing." He and I together spent a certain amount of time ridiculing the students for their addiction. "So, has Obama tapped you for a cabinet post?" "Did the surgeon need you to talk him through a delicate procedure?" "This call, it's a matter of national security, isn't it." The students smiled at us... but clearly had NO idea what we were on about. "It's my MOM," one of them said. Yeah, so?
And lord, the grief I catch from people because my cell phone is sometimes turned off.
Obviously you've struck a nerve with me, Dear Tony.

Tater said...

You never cease to amaze me Tony. I mean that in the best possible way. Having grown up on the shy side, I admire your candor, and evident charm. While I am tempted to imitate your moxy, I am certain it would wind up with me being assulted.

Reading this post, as I await a friend's flight at O'Hare, allowed me a badly needed respite from bad lighting, terminal gray Terrazo, obnoxious security announcements, and the haggard expressions of the weary. I am reminded of the fun I had in New York, and the pleasure I took in the company of you and C. You are one of a kind, and a pleasure to have met.

Birdie said...

Last Thursday, waiting room of a heart testing center, and it's crowded. The morning show is on, so most people are watching while they wait. Or they would be if the guy on the phone wasn't drowning out the TV. He was just loud enough for all of us to hear the machinations of his next deal he discussed with his coworker. I got fed up. The long direct stare did nothing. I finally flagged his attention by waving and pressed my finger to my lips in a smile. (It's worked before.)

"What."

"You're too loud," still smiling.

"What?"

"You're too loud." No smile.

He stood and left the room, explaining to his coworker he had to move. At least he left.

The test says my heart is incredibly healthy, thank you, and it is yours in part due to stories like this.

evilganome said...

Anthony, you're my hero!

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Patrick, I'm guessing you do have the balls, and that there are plenty of drawings of them to prove it.

Mike said...

Does Starbucks provide a free refill for their customers who suffer such an accident at the condiment workstation? Always wondered about that.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Mike,
yes, they do.

don said...

Hilarious. The 'Bucks sprayed out my nose from laughing so hard.

tornwordo said...

I love New York stories!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony I was nice meeting you at the eagle last night!!!!

I had a great time!

scootertlstudio@yahoo.com

Scooter :)

David said...

Oh, I would have made her guess which Starbucks and then dared her to send the cops. Or at least suggested a creative form of ransom. It sounded like too much fun to let it go that easy.

circleinasquare said...

I'd marry you too, Father Tony.
:-)