The Plight of the Skinny Vanilla Latte

“I’m not the one who changed their entire coffee order just because they didn’t like the way someone’s voice sounded,” countered my sweet, loving boyfriend when I accused him of acting irrationally.

It was a Tuesday.
Tuesdays always sucks.
I think it’s because we often let our guards down on Tuesday.
We think because we have conquered Monday, that the week can’t get any worse than that…right?

And then Tuesday hits you square in jaw and you realize that all of life sucks, regardless of the day.

So yes, it was a Tuesday when I was sitting in my car – creeping through the Starbucks drive-thru.

Emiliana Torrini was playing. It was dreadfully cold outside.
I was deep in misery of having to face a day that I was ill-prepared for. (Thanksgiving break was such a tease.)
As I crept along behind a large white SUV which boasted the fact that the driver was not only ordering for a thousand people, but they were also the proud parent of a “stellar” student at some galactic-themed elementary school (I’d like to see a psycho-analysis of the parents that put those types of stickers on their car…and how many of those children wear their letterman jackets well after high school)…I was pondering my order.

Because the thing is…
Thanksgiving break not only messed up my entire view of life and humanity and my job, it had also severely screwed up my eating habits. (As in, I basically ate whole sticks of butter for a week straight.)

So as I was sitting in the drive-thru, I was thinking, “I really want a vanilla latte…but I should probably order a ‘skinny’ cause even though it’s still horrible for you, at least my mind will think I’m being a healthy member of society.”

But here’s the other thing.
I HATE ordering a “skinny vanilla latte,” for the sheer fact that I hate having to say “skinny vanilla latte.” And skinny vanilla lattes just aren’t cool. (I know they say you can’t judge a person by their drink order, but let’s just be honest…you totally can. And I TOTALLY look like a skinny vanilla latte…being both skinny, vanilla and devoid of all authentic flavor.)

So I kept going back and forth. Skinny or not skinny? (That is the question.)

When I finally got to the speaker where you order your drink, I was set on the skinny. (Vowing to myself that this would be the start of a healthier month…maybe I’d even do yoga later.)

And then the barista spoke, “Hi, welcome to Starbucks, my name is (I forget her name), can I interest you in any food items this morning?”


She sounded cool.
Too cool.
Way too cool.

“Um, no thank you.”
“Okay, go ahead and order when you’re ready.”

She probably had a cool pixie cut.
And a tattoo of a really obscure Dali sketch.
She probably regularly writes for a zine.
And ONLY drinks pour-overs.

“I’ll…just have a grande…vanilla…latte. Please.”

I panicked.
I TOTALLY panicked.

“Okay, so that will be a grande hot vanilla latte. Is that correct?”
“Yes.” (No)
“Okay, I’ll see you at the next window with your total.”

I hung my head in shame. What had I just done? How had the sound of someone’s voice caused me to change not only my entire view of life and myself…but my drink order?!

I finally reached the little window. I had my Starbucks app open…ready to pay.
“That’ll be (severely overpriced).”

When I turned to pay, I saw…a normal girl.
A normal girl. Just like me. Just doing her job.

I paid.
She handed me my drink.
And then I left.
Just like that.

There was no judgment.
No scoffing.
No eye rolls.

As I drove away, I realized how CRAZY that entire interaction (that happened solely in my own brain) was…because why on earth would anyone care what you order for your morning joe?

Even more recently, I had student (who is the human equivalent of a golden retriever) tell me that he sometimes hates speaking in front of the class because he thinks this other kid (who is the human equivalent of Fonzie) is making fun of him.

And I quickly told him, “No, I can almost assure you that the Fonz is 100% thinking only of himself. In fact, that’s pretty much true of every person. As often as we think about what other people are thinking of us…you would think we would eventually realize that they’re probably thinking the same thing…because we are all just wandering around on this giant ball of water hurtling through space…thinking only about ourselves.”

And it’s so silly…to let the actions (perceived or otherwise) of other people dictate our lives.
Because those people aren’t thinking about you.
They’re thinking about themselves.

So don’t waste your time drinking the coffee you didn’t even want to order.
Or sitting at the back of the class, too afraid to say anything.

Because we can live our whole lives in passive silence.
Or we can live it.

At the end of the day, even if someone does say something…at least you got what you wanted.
(And that person probably sucks worse than Tuesdays.)


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