The line for coffee in a hotel Starbucks is informative. We learn about the lives of others in cross line chatter between coworkers, learn who slept well and who was having a rough morning and we learn who in line has never ordered a Starbucks coffee before. The barista, seeing the confused looks, explains automatically that a Tall is a small and a Venti is a large, and I watch their eyes glaze over in confused despair. I think to myself that I’ve been ordering Starbucks for three centuries and I’ve never seen so many novices in one line before. It’s the arrogance of the familiar. I shift to helpfulness to expedite the ordering process that I may get a coffee before lunch.
I write this next to a brand new Keurig machine in my hotel room, still with packing tape on it and never once plugged in. The hotel staff had stocked it with decaf coffee pods, which explains why it has never been used. If you’re going to use an in-room coffee-making system at all, make it matter. Some of us take our morning cuppa very seriously.
It’s not about the coffee, really, but the ritual. It marks the beginning of the day, and importantly for this coffee snob, the start of the writing process. I’ve had to write without it before, but it’s nothing to celebrate. To reveal the extent of my love for coffee, I’m meeting people for breakfast at a local diner, where I’ll surely have more coffee. But it’s not stopping me from having this one first.
We all have our routines and rituals. Those people in line used to pouring a cup of the hotel courtesy coffee had their morning routine turned upside down. I can understand the feeling of exasperation they were feeling as they ran into the strange world of Starbucks. We are, each of us, dealing with some challenging circumstances. Some are Tall, some Grande, and some are Venti. We’re all in this together friends.