I hit Starbucks on my way to work every day. Same order, roughly the same time, stand in line at the counter for my Venti drip with room. If I’m awake enough I smile and thank the barista when I hand over my cash. Today, something is different.
I blink at the cup. I blink at the Barista. She smiles.
“Why does it say ‘run’ on my coffee?” I ask. She smiles again.
“Cardio” she says “it’s always good to invest time in cardio fitness. You know where’s a great place to get started? There’s a park about five minutes walk from here, do the whole outside track and you’ve done a mile. There’s shade, it’s pretty flat…I recommend it!”
“…thanks…” I say and walk away sipping my coffee. I’m basically too out of shape to run a mile, but I can always walk more. I make a mental note to check out the park.
My coffee cup says “Read”. I look at the Barrista. Same one as last time. She’s a brunette, with long hair in a pony tail.
“Any authors in particular?” I ask. She smiles.
“Are you a reader?”
I shake my head. There’s never time. She shrugs.
“Then start with a good newspaper. Cover to cover. You never know what you might turn up!”
Her enthusiasm is infectious and I smile back.
“Thanks,” I say, sipping the coffee, “I’ll do that.”
I stop in for coffee after my run, feeling pretty good, with the intention of sitting outside and leafing through a copy of The Washington Post. My iPod is still reading me The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, which is a lot funnier than I was expecting, and I’m not really paying attention to my coffee order. The take out cup says “Watch” on it. I look up, pull the earbuds out of my ears and smile at the Barista. Her eyes are vivid and green, one eyebrow arches gracefully at me.
“What should I watch?” I ask.
“How do you feel about German Expressionism?” she asks.
“I don’t,” I say “but the way it influenced later directors, from Hitchcock to Burton, that’s pretty cool.”
That earns me a dazzling smile and those eyes iridesce. Then she frowns.
“Oh, darn it. I’m sorry, I’ve got your order wrong. Here, let me fix that for you.”
She reaches for the cup, takes it from my hand and for an electric moment our fingers touch. She fusses behind the counter, hands me a new cup, smiles again.
I look at the cup. It says “Date?”