What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Caffeinated Pyramid

Starbucks coffee shops are always bustling with activity during the morning rush. Upper to middle class Americans and the college students who are consumption smoothing on little or no income and hope to someday be upper class Americans run in and out of the store picking up their wake-up Joe.

Generally you can predict a patron's beverage choice before they order. The older woman in the Christmas sweater gets a cappuccino and the too-thin tech geek grabs a tea with an oriental name. A young woman in modest but zippy attire gets a skinny latte and a burly man with rough hands orders his mug refilled with black or "unleaded" coffee.

The other day I was one of those people. Life was moving along a little too quickly and Starbucks seemed like just the thing to slow it down. I left home a few minutes early and stopped in at the Java stop that never stops.

I found my place in line in front of an overeducated and overworked Latina woman and behind a slightly overweight gentlemen who wore too tight pants and an orange leather jacket that could best be described as foppish. The Latina woman would get an iced doubleshot and a scone; the fop was a wildcard since he never ordered the same drink twice. The day's "suggestion" - a cranberry mocha beverage that was blood read in its menu representation - was a likely bet.

My turn came and I placed my order. If you've ever been to Starbucks with me you probably know what it was since my coffee tastes have changed little in two years of regular consumption. Feel free to guess in the comment section if that toots your flute.

Receipt in hand, I marched over to a second line to await my drink. That's when I noticed The Pyramid.

I've heard mention of different body types. In one of the not-to-recently passed decades, it was in vogue to debate and label people's shapes: she's a pear; she's an apple. We've probably at least heard that before, even if we didn't understand it or approve. The woman in front of me in the to-receive line broke all of those stereotypes. She was not a pear...and she was certainly not an apple. Tall, triangular and a giant three-dimensional arrow, I think she could best be described as a pyramid.

But what would this monster of a woman drink? My eyes searched the menu quickly, looking for any Mrs. size drinks or a taste that would appeal to the plus size. Starbucks prides itself on a svelte and posh appearance and none of the drink titles seemed to appeal to "bigger" appetites.

That's just another of the many differences between Starbucks and Burger King.

When the drink arrived and was announced by the green-aproned employee, a shocked quiet came over the hustle of blenders and quiet chatting of busy people. Even the music seemed more hushed. Her order: A venti (no surprise) Java Chip Frappuccino (okay...) with six shots.

Six shots.

Mille milliards de mille sabords
! That would keep me up 'till Christmas, but it was her morning fix? How had she acquired such a resistance? What did she do when she needed to stay awake at night?

The Pyramid shuffled over to the drink table and picked up her order. Then she took a sip. As the liquid demise poured through her being, her imposing figure palpitated and I could actually see her heart beating more quickly beneath her stylish blouse. Her poor heart!

Then it hit me like those Gatorade showers players give their coach after a championship: that would be me in a few years. Sure, I could maintain some semblance of expected human form for a little while, but my poor alimentary and physical habits will eventually catch up to me and I will be the sniveling intellectual waiting in line to treat my addiction. I might even be a pyramid. For a moment I was worried. Then my drink was called and all thoughts of the line were erased by the cool refreshing taste of my favorite beverage.


Amë said...

Holy Smokes!! A regular venti already has five shots in it, and she ordered an extra six?!?!?!?

I would like to point out one thing about multiple-shotters like myself:

There are two types: Those who use shots only when they really really need the extra boost, and rarely hit six shots (unless it is during the Santa Clara debate camp), and those not of us who practice multiple shots as a lifestyle.

Also, another point (which I would absolutely love to see FCN look at in the future) is the rumour that each size can only support a certain number of extra shots, and that Starbucks will charge you for the shots and not add them in unless they are requested "floated."

Great post.

Patrisha said...

wow that was kinda cool,sweet and awesome.

Sarah said...

Just to perhaps balance this, and I'll just speak to coffee since I'm still technically underaged... ;)

I'm a 5'8", 107lb girl (in other words, taller than average and freakishly skinny) who can drink six shots of espresso and fall right asleep. In other words, caffine has no effect on me other than to raise my resting pulse to 20-30bpm more than it ought to be.

And the most espresso I've had in one day was close to twenty shots (I lost count after fifteen). Suffice it to say, I slept like a log that night.

Jesse said...

if he says milliards then he would actually say.
"Mille milliards de mille million de mille sabords"

Amë said...

Unfortunately, I must congratulate Sarah on being very right.

Although, I've never hit 15 in one day, much less twenty.

I think I topped ten once.... Definitely not in the same drink.

Kirsten Gruber said...

Has anyone else noticed that all of a sudden it's REALLY cool for people to carry around a Starbucks cup? Even if it's been long empty, or filled with water, it's cool to be seen drinking it and carrying it around. And of course, logo facing outward so it can be seen more efficiently.

Odd. :o)