I find myself many mornings at the mercy of a line leading to my favorite caffeinated drink. The horrors I have witnessed within that line have made me rethink my entire Starbucks experience.
Between the technological phone glare reflecting off every bored expression present and the sickly smell of morning breath in the air, I find myself at a loss as to why I am even present. Then I remember why I came, and I look down at my phone hoping that liking another cat video will make my morning more bearable.
I see Becky talking to Brittany about why Brian never picks up his phone to hear about Becky’s friend’s baby shower while their barista types in a BOGO deal to sedate their moral anguish with coffee beans. This all seems too absurd to be anything close to real. I convince myself that the coffee will fix my annoyed state of mind.
The person behind me sneezes and I brace for what I’m sure to be the plague. Immediately, the whole crowd, in a drone-like fashion, turns to look at the infected and all shift a little away. This is the most life I’ve seen in anyone all morning.
I’m closer now and I hear someone complaining about how their caramel macchiato didn’t taste right before another barista patiently explains to her that she’d asked for a double pump of espresso, too. The espresso wasn’t helping anyone in the situation, especially not me. The vain nature of the Starbucks line rattled my decaf brain to beyond boiling.
The person in front of me fumbled through their pockets looking for loose change, I hated them in this moment because this would be me seconds later. Through this hatred I came to a realization, Starbucks was quite literally pulling me apart. I had been made to loathe people in common, everyday situations, yet still participating in them as they did.
It was my turn now. I paid for my drink and sat down. Now waiting, I realized what addiction and overstimulation could do to people, myself included. The red screen that had only moments before represented my view of the world subsided. My cup came into focus as my name was called and all felt right again.
Legal drugs can have huge effects on people that don’t understand their consequences. Businesses like Starbucks profit off of this ignorance and sell it in a heat-sealing cup. While we all have vices, I feel caffeine tends to be a common go-to for college students.
I left, gripping my cup, knowing still that I’d be going back tomorrow. I fear that even through knowing that fact, Starbucks has us in a position to where we couldn’t care less. They’re playing the biggest game of cat-and-mouse with our brains. I’ll let you guess who the cat is.