It’s Complicated

The barista slams the paper cup against the counter. “Repeat that.”

It isn’t rocket science. “Venti Sumatra, half an inch of cold soy, a pump of hazelnut.”

He’s holding the cup, Sharpie marker in position. The Jack Black haircut and spanking new Starbuck’s apron give away his status. He doesn’t have any visible piercings or tattoos. It’s his first day. Maybe his last. He is past the point of polite.

When’s he’s finally able to make change, I slide the coins into the tip jar. He hasn’t earned them. Another barista builds my drink. Thank God. I park in the corner. At least a dozen customers have open laptops. Welcome to my afternoon office.

I have a house with office space. The entire formal living and dining room is referred to as the studio. But on summer afternoons when everyone is home, I leave to write. I don’t need quiet. Starbucks is anything but quiet. I go to a place where no one will ask for anything.

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