The day following Election Day I stood on line at Starbucks, glancing at election results from a newspaper someone left on a chair. The queue was out the door, literally. A young woman ahead of me was quite conversational and laughing openly with someone on her cell phone. Her conversation wasn’t necessarily a private one; still, most of us could hear about something having to do with an incident at a bar the previous evening. Once she reached the barista, he asked what she’d like. He was professional and cordial. The young woman says to the person she is talking to (which I will refer to hereafter as a “friend”): “Oh, I gotta order. Hold on.” She studies the coffee bar menu, undecided on what she wants. She asks for one thing but then quickly changes her mind. Also, she wants a grande instead of a venti.
The barista tallies her order. Meanwhile the customer resumes her cell phone conversation. She’s exhaustively chatty with her friend, laughing, so full of whatever–joy, maybe? The barista, polite and patient, waits for her to produce a debit/credit card, app, or cash. But she’s caught up in the conversation she’s having with her friend. No sooner than, it occurs to her that the barista is waiting for her to produce payment for her grande latte. Then, to my amazement, she decides she wants a pastry! She mulls over the various baked goods and finally decides on something, and she wants it warmed up. She tells her friend to hold on, she needs to pay for her order. She takes her cell and puts it up to the scanner.
Without missing a beat, she pulls out a few bills and drops them into the tip jar and resumes her conversation. She would not know what color eyes the barista had, or if he was black or white, tall or lean. Not once did she actually look at the barista.