smelly happ(un)ings

Everyone has his or her Starbucks. “Let’s go to my Starbucks where my barista makes my drink perfectly. When I’m forced to veer off the path due to inconvenience, I feel like I’m cheating (I’m sorry skinny-jean-wearing, beard-clad barista who’s name I don’t know because you don’t have name tags).

During a recent mid-week trip to New York, I stayed with a good friend who lives on the Upper East Side. Because on paper I’m still a full-time student, I had to find time to get some classwork done. New York is hip and trendy. I know there are, like, a trillion quaint, individually-owned coffee shops but sometimes I just want consistency. With a Starbucks on every other corner, I know my coffee will be consistent. My friend and I set up shop at “his” Starbucks where I was comforted to find seats aplenty.

The tables were close. Now, I love a stranger reading over my shoulder and dribbling triple berry coffee cake crumbs on my keyboard as much as the next person, but I suggested we pull two tables together. We weren’t going to actually USE the other table. Don’t be silly – simply a place holder for my purse (the mere thought of letting my Michael Kors touch the floor? Hah. Good one, kid.). Out of the corner of my eye I see a woman patiently standing next to the empty end of the table.

Head still down, I roll my eyes as far as the socket will allow to see the woman wearing a Disney backpack clearly crafted for a child, hair tied back with a “vintage” scrunchie, arms bent at 90 degrees, a Coke Zero in the left and a box of spearmint Tic Tacs in the right. Let me tell you, this was no harijuku fasionista. Eyes locked, her eyes dart between the empty attached table and me. I don’t have headphones in, she’s just not talking. Slowly, I reach for my bag and hang it on the back of my chair, a sure sign of surrender.

She’s close but I can deal. Until I see this erratic movement. Still typing to give off that inconspicuous vibe, I see her flipping through a magazine, which came second to taking the Tic Tac’s, immediately followed by the liter of Coke Zero to the face in 3 moves. 1. Right had to mouth. 2. Neck break. 3. Right hand down. Repeat steps 1-3 with left hand.

In less than 7 minutes, the liter and container were but a symbol of the past. Girl did WERK. Again, whatever. Frankly, I’ve probably done weirder.

Then it hits me.

This sudden blow of urine burns my split ends clear off. Like word vomit I go, “Is it just me or does it smell like someone just peed on our table?” He chimes in with, “It smells like a city of port-o-potie’s.” We didn’t actually DO anything, just stated the obvious without any real plan to take action…..like tent the establishment, or provide complimentary oxygen masks (please place the mask on yourself before assisting others and remember, although the bag may not inflate, oxygen is flowing) . Curiously unaffected was the, um, patron next to me. As if on cue, she swiftly strides on out the door. She would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling hiker’s windbreaker pants.

She left before the baristas even saw her arrive so they take one look at me, smile pitifully then look at each other mentally rolling on the floor in hysterics.

This would never happen at my Starbucks.

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