“Is there actually green tea in the green tea smoothie?” I realized it sounded like a dumb question but decided to ask anyway. I was at Starbucks after all and chances were pretty good it was just a blend of green sugar and milk. The cashier, a 19-year-old dude with his brown hair swished haphazardly to one side, stared at me blankly. I debated if I didn’t say it loud enough or if his brain had slowed to a dilatory level.
“We are out of the green tea smoothie!” chimed/shouted a barista from the bar, turning her head over her shoulder while she was mixing an orange concoction in the blender.
“Welp, that settles it!” I said jokingly with a smile and relief. There were two girls behind the bar and my dim-witted cashier, and all stared back at me with no response. Clearly my attempt to lighten the situation fell flat on its ass.
“There are no green tea smoothies,” said my friend interrupting the silence, furrowing his brow as though I were a mad woman.
“Yes there are. Look, right there, on the menu. Under frappuccinos.” I pointed to the menu behind the cashier in an effort to prove my point.
“Ooooh! You want a green tea frappuccino,” realized barista #2, shaking her head at my confusion.
“Is there a difference?” I asked.
All three of the white kids in their green aprons and alternative hair styles widened their eyes and nodded in agreement. “Oh yea. BIG difference,” said barista #1. They all seemed to pity me as though I had just handed them a drawing of a duck and said it was a calculus equation. The two girls behind the bar looked at each other as barista #2 rolled her eyes.
For whatever reason I didn’t turn around and walk out, nor did I reach my hand over the bar to slap the little snot. Instead I smiled politely and asked for a small, which of course was corrected by the cashier as a “tall.”
I suppose these people have a reason why they behave this way. This particular coffee shop is in a wealthy neighborhood of San Diego county, so they are probably bullied around a lot by crabby businessmen and women dripping with diamonds and sass. Walking in I passed two Porches, a Tesla, and something so fancy I was afraid of it. What if I walked too closely to the gorgeous vehicle it spoke to me in a deep british accent? “Madam, step away from the car.” I hate being bossed around by machines so I was careful to keep my distance.
There’s also a reason that businessmen are crabby and ladies rolling in cash may have an extra dose of sass. The businessmen constantly have their eye on their company’s bottom line, their boss hovered over their shoulder as they pray for an increase in sales this quarter so they can keep their jobs for just a little while longer.
All the while the women are busy in their offices trying to balance the budget and fend off slaps on their asses by sexist cubicle mice. Then they stop at the yoga studio after work to keep that slap-able ass tight so their friends will still like them, their husbands will stay interested and they feel somewhat good about themselves. Exhausted after a long day, they come to Starbucks to get a nonfat, sugar-free latte for a little splurge and relief, only to find the little snot behind the counter made it with full fat milk. She didn’t spend the last hour and a half in a 110 degree studio just to put it all back on with a drink. So the garbage of the day falls on the unwitting barista, who in turn treats me like a dumbass when I don’t know the fucking difference between a frappuccino and a smoothie.
The point is, the experiences we have throughout the day do not stand alone, ever. My choice not to bust out my attitude on those brats was an attempt to stop this stupid cycle of people being rude to each other. Yes, I’m turning around and telling you about it on the internet, but that’s just because I’m normal and I couldn’t believe how ridiculous that interaction was and frankly had to pass it on.
Like I was saying, these experiences don’t happen in a vacuum, each interaction will set some of the tone for how the next one will go. Everytime I’m rude to someone, I’m giving them my shit to carry and have at least a teeny tiny affect on them. Maybe they were having a really good day and I put a damper on it. Or maybe they were having the worst day ever and I just convinced them that people are, in fact, evil and they should go home and cry into a full pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
I do not want to be the cause for ice cream overdoses. Nor do I want anyone to remember me as a bitch if I can help it. I can’t control much about what people think of me, but what I can control is myself. I can be a reason that people feel a little bit better about the world or a little bit worse about it.
Today you are most likely going to run into a lot of people. Many of them will be cordial (I hope), but some are going to say stupid shit to you that you can’t believe. That doesn’t make them a terrible person, necessarily, but even if they are it doesn’t matter. That’s an opportunity for you to make their day a little better. That can be done either by refraining to be rude right back or deciding to say something kind instead.
Remember, you have no idea what they are going through. It can be tough out there. Be the reason someone’s life is a little better today.
And by the way the green tea frappuccino was a tall cup of sugar topped with whipped cream and I could only drink half of it. Hell, I can barely spell the word frappuccino, let alone drink it. I mean is it one c and two p’s? The other way around? I don’t know or care, so lesson #2, don’t order drinks you can’t spell.