Sunday, October 24, 2010

My first Starbucks experience

A couple mornings ago, my sheepishly apologetic father, who needed a ride to the mechanic and then to work, came into my room to wake me. I grudgingly rolled out of bed, slipped on a headband and a pair of flip-flops, brushed my teeth and graciously did my daughterly duty. I guess it wasn’t all bad because he felt so guilty, he offered to treat me to Starbucks, and since it wasn’t on my dollar, I sprung for a Mocha instead of my recent usual regular coffee or tea.

As I drove home, sipping from my recycled paper cup, I noticed the barista had written an odd spelling of my name at the top of the cup—“Kaity,” and I was reminded of the very first time a Starbucks barista had asked me my name for drink distributing purposes. I was an insecure, pimply high school sophomore and the prospect of ordering a drink from a hip and attractive barista made my palms sweat. I had only been to Starbucks a few times before, and was still unfamiliar with the various drinks and customs of the place.

My friend’s mom was taking us to Starbucks after school. My friend and I entered the coffee shop, the backs of our orthopedic, Velcro Mary Janes flapping on the ground as we walked. We were tired from a long day at school and we were both a disheveled mess—ponytails askew, oxford shirts untucked, knee socks drooping, shoes only half on. We were ready for a sweet, caffeinated treat. When we got inside and saw the brown eyed, shaggy haired and freckled hipster dreamboat working behind the counter, we both bemoaned the fact that we were not more put together and fit for such an encounter. Even though we both already knew what we wanted, we stood intently studying the menu boards for a good minute or two, and I finally ordered a “grandemochalitefrappucinowithextraqwhipcream.” The smiling barista then caught me off guard when he asked me my name, with a plastic cup in his hand and his sharpie poised. I blushed (I’ve never really been sure if I actually blush or not, but let’s just say my neck got very warm,) and I tried to keep my face from spreading into a goofy grin. I bashfully told him my name, and then he asked how I spell it. The cute barista wanted to know my name! Maybe he’d want my number too… Should I ask his name? Was this an attempt to start a conversation…? This was kind of exciting—I felt singled out and interesting. However, the idea of actually conversing with this attractive stranger was just too terrifying, and so I meekly shifted to the side and waited for my drink.

I then received a bit of a shock when my friend stepped up to the counter and ordered her drink, only to have the barista ask her name. This happened with the other two customers in line as well. I suddenly did not feel quite so special or singled out. Actually, I felt slightly mortified. Furthermore, as I began to frequent Starbucks more often, I realized that asking customers their names to then write on their respective cups is a common Starbucks practice. Something to make the whole Starbucks experience a little more personal, I guess. Well, it worked on me. And I have to admit that even now when I go to Starbucks and tell the barista my name when he or she takes my order, for a few minutes, I feel downright awesome.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Poem about getting old

My youngest brother asked me to be his Confirmation sponsor this fall. I was honored that he asked me, however, when I learned that this involved the two of us doing a few hours of community service together, I have to admit my enthusiasm faded somewhat. At our parents' suggestion, we decided to volunteer at a nursing home near our house. Now I wasn't looking forward to this afternoon at the nursing home any more than my brother. But when I saw just how much he was dreading it, I steeled myself to have a better attitude at least outwardly, in the hopes that it might rub off on him a little.

We ended up having a good two or three hours at the home. We sorted and delivered mail to the residents and then we went and talked to a few of the residents in the dining room. We made a friend, Mr. Stephens, who was a hoot and loved talking to us. He was incredibly friendly and very Texan. It was sad to talk to him though because the longer we talked to him, the more we realized how his mind was going, even though he seemed fairly lucid and healthy, especially compared to some of the other residents. Today both of my brothers went back and played Bingo with some of the residents and Mr. Stephens recognized my youngest brother and was very glad to see him.

After that afternoon at the nursing home, I wrote this poem:

Will you still love me when---

I’m weathered and ashen and old?

Of course I’ll still love you. Till death do us part, remember?

Will you still love me when my memory starts to fade? And I can’t remember the order of the days of the week? Or where I was born?

I’ll still love you. We’ll help each other remember.

Will you love me when my body is feeble and I can’t keep the tremor out of my voice or fingers?

I’ll still love you. I’ll hold your hands and help keep you steady.

Will you still love me when I stop caring what I look like? When my clothes are stained and I wear a navy sweatshirt with black sweat pants and brown shoes?

Yes. I’ll still love you.

And when I begin to lose control of my body? And I smell of flatulence and urine? Will you really still love me?

Even then, I will still love you.

What about when my mouth grows stubbly and scratches your lips when you kiss me? Will you still love me then?

Of course, I’ll still love you. I’ll even still kiss you.

And when I’m cold all the time and even our thickest blankets and you can’t keep me warm? Will you still love me?

Even then, I’ll still love you. And I’ll never stop trying to keep you warm.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It's been too long since I posted. I know.
Here is a rough draft of a poem, inspired by a few texts I saved from a friend earlier during the summer.


Last night I had
the strangest dream,
my Old Friend Paul
whispered in my ear.
And I opened my eyes
slowly remembered
your voice
on the screen.
You told me you were naked—
the good kind of naked.
(You were always comfortable in your own skin.)
You sat in your bed and
told me about the sky
as it climaxed into a storm,
how the light zig-zaggged
and pulled apart the night clouds.
The rain tapped its tune
into your window,
lulling you to sleep
keeping you awake.

You warned me to pay attention
to what God has given me
and so of course, I thought of you.
And I thanked Him.
I thanked him for a few short months,
for hours spent in conversation, banter,
pens at the ready.
For evenings at the pub, for whiskey
and your favorite beer, rides in the car,
farewell notes and embraces
never quite long enough.