The following incident occurred at a Starbucks in Valdosta, GA sometime around 10:30am (EST):
I'm standing near the front counter staring once again at the vast array of hot steaming beverages choices. Vowing to not pay more than $3 for a cup of coffee ever again, but also feeling a bit crestfallen about Christmas being over so soon, I opted for a tall Christmas Blend. The barista immediately informed me that they are no longer brewing the Christmas Blend; rather, they are now serving the Anniversary Blend. Yes, friends, Christmas was indeed over.
I decided to play ball. "Ok, a tall Anniversary Blend," I said, whatever that entailed. For all I knew, "Anniversary Blend" could have meant they are using coffee grounds that have been sitting around for an entire year. But I've discovered that I'm usually in good hands at Starbucks so I powered through with the ordering process.
" Yes, a tall Anniverary Blend with the sugar-free hazelnut," I continued. Not only had I decided to spend less money on coffee this year but I also made a secret oath to cut down on nature's candy, ergo, less calories.
Here's where the story gets ugly.
My brother, captain of the S.S. Minivan, was treating for the java. "That what you want?" he asked me, looking somewhat incredulous. His father-in-law stood by quietly as I gave my brother and the barista the nod to go through with Project Hazelnut.
"Ok," my brother said as he laid down some greenbacks.
Quicker than you can say "macchiato," I was handed a tall Anniversary Blend. The barista repeated the order for emphasis.
Note he did not say "hazelnut." This is an important detail.
I walked over to what the less sophisticated folks call the "fixin's bar" where I could add some low-fat milk to what I was beginning to realize was just a poor man's latte. That's when I saw the omen. It was the color most omens seem to assume.
Black. Black-coffee-black to be exact.
The barista had not left room for any creamer-like substances. Something was not right. My brother joined me at the fixin's bar, unaware of my encroaching discomfort.
Then the barista said the words that sent my world into a veritable tailspin.
"Tall hazelnut latte," he said, as he blithely set down a lidded coffee cup on the "pick-up" end of the coffee counter. I stared at the phantom beverage, perplexed.
"What's that?" I said aloud, as if the drink was, in fact, an extra-terrestrial.
"That's the second coffee you ordered," my brother said somewhat sardonically.
"The second coffee???" I ejaculated. What alternative reality was I living in? Had Rod Serling himself foreseen the events that were transpiring?
My brother then broke it down for me. Here is his version of the story:
He asked me what I wanted to drink. I looked at the barista and ordered a tall Anniversary Blend. Then I paused, and added," And a hazelnut latte." My brother, taken aback by my brazen avarice, then said," You realize that's two drinks," to which I apparently replied, "Yes, talls." He paid for both drinks. End of his version.
Notice that both his version and my version share the same ending in which MY BROTHER PAID FOR BOTH DRINKS.
Even though I protested his absurd Gus Vant Sant-esque reimagining of my story, I asked him who the hell goes to Starbucks and orders two coffee drinks FOR THEMSELVES???
He did not question my logic. Rather, he charged that I had no logic to begin with while I was placing my order. But here's the kicker, folks.
His father-in-law also claimed I ordered two different drinks.
Remember that scene in ROSEMARY'S BABY when Mia Farrow's character realizes everyone in the apartment building worships Satan? That's how I felt at that moment, with Starbucks standing in for Beelzebub.
I had no leg to stand on. Apparently, even the barista agreed with my brother and his father-in-law.
But again I ask, if you offered to treat someone to cofeee and that person went ahead and ordered two very different cups of coffees, would you still foot the bill?
My brother seemed to think that part made sense. And I'm the crazy one of the family.