A friend who lives out of town came to Fresno for a dentist appointment. She was going to get into town early enough for us to meet and catch up. This is the friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. We agreed to meet at Starbucks that is close to the dentist office and is actually in my neighborhood.
I don’t go into Starbucks very often. When we lived in San Francisco, the Starbucks right across the street from our apartment was a favorite stop of mine. I often stopped in and even had a small Starbucks card that was attached to my apartment keys. The crew knew just how to make a mocha that I liked and I could pick up a Chronicle at the same time. It was a nice place and filled with a variety of people. I still have the small Starbucks card, and Terry, bless his heart, keeps money on it for when I do decide to stop by and get something, but that is very seldom. Usually, like yesterday, it’s to meet up with someone since Starbucks is every where and a good meeting place.
Because she was coming from out of town and I was only coming from across town after my school chaplain duties, I easily got to Starbucks ahead of my friend. I hadn’t eaten lunch at school because I was showing a visitor around campus so I was parched and hungry when I arrived. I ordered a peach-flavored tea and a slice of banana bread and sat myself down at one end of the communal table that runs the middle of the store. There are lots of individual tables in the place, but they were all filled. Some with students. A middle-aged couple who were flirting something fierce and left entwined in each other’s arms. One corner table had four very well-dressed, well-coiffed older women, playing cards. A business meeting taking place that involved selling insurance to new homeowners. Do people not think anyone can hear them in Starbucks?
Right before my friend arrived, the strangest thing of all occurred. Two people, man and woman, again middle aged, dressed casually, came in with McDonald’s bags and sat next to me at the communal table. There is a McDonalds across the street and has just been remodeled. I could not understand why they didn’t eat their big Macs there. They never ordered anything from the Starbucks counter except the man did get a newspaper (for which one is supposed to pay but he didn’t) and read it while noisily scarfing down the hamburgers. He left the paper on the table but at least cleaned up the wrappers and fries’ boxes.
So, is this the new thing to do at Starbucks? Hold your canasta parties in a corner? Meet for an afternoon tryst? Plan your wheeling and dealing for the next sale? Eat food from another establishment? I was just meeting a friend to catch up on her life since moving out of town.