My significant other purchased our first bag of Starbucks Christmas Blend 2011 this week, explaining to the barista: “I better pick this up for my girlfriend now—she’s a cracked-out Starbucks whore.” She told me this last night, while I was performing a hyper little dance in the kitchen with the shiny red, half-empty bag. I laughed, giddy with the joy of seasonal blends.
In the beginning, I hated Starbucks. My brother and I were totally into hating things together–new, fake, unnecessary things that damaged NYC as we saw it–who the hell needed this trendy new coffee chain with the stupid mermaid logo? And I HATED the ridiculous ripped-off Italian drink names; the mocha frap misto grande venti-ness of it all was appalling to someone who loves words. So I clung to Dunkin Donuts like the pathetic sugar addict that I am, ordering iced coffee and a blackberry jelly donut for breakfast every day, while Starbuckses (yes, that’s the plural) popped up all over the city like sick little money-sucking mushrooms.
Once Dunkin Donuts tried to compete, with new watery lattes and syrupy-sweet beverages, hiking their prices accordingly, it was all over. I allowed myself to transition, slowly and with huge amounts of guilt, from orange and pink into a world of bright shiny bags and standing on line with Yuppies. At the time there were two Starbuckses within a five minute walk from my job, then there were three, and now there are four. The fourth is the first Starbucks I waited for, watched as they built it behind the logo-ed glass. This Starbucks is mine.
My drink is the iced grande iced dopio—yes, they say “iced” twice when they order it. It’s not on the menu and I don’t remember how I started drinking it. Two shots of espresso over ice, then I smother it in half and half and sugar, and it is God. It is everything I love. So pure and solid, so sweet and full, this drink brings enormous pleasure to my every single day. I go there so frequently I’ve earned my gold card, which triggers a gorgeous black and gold free drink card to be mailed to me after every fifteen purchases.
The real reason I’m obsessed with Starbucks is I’m addicted to their specific brand of the designer drug called caffeine. Their advertising avoids the fact that most of their products make people high. On workdays, if I have three dopios, I’m just flying by 4, tapping my feet, making irritating little noises, babbling like a speed freak. Sure, it can be bothersome to my coworkers, but it is LEGAL. When I am at home writing, I drink iced Starbucks from morning ‘till night. I get a great deal done, between bouts of running around screaming like Macauly Culkin realizing he’s Home Alone. I call this condition “Bang” and achieving it regularly has brought great joy to my life.
See, Starbucks addicts are not loitering in doorways waiting for the man, they’re all snuggled behind their laptops, sucking down their coffee fraps and pretending they’re not doing drugs to get through the day. Like rich people at a cocktail party, the pretense is they’re drinking for the flavor, not the effect.
Sure, it’s an evil corporation and heart problems run in my family, but Starbucks gives me a delicious, beautifully packaged, legal high day after day, and for that, I am their willing whore.