LaPlante, Ch. 1, Exercise 1
“Hi there, welcome to Starbucks on the East Side – how can I help you today?” I was working drive-through again, my left hand on my headpiece and my right tapping the warped glass of the ancient-of-days computer, inputting our customers drug orders.
“Large black coffee,” I heard a woman say over the intercom. The intercom. The intercom is magical device for filtering customer orders. For instance, this woman ordered a “large black coffee” – that’s how the transcript reads. What she actually said before the talk-box condensed her words into that pressed, roughly polite elocution, was something more like, “Give me my damn caffeine.”
Either way, I understood. “Alright, a Venti coffee is $2.12. I’ll see you at the window,” I responded. That’s what the transcript reads, anyway.
Next to the carafe was a cup of hot water for my hands. Working the window in the winter was cold and ridiculous. I couldn’t wear gloves because the screen wouldn’t register the orders, but I spent my whole eight-hour shift with my hands out the window. Usually I would hold the cup for a few seconds after every order to keep the feeling in my fingers, but, for this order I didn’t need to; the coffee was hot enough.
She pulled around with her arm protruding out her window, credit card in hand. She didn’t to shift her gaze from the road. Too great an imposition to look my direction.
I didn’t bother to hurry. After a few seconds of standing idly, asserting my autonomy, I raised my hand and pulled the window open. “$2.12 for your order.”
Her wrist flicked. I leaned out of the window and gently removed the card from her hand. The window closed as I ran her card. I reached up again to open window, bracing for the cold. “Would you like a receipt today?”
“No. Just coffee.”
I turned and picked up her order, adjusting the lid to secure it.
“Here you are, mam.” My foot left the ground as I stretched to deliver her fix. She took her coffee, still without breaking her gaze on the empty road before her. Her head bent downward, her nose lingering just above the top of the cup and she inhaled deeply.
“Thank you,” she turned to say. She smiled.
“You’re welcome,” I grinned in return.
She had a beautiful smile.