The Critic

So, I’m at Starbucks. I order a cookie. The barista rolls her eyes. I am infuriated. I know exactly the reason why the barista rolled her eyes, and it pisses me off. All that I did was order a chocolate chunk cookie. Two, actually. That was my entire full order. That’s why she rolled her eyes.


Like, as if I had committed such a crime. As if I’d broken such a taboo by not ordering a goddamn macchiato, or a goddamn chai tea whatever — latte — whatever. Not only does she roll her eyes at me, she tilts back her head and looks at the ceiling. Such theatrics. Also, her barista companion, some dude, takes notice. He cracks a smirk. He says, “two chocolate chunk cookies, heh” he says — to her, not to me. He’s not even looking at me. He is, though, directly in front of me. So I answered him. I said, “Yeah, dude, two chocolate chip cookies.” The male barista just nods at this. He turns his head then rolls his eyes.


I slide down to the register. The other barista is there waiting. She repeats the order before cashing me out. “So, that’s two chocolate chunk cookies, right?” she says. Emphasis on that number two. And so, I lean in toward her — just slightly, not too much, not like a creep would — and I say, “No. I want three chocolate chunk cookies.” When I tell her this, I make sure to put forth my most authoritative voice. I had said three, with such confidence, it was beyond noteworthy. I was like a dark horse in a poker game who had pulled through with the highest hand. She didn’t even know how to react. I handed her my Starbucks gift card. She was kind of slow to take it. I said, “Whatever the price, just swipe it.”


Yeah, it’s the small things in life. Not getting dragged down by some corporate barista on a culture-trip — that’s a small thing. A small battle, which I’d won. I think. I mean, I’ll just say I did. I think I did. The day is looking better already.


It’s now 9 am. I have a job interview in 30 minutes. It’s at St Patricks. A local college. I’m applying there for a job as a student counselor. I expect I will nail the interview. I mean, my own worst quality going into this might only be that I’m overqualified. Thank God — that I have an interview. I feel I can talk my way through a discrepancy such as this one. I’ll need to emphasize my concerns on matters of passion — I want to help people. Basically. That’s what I’ll say. That’s a pretty universally well received angle to go with. I’d have to be artful with it, though. Can’t go too hard or I’ll show myself a fake. I gotta be levelheaded. I’m to be interviewed by a dean. I’m sure he’s had plenty of experience with over-shooting students. Hopefully he will find me genuine. Or, maybe, hopefully she, for that matter. He could be a she.


I’m still bothered by that barista. I wish I wasn’t, but I really am. I’ve ordered cookies before from that same Starbucks in the past, and each time that I have, I’ve always gotten rude looks for it. Is it possible that I’m just that self conscious about ordering cookies at Starbucks? Perhaps. I guess. Maybe to some extent. But there’s something much more to my perceptions, though. I would have to be more accurate than not. I distinctly remember this as having happened now three different times.


So silly, it’s a fucking cookie — and, it’s from fucking Starbucks. What’s the big deal. The people at Subway don’t turn their noses up at me when I neglect to have my sub toasted. And those people are sandwich artists. Artists. It says so on their front window. “Sandwich artists.” I wouldn’t tell Picasso to draw in more lines, but I will tell Peter, though, “Not so much lettuce, man,” and when I do, Peter nods and scrapes off the lettuce. That’s what I need. That’s what I respect. That’s why I respect Peter. Not those baristas, though. I bet they’re all making fun of me right now. “Mr soft cookie” I’d bet they’re all saying. Damn pumpkin spice. I wish I could think of witty insult to say, that was involving with pumpkin spice. It’s way too overdone at this point. It’s expired. Not so fresh. White girls love pumpkin spice. I see memes everyday on this topic. So polarizing. Pretty sure that pumpkins and pumpkin spice both predate the onset of Internet memes. Now I can’t even have pumpkin spice. Not that I would but, regardless, I can’t. The Internet ruined it. Thanks, Internet.


I hail down a cab. I get inside. I tell the driver to take me to St Patricks. The driver has no idea where St Patricks is — “Is that a church” he asks — he doesn’t even know what St Patricks is. It’s not like a crime, but still, he’s a cabbie. He should know his own domain. “It’s a college. It’s on Lark Street” I tell him. “Oh, of course, St Patricks” he says. I raise an eyebrow. He types some words into a GPS. We get moving.


He drives fast, and I appreciate that. He’s clearly a good driver. He’s quickly making up for his mishap with the address. I’d think that driving — like, driving in and of itself — the actual act of driving — that’s by far the most critical quality of any given cabbie. And in that regard, this cabbie is top notch. He’s weaving through traffic like a pro. Not too fast, but fast, and he’s not jerking wildly, not screeching tires or anything. He’s in complete control of the vehicle. I feel safe. I’m gonna tip him fairly well. That GPS, though. So lame. I mean, an ideal cabbie should know his city like the back of his hand. I mean, he must know the streets well — I’d think, to be able to weave traffic like he is — I feel that much requires a certain amount of familiarity be possessed — unless, his instincts really are just that good, in which case good for him. But still, I’d truly be that much more impressed were it not for his damn GPS. It’s now talking. “Recalculating, recalculating” it says. So annoying. It’s like, really killing the romanticism of my taxi experience. Get out of my ears, you damn dirty robot.


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