“I’d like a tall Americano.”
“With room for cream?”
An innocuous daily exchange at my local Starbucks.
I hand Chris my Starbucks card. He slides it through the card slot on the cash register.
Suddenly the card catches. And goes flying. Somewhere.
As if into outer space. It disappears.
“Where’d it go?!” marvels Chris.
“It went somewhere,” I say. “Didn’t just disappear.”
He searches searches searches. Searches high and low around, behind and underneath the register.
He peers into shelves. Removes boxes. Sifts through stacks of paper bags for pastries.
He peeks under the floor mat. Checks around coffee machines. Looks under random cafe items.
“You have to find that card,” I say. My patience is thinning. He’s been searching for 10 minutes.
“What are you looking for?” asks a second barista.
“Her card. It went flying … somewhere.”
The second barista doesn’t join in, he’s making drinks. Despite my impeccable work ethics that impel me to join in any endeavor involving tasks, I restrain myself.
“It’s not my place to go behind the counter. It’s not my job to find that card. It’s his.” Only by telling myself that repeatedly do I NOT step behind the counter!
More minutes pass.
“You have to find that card. It was a gift. It has sentimental value.” It’s got money on it too. But sentiment’s what attaches me to the card. That plus the fact that in our 3D reality — a reality not narrated by Rod Serling — coffee cards do not suddenly evaporate.
I disappear. Not per the Twilight Zone. “I’m not leaving,” I tell barista Chris. “Just going to the restroom.”
Some 12 minutes waiting as he hunts every which direction, my impatience turns to irritation. “That card’s somewhere. He’ll stay here ’til midnight to find it if he has to,” I tell the second barista. I’m super irritated.
“Maybe not that late,” he replies. He’s subtly irritated.
Chris stands, re-examines the area around the cash register. Brushes his hand atop the right pocket of his green apron.
“Oh my god!” — or something to that effect.
Voila! Like a magician with a rabbit, he pulls out: My card!
Somehow … lord knows how … it’d sailed from the card swiper straight into his pocket!
Freakish! Weird! Twilight Zone-y! Incredulously, we laugh. “Well, next time you’ll know where to look first!”
He gives me the tall Americano at no charge, completing our journey to another galaxy where Starbucks cards do dematerialize and reappear out of thin air.
Rod Serling would be impressed. And in regaling him with this tale, I’d be chillin’ with that tall Americano — with room for cream and a shot of whiskey, poured straight from the Starbucks taps — in some other galaxy, far far away …