New York is a city unlike any other — filled with constant energy, excessive wealth, endless romance, immeasurable power, and a Starbucks on at least every corner. And yet, the same five people seem to be at every single location, no matter where you go.
The Squatter has seemingly been in the exact same location for weeks. He’s usually a male in his 50s with his own mug from home, and a way-past-five-o-clock-shadow. His glasses sit at the end of his nose, and his exaggerated interaction with his mountain of notebooks, pens, and papers make you think he’s putting on a show, and that you might be on an episode of Boiling Points. He yells into his Nokia phone (most likely with no one on the other end), and wants you to think he’s doing big business. However, his stained Fedora and 1998 Gateway laptop that doesn’t connect to Wi-Fi tell a very different story. The Squatter has turned “his” table into a rent-free office, even though he most definitely is unemployed and/or retired.
The Cool Teens
They’re done with school for the day, and ready to throw down and celebrate with a round of Frappuccinos! Because they’re trying to seem more mature, they go to Starbucks because grown-ups drink coffee (duh). However, they always order chocolate/strawberry/caramel Frappuccinos. Within their squad, there are always a guy and a girl that share each other’s drinks, giggling, and seem to be a couple. She’s flirty and he loves it. However, she’s only using him for the fraps, and although he understands, he still tries to unfriendzone himself by buying everyone $40 worth of gut-busting coffee milkshakes. Good luck with that, and puberty.
They’re dripping in sweat, in dusty hiking gear and sensible sunglasses on their heads. As they drink their waters (a cringeworthy word at Starb’s), you gather that they’re in their early 30s, and they just got married — as if you couldn’t tell by his light-weight cargo pants. She’s wearing a bandana on her neck, and he’s wearing one on his arm, even though he is neither a Blood nor a Crip.
Where did the come from? What is in all those backpacks? Why was their honeymoon hiking trip on the Upper East Side?
The Golden Child
Her name is usually Tiffany (or Becky with the good hair) and she’s still stuck in the 2006 Starbucks golden era when people wore Juicy Couture sweatpants with UGGs, oversized sunglasses, and an impressive venti drink. Although she has externally moved on from those days and is dressed well, internally, she is sipping her drink with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, and petting a malnourished Chihuahua. Her drink orders are complicated, her phone conversations are too loud and public, and when she texts, her nails bang against the screen like a simpleton’s finger against a fish tank.
You are the writer. You are the only sane person in this establishment. You are brilliant. You are observational. You is kind, smart, and important.
Perhaps Starbucks is just a microcosm of the rest of the world, or at least New York. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from living in NYC it’s that you should be kind to everyone, embrace the freaks, and above all, ALWAYS share the passcode for the bathroom (the passcode at 90th and First Ave is 10000…you’re welcome).