My trainer Jessica refers to Starbucks as her Secret Lover. Sorry, Jess, I’m busting you on the internet. Your relationship will be out in the open now. But, I have a secret, too. We have the same Secret Lover. She’s cheating on you, baby … with me. My guess is you won’t care as I don’t either. Because she’s as addictive as she is soothing and eye-opening.
My first Starbucks experience was on a trip to New York city. I saw this coffeehouse, and I went in to see what this was about. This was before they spread all over the country inspiring the world to drink $5 coffees as black as night and brimming with frothy, creamy milk. I had an eggnog latte. It was the drink that hooked me. I’m drinking it this morning, Jess. And, it’s as good as the first time…. a little tart with that rich dark roast bite. Oh, my …. is it good! I woke up this morning with a little extra time on my hands, and I knew .. as it crossed my mind … that I would not … could not resist. And today – with a little extra time to spare – I’d get to sit in its liquidy warm embrace. Starbucks has been my Secret Lover, Jess, since before you were out of high school. She was mine first.
I didn’t see another Starbucks until I moved to Seattle in 1998. It was there that the real relationship began. Before, it was a one night stand … hot… dreamy … and heady. And I remembered her so fondly. I spent most of my extra money on her while I was in Seattle. The cold, damp days and nights called for something warm and soothing. Being new to the area and traveling all the time, I didn’t make many friends. So, my lover was also my companion. To make matters worse, I worked out of my home, so Starbucks was my office, too. I conducted job interviews there right by the pastry case. I built relationships with salespeople beside her fireplaces. It was where I spent my time. And, the ones in Seattle were eclectic, one of a kind locations. They were unlike the cookie-cutter stores you see today. Occasionally, I’d visit a local coffeehouse, but it just wasn’t the same. I wanted what I knew was consistent. I wanted what I knew I liked. I wanted HER.
As the years have passed – over 15 years now, the relationship has had its ups and downs. How can I afford her? How is this affecting my life? Is it really worth it? Don’t I need some variety? What can’t I quit her? I tried working there as a supervisor in Indiana to legitimize the relationship, and, quite honestly, because I loved her and I just couldn’t get enough. But I needed more. She wasn’t intellectually stimulating enough to keep me interested very long. So, we went back to our original seductive dance. I’ve tried to find local coffee shops because I feel like it’s the right thing to do, but, dammit, sooner or later the local house doesn’t fix a drink right, runs out of something that I want, has terrible service or does something that drives me right back to my Secret Lover. She KNOWS me, and those other coffeehouses … well, they just don’t understand me like she does.
I’m tired of fighting it. I want to come clean. I see all of her other lovers here this morning. Most of them are men. Right now, I’m the only woman in here with 12 men. That tells you how seductive it is. Testosterone is the hormone of passion and heat. What attracts me is the warmth… her consistency .. her sweetness … she’s so very sweet. And, I can’t forget the rush …. the crack. So, I’ll come … often in secrecy … in the dark of night …. pay the money I don’t really have to spend, and wait anxiously for my fix. For a half hour, I will luxuriate in her loving arms, feeling everything I’ve always felt. At some point, that last sip will come, and I’ll look at the cup with great trepidation. Why are you empty again? And, I know …. I’ll have to go back … I can’t stop going back …. I don’t want to stop … ever. 🙂