So I walk into the Starbucks at Sheridan Square to get my Thursday morning, post-therapy usual cup o' Joe from the same inefficient, slow-as-mollasses "Barista". Right. It's called a clerk but the higher ups at Starbucks, in another only-in-America celebration of mediocrity, decided to not call them clerks, or salespeople-- they're Baristas. Serious coffee makers. Right. Whatever. This Barista wears the traditional garb of Starbucks Baristas: A green Starbucks apron, green Starbucks hat and non-descript clothes underneath. He looks to be a young black man in his early thirties or thereabouts. Anyway, I'm ordering my coffee and this man who is serving it to me speaks as though he has lingual paralysis. Yes. He slurs his words. It's annoying because he's shows no other signs of having had a stroke and something tells me this is less of a medical issue and more a laziness/ I-just-don't-give-a-crap-about-working-here-issue. He's very hard to understand.
Ahead of me is this striking, effeminate, African-American woman with straight hair. She is bejeweled and in a smart business suit. You can just tell she's a real princess. She is so engrossed in the mobile phone conversation she's broadcasting, she's fogotten to pick up her cup o joe that she's already paid for and that is sitting on the counter. Then the slurring Barista puts mine down next to hers. This wakes her up and she starts to reach for mine. I stopped her and said, "Oh no that's mine." She must have not broken away entirely from her phone conversation because she said, "What?" It is at this point that the Barista slurs, "Thaaaass naaaaaa youuuuuurssssss..." The Princess replies with an impertinent, "WHAT??" So the Barista repeats, "Thaaaass naaaaaa youuuuuurssssss..." Now the Princess is really frustrated and says to the person on the phone with her, "Hold on, I'm in Starbucks and there is... hold on..." and this time, pulling the mobile phone away from her head says directly to the Barista, "What???" And I said, "What he's trying to say is, 'That's not yours.' That's my coffee. Yours is right here" and I motioned to the other cup on the counter. The Barista snaps at me and says, "Iiiim naaaaaaat a man. I'm a woooomaaaan!" I stopped- frozen, really, in total horror at my faux pas and stared at the hairs on her chin, the sideburns and the very, very masculine facial features in front of me in total disbelief.
I felt horrible and was about to apologize when at that very moment, this Princess snaps at the Barista and condemns her, "Well if you dressed more effeminate and acted like a woman, then people wouldn't make the mistake!" And she grabbed her coffee and just ran off leaving me and the now twice offended Barista staring at each other. I slowly reached for my coffee, picked it up, and as I was leaving offered and sheepish, "I'm sorry" and slinked away from the counter.
Ah... New York. What a loving place it can be.