When I was a kid, the best part of waking up was Folgers in your cup. In your parent’s cup that is. The coffee was dung, but it was an adult drink. Children cringed at the idea of coffee, never imagining that it would become a part of their palette some day. Caffeine was a yet to be tapped resource by America’s youth.
Sure, there was the oddball who drank Mountain Dew in the morning. But only late in their high school years, and likely only to show off to their friends. Some of us experimented with Jolt Cola, but those sessions were pure novelty and didn’t last long. Jolt Cola went out of business before anyone could turn it into an official ritual.
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
Starbucks, aka your local adult rejuvenation center, came along one day and taught the American masses the difference between freshly ground and ethically farmed java beans, and the piping hot liquid goat feces adults had consumed until that point. And it was good. And it was convenient.
Sugary and chocolatey and creamy, the Frappuccino was the perfect gateway drug for the braces and acne crowd into one of the few places (bars don’t count) adults could go in order to get through their mind numbing jobs, back to back to back birthday parties, trips to Michael’s and generally anything asked of us that doesn’t entail lying on the couch with our eyes closed. Now, they are there at seemingly every hour…before school, study breaks, lunch, after school, after sports, after dinner, after I go to bed (where I have nightmares of them drinking Frappuccinos).
If I’m lucky, I catch the line in a lull when they are busy usurping (and never leaving) every table in sight with their Apple products and general awkwardness. I end up stuck at the handicap table or the drafty one by the door, if I get any table at all. It’s rare to not wait though, as these waste expanding drinks apparently need to be consumed in wolf packs. There is a minimum of four wolves at a time (and that is a minimum), and of course each pays separately. Here’s an idea teenage wasteland…since you do this every day, take turns paying…unless of course the cumulative drink order is maxing out your daily debit card allowance, which is entirely plausible.
The drinks, if dessert consumed through a straw qualifies as a drink, take FOREVER to make. There have been times when I have experienced noticeable beard growth. The baristas look to be on the verge of exploding as the beverage requests stack up like Tetris blocks. Many of them sweat (the drinks and the baristas). On several occasions I’ve considered grabbing the whipped cream canister (as all of these drinks require whipped cream of course), jamming it in my mouth and sucking down hard, so that I can at least space out for a few seconds of the twenty minutes I’m going to have to wait for my DRIP COFFEE. And the music they’ve selected for this crowd? Not only is it terrible, but it’s so loud that I can barely hear the work call I’m being forced to take here because of the play date that has overrun my home office.
On several occasions I’ve considered grabbing the whipped cream canister, jamming it in my mouth and sucking down hard, so that I can at least space out for a few seconds…
Take the drive through you say? Not so fast. Surely at least two cars full of Frappuccino-lusting vampires lie in wait ahead. And if by chance not one of them, then one of their future selves not yet old enough to drive, but old enough to have developed an equivalent blended blood thirst. Then I get to wait in gridlock traffic and wonder what is taking so effing long, all the while burning gasoline (that I actually have a job to pay for) while they pretend to be Taylor Swift with their amazeballs besties in the car with “Seniors Rule” written in grease marker on the rear window.
NO END IN SIGHT
And Starbucks just keeps on catering to their insatiable desire for caffeine infused crushed ice sugar. Frappuccino happy hours? Not making that up. You’ve seen it. Waffle Cone? Dulce de Leche? Mini? Limited time only Shamrock Shake? Wait, that’s McDonalds…but that’s the crowd “the Buck” has stolen. Maybe Starbucks should bundle some of their worthless attempts at food into kiddie meals, complete with prize packets of my tired and elevating stress levels.
So it has come to be. Like most pure concepts today, America has managed to take the simple experience of fresh coffee and turn it into something diabetic. I suppose it could be worse, the best part of waking up could be Folgers in my cup.