Friday, 2 October 2009

Reluctantly Entering the Starbucks Generation

I am afraid. My husband presented me with two bits of information that have unsettled me. The first is that he is on first name terms with the bar tender at Starbucks. Or is that barrista? Or server? Or coffee advisor? Either way I don't like it. Not one bit. Perhaps the fact that my family run a small cafe in North London makes me somewhat indifferent to the megagiants of the coffee chains. I don't think of myself as such a coffee snob (my husband would beg to differ and has almost given up making the first pot of the day to avoid my turned up lip if, god forbid, it shouldn't be just right) I think its just I don't like the taste of their coffee. To you the friendship may seem like a simple act of human kindness for which my better half is well-known, and yet, to the remnants of my cynical British self, it presents itself as our first lure into the yankee way (yes I am well aware that coffee chains are thriving over here, I am talking from merely from my slightly insignificant point of view not as a voice of reality). These are our remaining hours with my folks before we jet off to Boston-land. The imminence of our departure for a year long adventure is affecting our little clan in different ways seeing that, despite our Italian (Mum) and Jewish (Dad) heritage we are not disposed to great displays of emotion. Instead of tears or guilt trips or other negative parental stereotypes my parents appear to be behaving in the following manner: Mum has gone into ironing and cooking superdrive, folding our clothes even more meticulously than usual and creating the most breathtaking dinners an deserts and Dad repeatedly asks if I I will be designing the new menus for our cafe from afar. No doubt the final correction stage will take some time. I wonder if he will give me a conker or two to remember him by like my first day of university - "one for every year". Our son has been play acting plane rides for weeks, and appears firmly ensconced in intricate make believe stories that span many lands. I am alternately super calm and super leaky. Eyes that is. Hot tears seem to spring up and I do little to stop them. Not that I am sad to leave, my feet are permanently itchy. Just a little overcome. We have said goodbyes all week and I think they have taken their toll. The second thing my husband informed me of on our fuzzy phone conversations when time schedules coincide (me struggling to stay awake, he on his afternoon coffee high) is that he has volunteered me to twitter on his behalf. I say that's a novel way of describing my daily ramblings to him. He says he means the real twitter. I tell him to twitter off. He laughs and explains that it will be a creative project for me - the PR department have suggested he do it in character. I explain to him that his character only "lives" for a couple of hours a night and that, in the cold light of day, Igor is but a fake hump and set of limp black lycra leggings. It appears that the PR lot have waved their magic and I indeed, will be expected to post Igor's thoughts to possible followers. Do they really believe he ought to become the messiah of musical theatre? Stranger things have happened. Healthy, I think, it is not. What worries me the most as we come to the tail end of our "chat" are the suggestions he offers, "you know, you could say things like, I am at Starbucks getting coffee, blah blah blah." Coffee chains and social networks in the same sentence. This is not the man I married. I'd better get my British ass over there double quick before we are well and truly Starbucked.

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