Being a regular at our local Starbucks comes with many perks, such as getting bumped to priority status when there is a line of drink orders ahead of mine and getting first dibs on the lemon cake they dropped on the floor, er… I mean, the delicious lemon cake samples. So, basically, I am to coffee houses what Charlie Sheen is to strip joints — proffered preferential treatment as a reward for my dirty, expensive addiction. Only with fewer lap dances (not that the anti-underwear, miniskirt-wearing drag queen bicyclist, a fixture around the neighborhood, hasn’t offered) and an equal amount of disgust about having had to pretend I’m not perfect all these years.
Simple fact: Charlie and I have got magic and poetry in our fingertips. Don’t be jealous haters, people.
Another benefit is the friendships I’ve formed with the employees there; I exchange parenting tips with the manager, accept all the compliments I can get from the doting gay barista (Oh c’mon, these jeans so do NOT make my butt look small! TELL ME MORE.) and even have the phone number of one young lady who has offered her babysitting services to us, should Mr. Candy and I ever decide to go on another date night. Which should happen by the time the next Olympics roll around. But perhaps the sweetest employee is the parking lot attendant, who always wears a smile despite the many a-hole L.A. drivers with whom she has to deal and — ssshhh! — sometimes lets me run into Starbucks without giving me a ticket to validate. Because that’s the kind of bad-ass relationship we share. Thelma and Louise ain’t got nothin’ on us.
Well, okay, except maybe the ability to communicate clearly because English is not her first language. But we somehow manage to get our points across to each other, usually ending up with me gesticulating wildly as though competing in a manic game of Charades. Which, now that I think about it, is probably just her way of getting her daily dose of entertainment. You just know she speaks flawless English and laughs her ass off every time I drive away. No WONDER she always greets me with a smile.
This morning was no exception when she pointed to my stomach and asked, “How’s baby?”
“Kicking up A STORM!” I exclaimed, kicking my feet and pounding the air with my fists for good measure. She pretended not to find me ridiculous.
“Oh yeah? How you feel?”
“Good. Tired,” I sighed, resting my head on my clasped hands.
“My daughter, she is two months pregnant…”
The attendant shook her head.
“She not good. Angry one day, then sad, then angry, then crying, then cry some more…”
“Oh honey, that’s called PREGNANCY.”
The attendant just looked at me. So I obliged — and gestured dramatically toward my baby bump, followed by exaggerated shrugging and a furrowed brow. Which, as we all know, is the universal sign for “PREGNANCY CAN BE F*CKING TOUGH.”
“I was like that in my first trimester, too. Like, really bad. It’s just part of being pregnant for some people.”
Still no response.
“It’s NORMAL,” I yelled, with no clue why I was raising my voice.
Finally, she smiled and nodded… knowing full well that I am anything but.