So, Starbucks is kind of a love/hate place for me. Personally, I'm not ga-ga over their coffee drinks. In fact, I don't really drink their coffee and I take that as a point of pride. Coffee snob? Yes, yes I am!
However, I've developed a once or twice a week habit/ritual of going to Starbucks for a chai latte. I've come to realize that this habit is less about the drink and more about taking a walk, getting outside, being off campus (not by much, but still), and just not DOING something for work. It's usually a hurried affair - a swift walk to and from Starbucks, but it gives me a mental break in a way.
The other aspect that I like about the excursion is that I see "normal" people - meaning, non-work people. I'm not saying that I work with a bunch of crazies (although there might be one or two who would definitely benefit from good meds), but we're all kind of awkward, nerdy people in one way or another. I walk to Starbucks, and there is a whole 'nother world of people out there - business men and women, stay-at-home moms, office types taking a break, kids of different ages, retirees. Some people go there to have a meeting, others are reading, hanging out with their pet, or just socializing with a friend. It reminds me of my life during the summers, when I can languish around and see people in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.
I occasionally will run into a colleague or the random student on a latte run, but it is highly unusual for me to open the door to Starbucks and a stranger (to me) call me by my first and last name (the maiden name - although that's a different topic). I did not recognize this woman at all, and then she identified herself, first and last name as well. WOW - talk about a blast from the past. I think that we went to kindergarten and first grade at the same school and took piano lessons from the same teacher, but then our lives went their separate ways. While our parents see each other socially, I went off to study and live in a variety of different places and she did the same.
So, I couldn't believe that we ran into each other in a Starbucks in what is more or less Pleasantville, a far cry from the place that she and I grew up along the South Texas border. I was even more amazed that she recognized me, but I'm terrible with names and faces. Apparently I haven't changed since 4th or 5th grade? That could either be a good or a bad thing! It means that I haven't blossomed into a cool, sophisticated LA-type. Nor have I aged beyond belief and recognition? Apparently I've mastered a classical look - at least for myself?
I returned to school shaking my head over the encounter. It's not every day that I randomly bump into someone from my childhood - talk about a different place and time!