The barista at Starbucks hates me. She hasn’t said so, but it’s pretty clear. She whispers to another worker when I approach the counter. It takes me back to middle school. I walk proudly into the building wearing my WHAM shirt, George Michael’s face plastered across my chest and my name monogrammed on the back. I thought I looked good. A few boys whispered and laughed. I never wore that shirt again. I am a grown woman and will be damned if I back down to a barista.

I think my drink order irritates her. I always get an iced, venti, non-fat caramel macchiato with an extra pump of vanilla and extra caramel. I have tried to joke about how obnoxious it sounds. “I might as well just get a milkshake,” I say followed by an uncomfortable giggle. She must have been trained by the guards at Buckingham Palace. It doesn’t matter what comes out of my mouth she remains stone faced. I have tried to relate to her, “I used to work at Starbucks in college.” I just come off sounding like a pompous ass. I worked here, but now I am better than you. That is not my intention. She won’t even smile at my 3-year-old daughter who is cute as hell. It’s not paranoia because I’ve seen her interact with other customers. She is friendly and even laughs on occasion. I would go to another Starbucks, but there is only one in my damn town. This is something that would happen to Elaine Benes. Come to think of it, we are a lot alike.

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