It doesn't matter what time you get to Starbucks or how many Starbucks exist near you or what the general population of your city is like. Even if you were the last person in the world, I have a suspicion that there would still be a massive line standing between you and your caffeine fix. In fact, if I walked up to a Starbucks and there wasn't a line, I'd probably retreat back to my car as calmly as I could, text all my loved ones guided directions to a safe house, and never return to civilization, because a universe that has a Starbucks with no lines is not one that I am ready to understand.
There is a chance that it might be happening sooner than I anticipated, thanks to the order-ahead app that Starbucks started testing this year. But with the seasonal holiday drinks and cups in full swing, I doubt even that could make an impact on your wait time. Lines at Starbucks are another inevitability in life, like taxes or death or googling "how to open wine without bottle opener" at some point in your adult life. But the inevitability of it means that it's an experience that all caffeine lovers can share, because anyone in line at Starbucks has had all these thoughts before:
1. "Maybe the line will move in a predictable and orderly fashion. Maybe today will be different."
Is it possible to be this full of misplaced optimism before you've had your caffeine fix? Unfortunately, yes.
2. "I’m so tired, I’m going to fall asleep on this man in front of me."
That giant gallumphing winter coat he is wearing will probably break your fall, so it's fine.
3. "Should I even bother giving them my actual name?"
We have long since suspected that the people of Starbucks misspell our names intentionally. Yeah, well, joke's on you, because I'm in the mood to have a name like Flubber this morning.
4. "I am so plagued by indecision right now."
This is especially rampant around the holidays, when the urge to "treat yo self" suddenly crops up with a vengeance. You might have been in line to get your regular coffee and leave, but now you are enchanted by signs about salted caramel things and those little cake pops propped up in the window and you might not be strong enough to resist.
5. "I’m way too broke for this."
Oh yeah! You have zero moneys. Ugh, who created this system of commerce where we have to exchange money for essential goods? Caffeine should be a right.
6. "How the hell did Steve crush my score on Angry Birds?"
There is a brief window in line where you find inner peace through the apps on your phone, but unfortunately that distraction is short-lived.
7. "WHY DOES THAT LADY NEED SIXTY GIFT CARDS?!"
Every week is Something Appreciation Week—teachers, receptionists, bosses, etc.—and the person buying the freakish number of ten dollar gift cards is always that lady in the really nice jacket with immaculate hair who apparently has no idea how to do all of this ON THE INTERNET LIKE NON-SADISTS DO.
8. "Tall, non-fat, vanilla latte with whip. Tall, non-fat, vanilla latte with whip. Tall, non-fat, vanilla latte with whip."
The longer it takes to get up there, the more ordering anxiety you have until you're rehearsing it to yourself over and over as if the fate of humanity rests on your ability to say your order to a barista without stammering. Pro-tip: my friend who works at Starbucks said to alway mention the size first, since it's the first button that the baristas have to hit to start the order.
9. "Ew, that lady's getting a Frappuccino this early in the morning?"
I don't know why I get all judgey at this point in the line. I'm uncaffeinated and hangry and even though I too enjoy a thinly-disguised milkshake beverage at seven in the morning, at this point, I basically become the Regina George of this Starbucks.
10. "I'm going to be late for work, maybe I should leave."
11. "HAHAHA YEAH RIGHT—I am a slave to caffeine. (No, seriously, please help me.)"
Your ability to hide your hysteria at this point in the line should be listed under "special skills" on your resumé.
12. "I hate literally every person in here who is already holding a coffee cup."
You are a good person. Correction: You were a good person. But now that you are standing here watching these smug people who woke up five minutes earlier than you did clutching their cups, you aren't so sure of anything anymore.
13. "SWEET VICTORY AT LAST! I HAVE ARRIVED! PARADISE IS SEVERAL BURNT TASTEBUDS AWAY!"
Honestly, the look on your face when you finally reach the barista should scare the living daylights out of them, but fortunately (or unfortunately), they're more than used to it by now.
Images: Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr; Giphy (12)