We stopped in Starbucks for some Tazo. I never really buy tea. I'm not sure why.
I was sleep-deprived, physically exhausted, garbed in huge basketball shorts that did not belong to me. My hair was down in a wavy mess, my eyes ringed with my smeared black eyeliner. Good thing I felt far too awful to care what I looked like. I probably resembled a cross between a racoon and a crack addict.
"What can I get for you?" The attractive dirty-blonde male behind the counter looked so cheery and clean-cut. That's one thing about everyone who works at Starbucks — they all look put-together, as if someone just clipped them out of the Christmas edition of magazines and put them behind counters to sell muffins and caffeinated drinks in pretentious flavors.
His appearance contrasted mine dramatically. He seemed to realize it.
"Hi, I just want a tea."
He stared at me for a brief second.
"I don't really know what weird flavors you guys have, and I don't care. I'm just really sick right now, and I want tea."
He glanced at me sympathetically, the frazzled mess on the other side of the counter, as if I were an absolute nut. But a tolerable one.
"Well, if you're looking for something ordinary, we've got Earl Grey. If you want something more soothing for a sore throat, you can go with a peppermint tea or the China green tips, which is just a plain green tea. We also have some other flavors. It depends on what you're in the mood for."
Fucking tea doctor.
"You know, why don't you just pick one for me? Surprise me."
He paused for a moment, as if he was trying to think of an answer to a hard problem, and looked me up and down with his piercing eyes. I suddenly felt oddly exposed, naked.
He reached for a cup and smiled.
"You seem like a Zen kind of person."
I never figured out what that meant. But the tea was fantastic.