Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Another Post About Starbucks, indicating that I haven't quite got this "getting out more" thing down yet.

Maybe it's just the caffeine (or the booze) but I'm getting this vibe from Starbucks that they've got some sort of new corporate friendliness initiative happening, and it's making me very uncomfortable. Over the last few weeks, I'm noticing more and more baristas asking for my name when I place my order — my "bar drink" — so when it's time to pick up my coffee concoction they don't have to call me over as "Tall Mocha." They can call me Jay, or actually "Jason," because I've discovered that when I tell people my real name, the following irritating conversation inevitably ensues:

Presumably Deaf Other Person: Your name, please?

Me: Jay.

PDOP: Excuse me?

Me: Jay.

PDOP: Ray?

Me: No, Jay.

PDOP: Dave?

Me: Jay.

PDOP: Rait?

Me: Jay.

PDOP: Okay, Rait, your coffee will be ready in a minute.
Maybe I'm not enunciating?

So I just make up a name, cause it honestly doesn't matter. I can be whoever I want Bill or Tom, or theoretically Susan, or Optimus Prime, Dick Assman, KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, or Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, but not Rashawn or Tyrese, because that would be racist. I'm lucky that my given name is pretty much just a more popular name dumbed down for people too lazy to pronounce two whole syllables, and so after twenty-plus years of explaining that no, it really says "Jay" on my birth certificate — Starbucks, meet Jason. Whatever. It's not like I'm gonna become friends with the behind-the-counter help at Starbucks or anything.

Which is why it got really awkward this morning when the Starbucks counter girl told me that she recognized my face but forgot my name. Or my "name." As soon as I reminded the girl, the entire Starbucks staff was calling me by name: not just "Tall latte for Jason," but there's "Here's your latte, Jason" and "Have a nice weekend, Jason," and this whole superfluous name-wearing-out thing is especially disconcerting when it's not even your own name. Like, great kids, you know my name. I'm still not freaking tipping you.