Another Ginger Kid Story: The Starbucks Ginger Kid

I have come to realize that Ginger kids play an odd role in my life. They come into my life as life lessons and then vanish as quickly. Even though I myself am strawberry blonde, I lack that shocking redhead quality that makes people think "Wow, you're fucking Irish." (I am Irish, just not in the shockingly apparent way.) Here's my life lesson of a Ginger Kid who found himself employed at my Starbucks.

The Starbucks Ginger Kid:

In my past life, I used to write a newsletter every week and would accomplish this task by hiding in a nearby Starbucks for hours on end. Sometimes I would order a coffee, iced tea and a sandwich, other times I would sip on the same passionfruit iced tea for hours. I like to keep them on their toes.

The SB Ginger Kid worked there. He was one of those redheads who thought it gave him superpowers-- a little cocky and would often throw empty cups at his fellow employees and sing along loudly to the Starbucks-approved tunes. He was usually the one that took my drink order.

NOT SB Ginger Kid. Prince Harry. Correct swagger, though.

For months, he would mildly flirt with me, ring up my order, and that was that. Once I had my order I would slink away to my table and write on my laptop for hours. Pretty mundane stuff.

Then, as I began feeling the pressure for my job and its demands, I started having a harder time writing with my ipod on. Inspiration and funny lead-ins were not coming as easily. So, I would leave my earbuds in, just with the ipod turned off. This is when I learned more about the SB Ginger Kid...

He used to talk about me. Or at least try to guess what I did for a living since that I found myself in Starbucks every week wearing business attire. He figured I could not hear them. Or his rust-colored mane made him think he was above common courtesy.

"Maybe she works for DePaul? Or she's a business student who has to dress up for class? I don't know. I mean she's here every week. I'll ask her. Clearly she wants me." Ginger Kid would say confidently.

This is what they had to talk about? My occupation? He thought I wanted him? In the few minutes I had eavesdropped in on their conversation I felt an overwhelming sense of discomfort. What had they talked about last week? Did they ever make fun me? Or laugh about the way I make odd facial expressions when I can't figure out what to type next, or when I laugh at my own jokes? Shit. I wanted to hide.

Then, I felt embarrassed, because I just assumed that the SB Ginger Kid was leading a weekly debate all about me; I was the center of his coffee-fueled book club. I flipped my hair nervously and looked down at my keyboard. I don't think I can come here anymore, I thought to myself.

That night I didn't finish my newsletter, missed my deadline and had to wake up at 4 am to finish it on my bedroom couch as Capricorn was just coming to bed. Bad day.

A representation of me missing my deadline. And practicing my X-Men skills. Duh, Jean Grey.

I didn't go back to Starbucks for two weeks. After two weeks, I realized that I was acting like a little girl and as a patron of Starbucks who cares if the baristas have nothing better to do than guess what I do for a living. Perhaps I will act extra sneaky and they will think I'm a spy. Or a ninja. NINJA!

When I did step foot into my Starbucks the next time, SB Ginger Kid was there. Alone at the register, he smiled at me as I walked up. I told myself in my head that it didn't matter what a coffeemaker thought of me.

SB Ginger Kid: Hi, what can I get you? Grande Iced coffee with milk, right? Yep, I'm good. I remember.

Lady J: Yep, that's it. Thanks.

SB Ginger Kid: So, I see you around here a lot. Yeah know, you might be stalking me for all I know. I was wondering if you would like to grab a coffee or drink with me sometime. I'm transferring to a South Loop location next week.

Lady J: (taken back) Oh, no. No, I'm sorry, I can't. I have a boyfriend. But thank you. Thanks.

SB Ginger Kid: Oh, ok. Ok cool. No problem. Coffee's on the house today.

And then I have to watch him pour my iced coffee and hand it to me, avoiding eye contact...

Life lesson: SB Ginger Kid was full of shit. Just like the rest of the cocky population we encounter that try to make others feel awkward or inferior. When his coworkers were around, he had no problem scrutinizing me. When alone, he was awkward and asked me out on a date. And he didn't ask what I did for a living. People put up fronts all the time so don't let another person make you feel uncomfortable. No one is your superior, even if it's a group of people. They have found you interesting enough to discuss, therefore you actually have the upperhand.

Also, to hold myself accountable, I had made up most of the story in my head. Just because they were talking about me that one time did not mean they talked about me every week, in detail. I got that crazy idea in my head and ran with it, with little evidence. So, don't stay inside your own head for too long. You will create something that isn't there and it often will create a fear inside of you that is unfounded.

If something happens / someone says something that rubs you the wrong way, ask yourself: What else could this mean? Come up with another answer besides the crazypants one you're clinging to. Don't be so arrogant to believe you can read the minds of others and always know the right answer. More often then not, we're wrong.

So, thanks SB Ginger Kid. I hope you are killin' it in the South Loop making another girl's coffee experience a little awkward. Or, maybe you learned your own life lesson.

[Author's Note: After this encounter I couldn't help wonder if SB Ginger Kid had asked me out for coffee because he thought he could get discounted or free coffee. This made me laugh as I typed on my laptop for a good long while.]

See you at Starbucks,

Lady J

LadyJ is a writer and Chicago Cubs' fan whom can be found at: or on Twitter at @LadyJWanderlust

Copyright © 2012 Lady J
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