Bandit Kate

Everyone thinks they’re first. Everyone thinks they’ve been waiting longer than they have, than that guy over there, than is reasonable for places with mandatory patience minimums like crowds and anywhere. 

Everyone thinks they’re special, which is a low-grade, germy problem, a sort of auto-immune issue for society, and which makes it sort of difficult to track if something feels rotten because of the thing, or because of you as a person and your working deficiencies.

In other words, is my coffee taking actually forever or am I being dramatic? 

Confrontation and I have a strange relationship, in that it makes me feel jumpy and I get cold, but I didn’t quite understand what to do with this, my belly full of chilled shooting stars, until fairly recently. 

I think it’s generally a fair assessment tool to place yourself in someone else’s perspective before leaping into a caffeinated assault, which has been my mode of choice in implementing some kind of middle way in all of this. 

That time a barista drew a peacock in his latte art, and proceeded to take his phone out and snap four separate angles of it was when I started to hone this technique instead of alternately seething in silence or snapping in rage.

Maybe he wants to show it to his mom later. 

It is a fabs insta photo. 

If that’s my latte then actually I want to take a picture too. 

It was not my drink, but I think of him, crafting those feathers with care and pride, often while I’m waiting in line places, not being particularly patient and feeling jumpy. 

No one is out to get you. No one is trying to make you late to something or hinder your day. 

Unless they steal your coffee from the bar when it comes up and yes, apparently it was taking actually forever. 

“Excuse me, do you have a drink for Kate coming up soon?” I asked when I was sure I wasn’t being dramatic. 

“No, what was it?”

“A latte.” 

“Wait, did you say for ‘Kate?’”

“Yes.” Yes, same name as nearly half of my elementary school. I have been Kate S on almost every roster since ballet. Sometimes Kate St, as if spelling my last name a piece at a time is less confusing than using a full second name. Occasionally coffees get switched up, it happens. 

“There was an order for Katie - I knew they did this - they took yours.”

“OK, I figured that-“

“No, they took yours with theirs. They only ordered two drinks and they took three. I knew that was wrong.”

I’m freezing. My eyes dart around the room, and if they land on a woman who could have been in Kindergarten in the eighties, I will, so help me, snatch my coffee back. 

He gives me a latte with no art on it because he rushed it out, and a coupon for a free drink next time. I give up my search for Bandit Kate and warm up.