I never go to Starbucks without thinking of a quote from one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail:

The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.

Tom Hanks, of course, delivers this line with his signature dry humor, and I can hear his voice in my head every time I stand in line here to order a drink.


In addition to my associations with movies, Starbucks also always reminds me of when I first began teaching.  I student taught in a school that was a 45-minute drive from my house, and there was a Starbucks near my house I had to pass as I started my morning commute.  I was usually the first customer in the drive-thru line, pulling in at 5:30 sharp and ordering a tall Pike Place, black, every morning.  I’d arrive at school when it was still blissfully dark and quiet, and sip my coffee and get an hour of work done before the middle school students began to thunder in at 7:15.

Now that I teach part-time, I only stop by Starbucks a few times a month, so it feels like a treat to order a $5 latte and bring it with me to class.  Today, I’m in the store, parked in a corner, plugging away at some grading and enjoying a seasonal iced latte, enjoying the hubbub of voices and music and steaming milk that is loud enough to be motivating rather than distracting.

Being here never fails to motivate me to fly through my grading a little faster, inspire a new blog post, or just provide endless entertainment in terms of people watching.  I guess, in Tom Hanks’ words, I do get a defining sense of self by coming to Starbucks:  when I’m here, I am teacher, writer, dreamer.

Thanks, Tom!


18 thoughts on “Starbucks

  1. Colin Davitt says:

    My kids and I go there every Friday for our own version of happy hour. We have been doing this for years. We enjoy some treats and talk about the week. I’m hoping these trips and chats will power them through whatever they face in the life.

    The other part of it is the time. There is very little time in our lives between music lessons, karate, school etc. It is nice to slow down once in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. beckymusician says:

    I like that Starbucks reference from “You’ve Got Mail” also! I pass two Starbucks on my way to school, three if you count the one in Target. I only stop now and then as a treat, but I do enjoy their soy mochas and vanilla chai tea lattes. My son works at a Starbucks and brings me coffee beans!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elisabeth Ellington says:

    I dislike Starbucks (though it’ll do in a pinch!), but I really love coffee shops. Your final line captures it perfectly: a place where I’m a “teacher, writer, dreamer.” I really like the connections you make in this piece with the Tom Hanks character in You’ve Got Mail. Now I’m going to be hearing that speech every time I order my own ridiculous coffee!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ms. Pesta says:

    Never, ever be embarrassed by your affection for Starbucks. By the way, don’t you just love the colors of the spring cups? I often think of that movie when I enter one as well. When I first stared going there, I used to rehearse my order so that I wouldn’t look foolish. The pressure!!!


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