I’m a glutton for punishment. I must be. Why else would I return to Starbucks given the experiences I’ve had? Or it could be the free WiFi that’s not so free once you pay five bucks for something frothy with a soy milk base. Given my tendency toward technology abstinence at my house and my abhorrence of emotional pain, it’s probably the latter.
So on this occasion I order my green tea Frappuccino and head for the cushy chairs. I had a bead on the only one without an occupant, but the leggy girl beside it placed her hand protectively against the vinyl seat and declared it reserved. Although I didn’t see a Visa number and a deposit, I didn’t make an issue of it. Another citizen of the cushy kingdom saw me moving toward the realm of hard chairs and offered her seat since she was packing up to leave. Once I was nestled into my Internet surfing spot, a fellow showed up to claim his reserved seat.
Honestly, I don’t know why she felt the need for two chairs since Leggy Girl wound her body around him like kudzu around, well, anything that will stand still long enough for it to take root. And with my current seat only three rulers away from theirs, I had the joy of watching her run her fingers through his ponytail and the delight of hearing the sounds of a girl suffering from kissing deprivation. And let me just tell you, there should never be that much lip-smacking going on in public unless there’s a lasagna and a loaf of garlic bread on the table.
I shifted uncomfortably in my chair to try to block the view, but peripheral vision can really be a burden in situations such as these. After five minutes I wanted to tell them to get a room. After ten, I was willing to supply the cash for them to do so. Anything to stop the lavish outpouring of affection that was making my foray through Amazon.com a nauseating experience. I truly wished I could step into the iPad screen and disappear into the electronics aisle, leaving Juliet and Billy Bob Romeo in cuddling bliss.
As I put a hand to my forehead to function as a shield, I remembered a similar scenario a couple of years ago. I had gone with a large group to watch The Passion Play in Atlanta. I sat beside my sister Teena, and as soon as the theater dimmed the lights, the guy in front of us made his move. He slipped his arm around the blonde next to him and started massaging her shoulder. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but his arm movements were so pronounced that I kept losing the disciples and Pharisees in between wrists motions. But then Mr. Suave decided that the fabric of her blouse was hindering a good back massage, so his hand disappeared under the garment. At this moment I knew that they had misunderstood the meaning of the title “Passion Play.” I think they were looking for an experimental theater in a different part of the city. I shifted in my seat but totally missed Jesus healing a leper because Hot Hands was rounding second. I knew it was bad when my sister hissed, “Two more minutes of this, and I’m going to say something!” My sister is in the running for Top Ten Kindest People in America, and you practically have to back over her with a truck to get her to “say something.”
So as I sat reflecting in Starbucks, I had to wonder what makes some of us so uncomfortable with PDA and others so free with it. When I see the older couple in my mom’s church and the husband has his arm around his wife, I think it’s sweet. So at what point does it cross the line? That boundary must be different for every person, but when a person’s behavior qualifies me as a contestant on the reality show So You Think You Can Projectile Vomit, somebody owes me a gift card to Starbucks. Or at least a free month of WiFi at my house.
© 2013 – Traci Carver