Caught in the midst of a 1990s love song.

For those of you who remember the hits of 1998, you will undoubtedly know and love the Monica and Brandy R&B collaboration for “The Boy Is Mine.” In the opening of the song, the two have a brief but memorable exchange:

You look kinda familiar 
Yeah, you do too 
But um, I just wanted to know 
Do you know somebody named…. 
You, you know his name 
Oh yeah, definitely, I know his name 

Now if Starbucks were an attractive young male, this song would categorize my Wellesley commuter rail experience. After an excruciating painful, but ultimately successful apartment hunt in New York, my roommate and I were headed back to the Bubble for one final week of college madness.

Tired, confused, and somewhat under caffeinated, we boarded a Boston-bound bus and then a Wellesley-bound train. While on said train, a blonde who looked vaguely familiar approached me and said, “You look kind of familiar.”

And in true 1990s pop culture fashion I responded, “Yea, you do too.” She smiled and then asked, “But um, I just wanted to know–.”

Before she could complete her sentence, I exclaimed, “if I go to Starbucks?” And with a simple nod, I launched into my ode to the Wellesley Square Starbucks. As a loyal supporter of the establishment since 2007 I had seen many baristas come and go, and said blonde was definitely one of the most recent baristas to go.

Having quit her post to move across the state, she was returning to say her final goodbye to the store that began her career in the coffee business. And she admitted that she was happy to serendipitously meet me because she could now bid her favorite grande skinny vanille latte ordering customer adieu.

I must confess that she her admission make me teary-eyed. I had been able to resist the sentimentality that normally accompanies impending undergraduate graduation until that point. But the sudden realization that I was going to be leaving the baristas who’ve made my neurotransmitters fire at lightning speed for the last four years was a bit more than I could take.

I know I will begin building the barista-coffee addict relationship anew once I settle in New York. And yet, I am also fully aware that the small town New England charm that made the Wellesley baristas so agreeable will not be present in the Starbucks Soho counterpart.

Annie– the blonde barista at the epicenter of my teary-eyed experience– reminded me, though, that even when I left New England, I would still carry a piece of it with me. Perhaps, she proffered, I would be a bit kinder than the average New Yorker; perhaps I would smile when I see someone familiar on the street; stop to listen to the music of the traffic in the city; and even linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty.

I interrupted her before she suggested I incorporate color into my wardrobe. I may have a love for everything nautical-themed, but I was not about to become a Lilly Pulitzer model. In the words of a D-list actor in a D-list film, “I have a rep to protect.” And as a true blooded New Yorker, my wardrobe would continue to remain black.


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