Last Christmas didn’t really feel much like Christmas to me. I didn’t get to go home until something horrible like December 21st and was running around like a headless chicken until that moment. I didn’t really listen to Christmas music or “get in the mood;” it came and went so fast. But this year, the universe seems to be compensating in some really lovely ways.
Now, these past two weeks have been rather a bit “crazy cakes” as my mom would say, much the same as last year except I get to go home earlier. I’ve basically be a the library from nine am until nine pm every day toiling away. In order to cope, I developed a pretty solid strategy: movement. I would stay at one library until one pm and then move to a different one; at four I would go out to get food. “Out” meant “Starbucks.” Normally, I’m not much of a Starbucks person. I don’t drink coffee and English breakfast tea is English breakfast tea no matter where you get it from. But as we all know so well, I am a peppermint hot chocolate FREAK at this time of year. I figure because I’m spending so much time in the library, I’m not buying groceries and my money can instead go toward peppermint ho-cho. Again, normally, humanity affirming situations don’t typically come to me at Starbucks, but here we go.
Last Monday I went to one of the Starbucks at the south end of campus before class. I asked for my peppermint hot chocolate, paid for it and went to wait for it. I probably looked something like a combination of Charlie Brown’s face and the Christmas tree’s posture:
The barista making the drinks, however, was downright jolly! He was energetic and friendly to pretty much everyone. He even danced a little bit. That brought me about half way out of my Ulysses induced stooper. Then he started talking in a super overblown Canadian accent, “eh” and everything. I took my drink, thanked him in an equally ridiculous Canadian accent, and smiled all the way back to the library! Weird, I know, but really it was nice seeing someone — especially someone in the service industry –so chipper.
Then Sunday night, same thing: studying hard, needed a break, went to the Starbucks at the north side of campus this time. Ordered my drink, was waiting by the station and again the barista was like a little dash of holiday cheer. He called out for a “‘something something’ frappacini” which caused me to wonder “what a frapacini was.” Then I realized that he was just talking nonsense. He asked if I wanted “sprinklies” on my hot chocolate to which I laughed and said “yes! I love sprinklies!” His co-worker said “hey you got one to smile!” and the barista replied “extra sprinklies for you!!” and boy did I get extra sprinklies. That was, I swear, one of the best peppermint hot chocolates I’ve had all season. Again, smiling all the way back to the library.
This part has nothing to do with Starbucks, but that same Sunday, not an hour later a choir came by, stood outside the library and sang two or three Christmas carols. It was lovely! Instantly I was a million times less stressed. It was like coming up for a breath of fresh air.
People say that the holidays are the worst because everyone is so stressed out and everything is crowded, but thanks to these people, I am 100% in the holiday spirit. It was beyond uplifting and made me remember that this time of year can be really truly beautiful (despite the essays, exams and slushy snow).
I don’t usually post things like this, and I know that all of this is really cheesy, but I think it’s important for people to know that universe can be really good sometimes.