The following story is brief, but so bizarre I could not share it with great detail.
As someone who is self-employed, I do a lot of working at Starbucks. It’s a nice place to plug in and really focus so that I can get out of the house, and often my roommate and I will go bunker down for a few hours to work on things together. Usually we will both put on our headphones and go about our separate lives.
The other night, however, this was rendered impossible.
First it was because the baristas, who have apparently now been armed with access to all of Spotify Premium, had decided (or perhaps some manager had decided) to play all of Adele’s discography. At the loudest possible volume. Which, okay, who doesn’t love Adele. I put on my headphones anyway to dull some of the loudness, and eventually the playlist looped back around on itself.
And then, a moment of silence.
“Perhaps the hipster music will return,” I foolishly thought. “Or they’ll turn it down.”
Instead, they started playing Celine Dion.
It would have been strange enough just to hear Celine Dion even louder than the Adele, since everyone sitting in the back room of that Starbucks trying to work was at least 25+ and swore we hadn’t heard any Celine since 2003, but whatever. This wasn’t good enough for our fearless barista leaders, and soon we were entranced by that familiar tune reminiscent of everyone’s favorite romantic tragedy. “My Heart Will Go On.”
We tried to ignore it for awhile. All of us, together. Complete strangers bound together by this shared experience. Finally, a pair of stage managers or directors next to my roommate and I grew quiet, and one of them muttered:
“I feel like I should be watching out for icebergs.”
That was it. We lost it. All productivity had vanished, and we could only reflect on the situation around us.
I suggested someone re-enact the “king of the world” scene on the holiday merchandise boxes that had been haphazardly thrown in the corner. We laughed again.
Eventually, we were able to return to work.
The Celine Dion was weird. It felt out of place, like an anachronism. While I tried in vain to focus on my work, I was fondly reminded of watching Titanic during a slumber party, listening to one of my mom’s Celine Dion albums on my Discman. It became the norm for a song or two, and we had come to accept it, in spite of the fact that the music was too loud to even think.
Except that “My Heart Will Go On” came on again. A second time.
This time I was crying laughing.
We finally left when Celine had finished letting us know that her heart would go on and had serenaded us with the credits theme to Beauty and the Beast along with some man who’s job was entirely to sing the get-out-of-the-theater version of Disney songs, but mostly because they had started playing Jason Mraz Christmas music and violating my personal refusal to celebrate Christmas prior to the day after Thanksgiving.
Still, I cannot help but wonder. Why did this happen? Were we in some worm hole, drinking overpriced lattes in 1999? One day, will some Starbucks play “My Heart Will Go On” again and like the heroes of Captain Planet, will we and our fellow patrons-in-suffering be summoned to salute an iceberg?
I have no idea. All I know is that a moment was shared.
And that I am not going to get “That’s The Way It Is” out of my head for the next month.