I honestly don’t know how many hours I’ve spent at Starbucks.

I was in junior high when Starbucks landed on the scene. Sure, they’ve been around since  1971, but they had just begun being cool—like, super cool—just about the time I was figuring out how to be human. Good times for sure.

I didn’t even like coffee. But they did have these things called steamers and frapuccinos and this wonderful substance that was hot caramel apple cider. And of course, hot chocolate, with any flavor you think would sound good in it. It was revolutionary.

(Learning to like coffee certainly blasted open the menu possibilities for me.)

It was the cool thing to do in high school. Let’s go to Starbucks and get fancy espresso drinks and hangout, just like real adults do. So we did, whenever our parents would let us. And after we’d saved the $4.95 for a small—sorry, tall—beverage. We were so sophisticated.

Now, Starbucks is less of a destination for me as it is a mobile office. Being self-employed makes it possible to explore office environments, like Starbucks. (It may or may not have something to do with the coffee.) Fortunately, I’ve found an affordable usual and have mastered the art (or is it a science?) of ordering it, second-language sizes and all.

I’ve heard many a story at Starbucks, whether it’s because I’ve scheduled a coffee date with someone, or I’ve met someone else studying, working, or resting there. And, confession: it’s nearly impossible not to be captivated by the conversation happening next to or behind you there. Yes, many stories.

In fact, not long ago, I had high tea with a sweet lady I met at Starbucks a couple years ago. No kidding.

This mug reminds me that Starbucks and coffee—however sophisticated it may or may not be—is, for me, about stories: hearing them, telling them, writing them, sharing them.

Monday Mugs is where I tell the stories behind my coffee mugs. Each one holds a story (and coffee, of course) of somewhere I’ve been or something I’ve seen. Because if even a coffee mug has a story, so do you. The photos are my actual mugs, not lookalikes found online. So grab one of your own mugs (fill it with coffee first) and hear the stories of mine. And don’t forget the cream and sugar.

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