I’m a big fan of fall. In my heart, fall has earned a sacred spot amongst cats, One Direction, and Sauvignon Blanc — except it’s even better, because I have to wait for it. I can’t stream fall on Spotify. I can’t buy fall at the liquor store on my way home from work, and pop it open in my apartment. I can’t go home and visit fall and pet it and hug it and promise I’ll never leave it again. No. I endure the other nine months of the year and wait patiently for late September to roll around: for the leaves to change, for the sweaters and plaid shirts to make their way out of my drawers. I yearn for the morning I walk out of my apartment and the air is crisp and cool, carrying a scent that is undeniably autumnal. Then, and only then, is it time. Time for a fall. Time for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Yet last Wednesday, August (AUGUST!!!) 27th, white girls everywhere rejoiced as Starbucks debuted the annual Pumpkin Spice Latte – a recurring seasonal beverage, much to the chagrin of Twitter ranters and annoyed men everywhere. As much as I romanticize about fall, as much as I am done with profusely sweating on my commute to work, and as much as I am sick of seeing #beachbody selfies on my Instagram: it isn’t fall. There is a time and place for an steaming hot autumnal beverage, and August 27th, in the blazing heat of summer, is. Not. It.
On one hand, it’s a latte. A LATTE. It is not the end of the world, and people can order whatever complicated sugary beverage they want at Starbucks whenever they desire (though for the LOVE OF GOD, WHEN will Starbucks make an express line for those of us who just want plain coffee?!). It isn’t the latte itself that pisses me off. It’s the rushing of the seasons, and what that means on a larger scale. It is the espresso equivalent of back-to-school clothing commercials in July or Christmas music on the radio in early November.
It’s the standard of moving onto the next thing before really acknowledging that you want it. Getting something you like before you have time to anticipate it. It is the system of advertising and consumption based around looking ahead instead of living in the present, which yogis everywhere know to be a one-way ticket to discontent and frustration.
Clearly, I am not meant to work in advertising. But I do believe that despite the messages, be they subliminal or overt, around us, there is a lot to be said for living in the present. It sounds counter-intuitive, but part of the joy of the present is in the anticipation of the future—the excitement of looking forward to something pleasurable, even if it is something as inevitable as the changing of the seasons. For this reason, I think marketing decisions like the premature release of the beloved #PSL rob us of one of the best parts of the present, which lies in the wait.
Luckily, as much as advertisers like to rush time, mother nature won’t be rushed. I’ll find my seasonal satisfaction in due time. When the leaves start to lose their green and change into fiery yellows and oranges and reds. When I walk out that one morning and rush back inside for another layer. I’ll breathe in the late September/ early October air and think about stopping by Starbucks on the way to work. But by that time, odds are, it’ll be Peppermint Mocha season.