It’s a harsh 18 degrees in this great City of New York this evening, a city that was honored last night in a show-stopping song and dance spectacular by Christina Aguilera, born Legendtina Maria Nina Desnudate Goduilera, at the NBA All-Star Game — a prophetic turn of events, as it were.
There I sat in my underwear this lazy President’s Day afternoon, casually scrolling through a series of congratulatory tweets directed at Lady Gaga for her engagement on Valentine’s Day.
I’m so happy for her, I thought to myself as I gazed out the window.
And then, a tweet popped up on my timeline.
Coffee on me for the next hour! Head to 30 Rock! XoXtinapic.twitter.com/Kakrg30biu
— Christina Aguilera (@xtina) February 16, 2015
I froze. 30 Rock? Right now? Could it be? No. Surely she’s far too busy recording a caviar ratchet follow-up to Lotus or working on her forthcoming ABC dramedy about Las Vegas entertainers to be F.U.S.S.ed about visiting a Starbucks among mere mortals.
— Steph Tsang (@stephtsangit) February 16, 2015
But then the tweets started to come in. Not just tweets —selfies with the Bionic beauty herself, confirming that she was, indeed, standing in the flesh at a Starbucks in the middle of 30 Rock. Ay, me tienes tan mojada.
With no time to lose, I coordinated with fellow fan T. Kyle and began throwing on anything I had lying around. Had I had more time to think, the outfit would have included leather chaps and a fedora. But I wasn’t planning to leave my home, not in this bitter tundra — that is, until a certain “Fighter” ignited the fire deep inside.
And so, I ran. I ran to the elevator. I ran outside. I hurriedly hailed a taxi, jumped in and nervously scrolled through Twitter to pass the time as the car drove through the streets. Would she sign it as “Legendtina” for me if I bowed down and got down on my knees? Would she be wearing Christina Aguilera By Day or By Night? Would Summer Rain Aguilera-Rutler also be there to judge me as I shook and cried in front of her mother? Time was running out. THERE IS NEVER ANY TIME.
Ten minutes later, I arrived. And after paying the fare, I hopped out of the cab and scurried toward the building. For a brief moment, I looked at the tourists idling in the freezing cold, happily taking selfies around the Rockefeller Rink. These blissfully unaware fools, I thought to myself, panting as I speed-walked past them.
Suddenly, I realized that I’d somehow missed the entrance into the building. What just happened? The cold was sinking into my skin, paralyzing my sense of direction. Out of sheer dumb luck, I bumped into a kind doorman in front of the Top Of The Rock entrance.
“Oh, there’s two, actually!” he cheerfully exclaimed when I asked to be pointed toward the Starbucks. “TWO?” I exclaimed in disgust. What kind of sick scavenger hunt is this anyway, Christina? Is this a goddamn Survivor challenge?
“There’s the big one downstairs, and then a tiny one inside,” he said. That was more than enough information. I was already overwhelmed. I quickly thanked him for his wisdom, wrapped back around the block and burst through the entrance doors. A cluster of foreign tourists stood excitedly holding Starbucks cups.
My God, I thought to myself. It’s really happening.
And so I ran downstairs and headed straight through to the main Starbucks — but something was already off. Or rather, not off. The shop felt too placid. Too casual. There would be pandemonium if the singer of “Beautiful” were just fabulously draped across a set of seats luxuriously signing fan cups. I scanned the eyes of the patrons, all of whom looked entirely un-starstruck.
What was going on? Had she opened up her own Bionic Brewery pop-up shop elsewhere in the building?
Conveniently, Kyle and I bumped into each other at that exact moment. “She’s not here,” we simultaneously concluded. And so, we flew ahead, like birds of prey, to the tiny Starbucks inside. Something more intimate, perhaps? It wouldn’t be out of character or in rare form for her to do such a thing.
The tiny Starbucks, however, proved equally deserted. Five or less exhausted souls sat sipping their Ariana Mocha Grande Lattes. But I wasn’t satisfied with a visual analysis, so I walked up to the counter. “Hi, um, is Christina Aguilera here?” I asked a Starbucks barista. He smiled nervously, perhaps sensing the panic in my voice. “She’s…at the other Starbucks,” he revealed.
My heart immediately sunk.
Did we…miss her? Impossible. We ran back in a blur. No, no, no. Perhaps she was sitting off to the side somewhere, free from the flashing lights of the paparazzi and insane fans foaming at the mouth for a photo. (Not us, of course. Those other fans.)
We scanned the establishment for any tell-tale signs of her presence. And there it was on the counter, like a tiny white lighthouse sending out a beacon of hope: The Red Hot Kinda Coffee Cup.
On it, a handwritten gesture of charity: “FREE COFFEE!“, along with the unmistakable autograph of the Legend herself. And to top it all off? A massive Blu-Red LipSense kiss mark on the side of the cup. She was here.
But, alas, the cup was also all that remained. As we got into line, we bumped into a fellow true lover of music standing in line, Alex, who looked equally defeated. He explained the entire ordeal, passed down by a barista: Christina had come to this Starbucks, opened up a tab for free coffee for fans for the next hour and promptly left, like a selfless Humbletina in the night.
A photo posted by Bradley Stern (@muumuse) on
It was a crushing blow, yet a heartwarming sentiment nonetheless.
And so, we stood in line to fulfill Legend X’s wishes and order our drinks. Her presence was felt in that moment: She was there as we gazed at the cup. She was the voice within as we gave our orders to the barista. She was the reflejo in our beverages. She got hers, and we got ours.
We walked away this evening not with heavy hearts, but with bellies full of Xtina’s caffeinated love. And also a glimpse of the cup, which will surely be air-lifted to the American Museum of Natural History by the end of the week. For that, we are forever blessed.
Thank you, Legend X.