10 things more real than pumpkin spice lattes

If you’ve recently had the pleasure of strolling down the glittering streets of upper middle class suburbia, you’ve passed more than one Starbucks and seen the same hand-drawn chalkboard ad for “The Real PSL”. Perhaps you’ve wondered how a pumpkin-flavored beverage has more Instagram followers than you. Or maybe you’re more preoccupied with the fact that people are walking around drinking liquid pie. Or you’re like me, and the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s self-proclaimed “realness” has led you to question how many other lies you guzzle down each day with a pump of artificially flavored syrup.

  1. Racial equality. Harriet Tubman may have replaced Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill but that doesn’t change the fact that as a white female I could talk my way out of setting fire to a jewelry store then trading its goods and employees for nuclear weapons. Mostly because I’d be talking to the neighborhood watch volunteers, as the real police are busy arresting a black man for taking out his trash after 5pm.
  2. Democracy. In general, I love college. Just not when it’s electoral. Where’s the alcohol? Where’s my voting power? I guess I got to the party too late. Thomas Jefferson would furrow his ginger brow in disdain at the lack of respectable bumper stickers available for this year’s election.
  3. Teen girls’ reactions upon winning Adele tickets on the radio. “Oh my god I can’t believe it. This is incredible.” Is it? We all know you wish they were for Drake.
  4. Unlimited bread baskets at Outback Steakhouse. As it turns out, they ask you to leave after 43 baskets and one Diet Coke .
  5. Ariana Grande’s half-ponytail. It’s always there. I doubt she was born with it. This one’s quite the chin-scratcher.
  6. My neighbor Nikki’s tan. “I was kayaking off the coast of Uruguay last week and it seems I got a little sun.” Yeah right, you’re the color of Taco Bell hot sauce and you hate temperate climates, you spray-painted whore.
  7. Nikki’s husband’s business trip. When was the last time a 7th grade algebra teacher had business in the heart of Bangkok? Someone’s trying to deep-fry his rice noodle in fish sauce, good lord! Or should I say, mee krob!
  8. The Bay Area’s love for NPR. Apparently not everyone is as enchanted by Kai Ryssdal as I am, since STOMP cover bands on Bart received more donations during one instrumental rendition of Toto’s “Africa” than KQED’s pledge drives did this entire month.
  9. Bryan’s restraining order against me. Paper has a really poignant way of burning to dust, doesn’t it?
  10. Retail sales associates. “Wow, that dress was made for you.” Actually it was made for 12 cents an hour by Indonesian children who have no idea I exist. But damn, it does look good on me.

By all means, enjoy the flavors of autumn in a toasty paper cup. Just remember: the PSL is only as real as you make it, and you can actually order it any time of year as long as you’re wearing a velour jumpsuit.

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