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post #595
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On Line at the Coffee Shop

Dear nice lady in front of me on line at the coffee shop:

On first impression, you seem like such a pleasant person. You seem like the kind of person who isn't too demanding of the world and relates easily to animals and small children. You stand in your flip flops with a slight slouch without looking overwhelmed by the state of the world.

You aren't particular about your clothes. You like to keep it casual in your jeans and T-shirt with a phone in one hand and a small wallet in the other. It isn't one of those big stiff wallets with a lot of slots for cards and things. It's just a little pouch for a card and some cash.

You're probably a local. Maybe you work in a nearby office. Maybe you live nearby. You probably are just out to get your afternoon caffeine fix in that magic hour that's too late for lunch and too early for dinner. You might have been in the middle of a project and felt yourself nodding off. True to your casual nature, you decided to take a walk to the coffee shop.

My oh my, how you change when you order your coffee. How intricate and complex your coffee order is. I don't have the artistic ability to reproduce it here. It would be like playing a Bach piece on an organ. Is it an Americano mixed with mocha? Or is it a hot chocolate cappuccino with something something something?

I watch the Barista write your epic coffee poem on the side of your paper cup. You do know it's just coffee with some flavor and a bit of milk, right?

My question is: how did your order become so long and intricate? Was there experimentation? Taste testing? Or are you just throwing flavors out there randomly to see what sticks? Or doesn't?

Or are you expressing yourself through your coffee? Is this why it's called espresso? Are you exercising your first amendment right by spending five dollars for your coffee?

Or are you motivated by revenge? Is that freckled faced boy pounding used espresso grounds into the trash your ex-lover? Did he leave the seat up on the toilet too many times or did he leave you for the girl who works at Rite Aid and now you're back to torture him with an insanely demanding coffee drink?

As the Barista passes your card back to you, you just have to add one last detail don't you? Fortunately, the Barista directs you to the self-serve counter where you can pour in milk, soy milk, heavy cream, simple syrup, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, vanilla powder, and several variations on sugar.

I am in awe at the artistic achievement of your coffee order. How does one follow such an epic fantastical beverage? When it is my turn to order, I am struck dumb. What do I want? Why am I here? Who am I? I look the barista straight in the eye and order hot tea.

And she asks me what kind of tea.

And I wonder if a mid afternoon cocktail would be preferable.

But I choose green tea.

And she asks if I want jasmine or zen.

I choose jasmine because it's the first option.

And my cup of tea arrives too hot to drink immediately.

So I wait patiently.

And I think of you, Nice Lady.

I wish you well in your pursuit of the perfect hot beverage. And even when your hot beverage is not perfect (which will probably be most of the time), I hope you are still able to drink something sip-worthy.


Sunshine Jen

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