Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Feel Like a Cliche

So, I have graduated from sitting on my couch and surfing the web to the coffee shop three blocks away, sitting on a couch and surfing the web. It just makes me giggle. My first casual outing and I do exactly what I would do at home. I am even ordered an iced latte with sugar free chocolate syrup. The same drink I make for myself at home. The sad thing is that I was so excited that they had sugar free chocolate that I ordered it without even thinking. At least it tastes a little better than I would have made it. They probably used whole milk instead of skim.

When I arrived, I had to walk pass an entire row of tables full of people working on their laptops. Then I looked around to see if there was a place to sit and noticed that all the laptop users were at tables. This caused a small panic attack because I hate the chairs they have for their tables. I seriously stopped to wonder if I would be breaking a rule or something by sitting on a couch. Is there an unwritten social norm that I have to sit at a table if I have a laptop? Then after all of two seconds pondering the idea I realized that I didn't care. Once I bust out my computer, they will realize I am above any of their petty rules. The cover is orange with fighting robots!

I always worry on my way over here that this place is just a little too cool for me. I know there are people here who are just hanging out, but I can never shake that pretentious vibe. The world may hate me but that is why I prefer Starbucks. I love to shop locally, but I just can't get into these local coffee shops. They radiate this holier than thou, judgmental attitude that I don't like. I don't go to church for the exact reason, why would I pay to drink my coffee in the same environment? I am terrified that they are going to ask me for my order and I am going to blurt out, "I don't pay extra for organic!"

Now that I've settled into my area and feel comfortable, I can see it isn't really that bad at all. They gave me a to go cup without asking, allowing me to avoid the whole embarrassment of getting it to go but drinking it here. It's not that I need the plastic cup. I just like the idea that I have the option of leaving whenever I want. I blame my dread of coming down here on growing up in the Northwest.

Holy Hell, those coffee places are frightening. If you ask for anything that remotely resembles a Starbucks drink, I am pretty sure they spit in your glass. Even if you disguise your order, they know. I can tell by the sneer. They talk to you like espresso is wine and you should know the difference between Guatemalan bold and South African spicy. I suffer derision for ordering decaf. It's true. I even had to develop an automatic response to keep myself from feeling like I am in gym class waiting to be picked for volleyball. They look down at me from over their thick, black rims and snort, "Why bother?" To which I can now calmly and unemotionally respond, "I don't drink coffee for a buzz, I drink it for the flavor." How or why that works, I don't know and I don't care. All I know is it calls off the dogs.

And God forbid you order no foam. I don't know what it is about the Northwest and their foam, but apparently asking for no foam is like asking for a fork with your sushi. Personally, I think they get pissed because they can't take an extra five minutes to create an ingenious design that you are forced to admire. (Ooh, I bet the design is also the reason they hate to go cups. Lids don't allow them to express themselves creatively!) But, I don't like foam; it keeps the heat in the coffee. I like it barely more than warm. Either I have a sensitive mouth or the general population has built up a protective layer of scarring. How do you manage to drink a scalding hot cup of coffee without burning your tongue irreparably for the rest of the day? That is one of life's great mysteries in my book. I can only imagine what would happen if I ordered a latte extra warm. I might even render a barista (what is the male version of that word?) speechless. I could tell them that at least they would get to draw in their foam.

I am so doing that the next time I visit Portland!

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