Part 1 – Getting Coffee
Warning: This will be a blog post that is absent of pictures so if you, like me, require pictures in whatever you read it may be tough to finish. I have also broken this story into two parts as to keep interested and to keep the length of the post down.
I'm somewhat if a stickler when it comes to getting my car serviced. I try to follow the manufacturer guidelines provided as closely as possible, if for no other reason than to keep the warranty up to date. So when it was time to get the 71,500 mile service on my vehicle I didn't hesitate to set up the appointment and make my way to the wonderful Fairfax Hyundai.
Upon arrival I was greeted with the news that it would take about 2 and 1/2 hours to complete all the necessary service and repairs. I didn't mind this as I had come prepared with a book and a laptop. I left the dealership to begin my small adventure in waiting.
Directly across the street from the dealership lies the bastion of all those waiting. A glistening icon of caffeine and croissants. A beacon of bagels and lattes. A place where everybody knows your name, which the always misspell on your cup. A place where you can get an overly bitter cup of coffee with a side of race together. A gathering place for the unemployed hipster to maintain his weekly and unread blog. Wait? Forget that last one. I am, of course, referring to Starbucks.
I made it my mission to use my wait time effectively so the first goal was the get to the Starbucks. I could have made the life-threatening run across 5 or six lanes of traffic but instead I opted to rack up a few more steps on my Fitbit. I walked down to the intersection of Rt. 50 and Rt. 29 in Fairfax, VA to cross at the appropriate time. I always wait for the brightly lit walker before I make my way into traffic. I never cross the street when the signal is telling me to talk to the hand. That is how I stay alive.
My Fitbit logged 680 steps from the dealership to the Starbucks. I had put about ½ mile of walking in to get to a point that was less than 30 yards away but it was worth the additional steps.
I entered the Starbucks looking every bit the hipster douche that should be entering a Starbucks. I made sure to wear the uniform of the yuppie needing coffee; blue striped golf shirt made of that weird sweat-wicking material, brown cargo shorts, sandals (at least they weren’t brown flip-flops but that is only because flip-flops, or thongs, annoy the shit out of me as they rub between my toes so I have some “soccer player” sandals), and sunglasses. Over my shoulder was a backpack to haul my laptop and my copy of the biography of James Madison (I’m sure you have your copy of the biography of James Madison).
I sauntered up to the counter to order my refreshing treats. My plan was to get a medium coffee and a banana. The following is the word for word exchange between me and the cashier (I may have fabricated this conversation):
Cashier looks me in the eye, expecting me to order, but says nothing.
Me: May I have a banana and a medium coffee please?
Cashier: Grande. What flavor?
Me: Ok. Which one tastes like coffee?
Cashier: One gande Pike Place.
Me: What’s a Pikes Place?
Cashier (looking as if I’m an idiot): Pike Place is our smoothest coffee blend.
Me: So it’s regular coffee?
Cashier (getting annoyed): Yes, it’s regular coffee.
Me: Ok, a medium Pike Place please.
Me: Grand indeed. I’m very excited to drink my coffee as well.
Cashier: One grande Pike Place and a banana. That will be $17.37.
Me: Wow. This better be a good cup of coffee (I hand him a $20.)
Cashier: (takes the $20 hesitantly from my hand as if he has one, never seen folding money before and two, he isn’t sure if it is sanitary to touch paper money) Here is your change. (He doesn’t hand me the change but puts in on the counter). What is the name for the order?
Me: (wondering why a name is necessary for a cup of coffee) Wes. W-E-S.
Cashier: Ok. Room for cream?
I hope against hope and pray against prayer that I will get a cup of coffee and not steamed milk. While I wait I elbow my way across the room to find a stool and a small piece of wood that is supposed to be a bar. I guess the whole stools-and-bar-in-the-window look (I don’t know what else to call it but you know what I mean) makes sense if you are in a city. Customers can sit at the bar eating their lunch and watching the world. However, the look just doesn’t seem to work while sitting at a location in a parking lot in suburban Virginia. The scenic parking lot just doesn’t have the same appeal.
The baristas (that is the only time I will use the term barista and I use it under protest) are shouting names and orders for customers to pick up their beverages. Venti, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle for Michele. Triple venti, half sweet, non-fat caramel macchiato for Chad. Venti (at this point I wish I knew what venti meant and wonder why I didn’t get a venti) iced, half caff, ristretto, 4 pump, sugar free, cinnamon, dolce soy skinny latte for Winston. Venti chai tea latte, 3 pump (I don’t know these pumps are but I probably need some of that too), skim milk, lite water (what the hell is lite water?), no foam, extra hot for Brody. Grande Pike Place for Russ. Grande Pike Place for Russ. Who had the Grande Pike Place? Oh hell, that must be mine.
Twenty minutes after entering the establishment I pick up Russ’ Grande Pike Place and make my way over to the fixin’ bar. I pop the top off my cup. It looks like regular coffee and it smells like regular coffee. I learn that the cashier asking if you would like room for cream is simply a reflex because if I added any cream to this cup I would most certainly overflow the cup and cover the fixin’ bar with Pike Place. I watch the Michele pour ½ of her venti, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle into the trash so she can refill the cup with the room temperature 2% milk from the fixin’ bar so I assume I can pour an ounce of Pike Place into the trash to make room for my half and half.
With a now creamed and sugared Pike Place in hand I make my way back to my barstool. I finally have what I presume is coffee and I can finally set up shop to do some reading and some typing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get much accomplished. I wanted to be the douche writing a blog at the Starbucks. Instead, I looked at my blank screen while sipping the worst, most bitter cup of coffee ever poured and observed the people around me.
Coming Up: Mac Books and White Ear Buds
P.S. I took the name of this blog post from an excellent song about Arlington, VA call the Arlington Rap. Check it out here.