Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Cup Of Joe

In keeping with the tradition of firsts for 2010, I went out on a limb and did something completely out of character for me.

It was impulsive, a little scary, and daring. Almost James Bond-ish. Are you ready for this?


Before work yesterday, I darkened the door of a coffee shop.

I know. I'm so reckless. The night before, while discussing carpool, C suggested an early morning run to Java Moose. I told her I'd never been. She was aghast. I must go! So I was all, ok!

It was surreal. I felt like a total newb. Actually, I was. The instant we stepped through the doorway I was enveloped in the intoxicating aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, chocolate and paper. It's a cheerful, bustling place, and already I can see why people come here every morning.

But at the counter, I become painfully aware of my newb status. I am confronted with a *huge* menu on the blackboard to choose from. We're ordering *coffee*, y'all. Why are there 1,546 options? What do they all mean?

I'm like a deer in the headlights. Ok, don't panic, start with what size. I don't want to look absurd (too late) and order a small, because who goes to a coffeeshop and orders a *small*? Certainly not a java connoisseur. But I don't know if I'll like it, so I don't want to go too big, either. I finally settle on a medium.

Now for the big decision. What flavor?? This is where I am lost. Thank goodness C is there to coach me. She tells the girl behind the counter I'm new at this, so she understands my consternation, and doesn't just assume I am mentally retarded. I mean, what grown woman doesn't know how to order a latte?

Well, *this* one. So I finally decide on something called WhiteChristmas (no, not "whitechristmas" as in "whitewedding" by Billy Idol, at first I was thinking that too and wondering 'what kind of coffeeshop *is* this!') because I like white chocolate and I like hazelnut, so it made sense, the helpful java girl assured me.

Next step: two shots or one?

Wait. Shots? At 8:30 am? YES PLEASE!

No, Sarah, they explain patiently, these are shots of *espresso*.

Oh. Right. I knew that. And then this is where I totally blow my cover.

"Do you have decaf?" I ask.

There is almost an audible gasp from the waitstaff and patrons alike. I realize I have made a serious blunder. What to do? Try to laugh it off and pretend I was joking? Dumb blonde orders decaf espresso, haha! But no. I go with my standby: act oblivious. I blithely browse the organic granola bar selection while the girl whips me up a decaf skim milk White Christmas latte, feeling the confounded stares of the regulars lounging around a table nearby drilling into my back. She asks me one more question. "Do you at least want the whipped cream on top?"

At least? Is she begging me, pleading with me not to be such a foolish newb, and order something *normal*? I can see it in her eyes - yes - she *wants* me to redeem myself. Here's your last chance, she's offering, to save face. I glance around the room, taking it all in: the homey, whimsical decor, the sunny windows, the young mothers with their laptops and coffee mugs while their little ones play happily at their feet, the 30-something geek, the local craftsmen clustered at a corner booth jovially telling stories - yes, I want to come back, I want to fit in!

"Of course I'll take whipped cream!" I blurt out, breathing a sigh of relief at the approving smiles now directed at me. That was a close one.

After that there was only one thing left to do, and C graciously walked me through the task of dressing my steaming cup of frothy creamy goodness with a brown sleeve of recycled cardboard and plastic lid. If I do this again, I found myself thinking brazenly, I'll do it right and bring my own travel coffee mug.

Riiiiight. Like I own one of those. Well, I am always admiring them in gas stations, now I could buy one! Maybe a pink one. I imagined myself casually parked in a booth with my personal coffee mug of latte, blogging from my laptop, uber-cool stylish 30-something mom wearing some killer kicks.

This means I'm going to have to buy a laptop, too. And probably some new clothes. My thoughts are now completely irrational but I am heady with the rush of imagining the new me. The other young moms in the shop are all skinny and have cute clothes. How do they do it? Maybe they *only* drink espresso. Here is the perfect diet, right under my nose. Why couldn't that be me? It *can* be me! I'm going to do it! I can't believe I haven't thought of this before!

We leave the shop, and I take a sip of my latte. Scald my tongue. OUCH.

Eh, maybe I'll start my new lifestyle next week.

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