I'm not one for talking in the morning.
My ideal morning would be spent reading the sports pages and drinking coffee, oblivious to the world around me.
Of course, that only holds for the weekend. On weekdays I have to trek off to work. I allow myself the pleasure of a quick cup of coffee on the way but the same rules apply – I don't want to chitchat with anyone. I know nothing about what happened in the world while I was sleeping and I don't care. It's all about me – if I wake up alive, I'm good to go. I just want my coffee.
The other day I went to Starbucks at the suggestion of a friend. I have nothing against the place - the people were very nice and there were some luscious looking baked goodies. That was a problem. Being I'm trying to lose weight, I realized there was nothing to eat that was good for me. It was all pastries, butter and sugar. Who wants to eat that crap for breakfast? Give me sausage and bacon any day.
After a pretty long wait on a line (why are there so many Yuppies? I wondered), it was finally time for me to get my coffee. Now let me go on record right now as stating I will never use words like "grande" and "venti" when ordering my coffee. The way I figure it, I spent three years in Catholic High School studying Latin. I hated it then and I still hate it. The ongoing joke was Latin was a worthless language because we would never be able to use it in real life. I'll be dammed if all of a sudden, 40 years later, Starbucks proves us wrong.
I should also point out I cheated my way through all three years of Latin, elaborate schemes that involved hand signals, coded messages, and well-timed coughs. My mother once remarked that if I spent as much time studying for my Latin exams as I did on cheating, I wouldn't need to cheat. How bad was I? I thought an aqueduct was a racetrack in Queens. What did I know, right?
"And how are you sir? How's your day going?" The woman was beaming.
"It's turning bad very quickly now," I mumbled.
"Can I interest you in a Cappuccino or perhaps a Caramel Bruléé Frappucino?" she asked cheerfully.
"No thank you, I am a heterosexual. Plain coffee, please."
"Would you like to try our Tanzanian Blonde Roast? Or our Himalayan blend?"
"No, I like my coffee, like my cocaine, to come from Colombia."
"Did you want a grande or a venti?"
Those dreaded words. "A large coffee," I stipulated.
"What's your name?" She asked.
Uh oh. Now I'm in trouble. What, am I about to get reported to the Coffee Police? Have I committed the fatal faux pas of speaking English in a Latin establishment? Now, who did I offend?
"Your name?" she asked again.
"Hunk . . . Hunk of Steamin' Funk," I finally answered.
She then wrote the word "Hunk" on an empty cup and wordlessly passed it on to another lady. Her face was expressionless.
"That's $2.65," she said.
"Mater Dei!" I exclaimed before forking over the money.
I waited around for what seemed like an eternity until finally another woman came to the counter with a cup. "Hunk!" I didn't move a muscle. "Hunk!" she shouted louder. Still nothing. She went to the first lady and whispered, then they both looked at me together.
"You're Hunk, right?" the woman with the coffee asked.
"No, I'm Hunk Of Burnin' Funk," I replied calmly.
"One grande mucho," she said, offering the cup to me.
"No," I said firmly, "I wanted a large coffee."
Finally, she glared. My morning brightened considerably. I went out to my truck and took a sip only to spit it out. No milk. I went storming back. "You put the milk in yourself over at that table," the woman said.
Oh, see, I didn't get the exam booklet when I came in the store explaining the protocol. Assembly required. MUST SPEAK LATIN. Customers who refuse to give their names will not be served.
You know what happened next. There was no room in the cup for milk – it was filled to the very top with Roman coffee. So I had to dump steaming hot coffee into a drain that really isn't a drain – it's a stainless steel make believe drain. It emptied – you guessed it – on my leg. It looked like Big Hunk made a wee-wee in his panties. Good thing I didn't wear my toga.
If I ever do go back to Starbucks – perhaps in another life - I'm going say my name is "Misty Dawn" and order the Very Berry Hibiscus Green Coffee Extract – Half Frap, Half Decaf.