Monday, February 21, 2005

Coffee Coward

If you read the posting for January 18th, Menuphobia, then you know that I'm like a deer in the headlights facing the Big Board. So many decisions, so little time, so many people, so much pressure.

Menuphobia magnifies in my mind if I'm not quite awake. Ergo, the absolute worst place for me to be in the morning is Starbucks.

Now, you'd think that Starbucks would be the best place to be in the morning. Coffee, the elixir of life and awakenedhood, in all it's many varied forms lies within. The perfect cure for the morning challenged.

Not for me, though. Starbucks is Menuphobia on steroids, well, caffiene, actually, but you get the picture. So many choices, so many combinations and so many people who know exactly what they want.

The first time I went into a Starbucks I was spellbound. The person in front of me ordered something that sounded like raspberrywalnutfrappachinomochahighoctane - hold the cream, and my only thought was "WTF? I thought this was a coffee shop!"

My turn came and I ordered:

"Coffee, black."

"Grande, Super Grande or El Monstro Grande?"

*blink* *blink*

"Coffee, black."

"Super Grande, OK?"

*blink* *blink*

"Coffee, black."

By this time I had convinced Coffee Boy that I was a Certified Moron and I got a large cup of coffee. Of course, I was totally rattled and dropped my money on the floor, handed Coffee Boy a dollar which I thought was a five but it was a one and had to fish around for another dollar.

Finally, Coffee Boy whispered something to Coffee Girl who came around the counter and guided me by the elbow to the cream and sugar stand, explaining in slow and concerned tones, loudly, too, I might add, that I could put some cream in my coffee, did I understand?

I decided that speaking in tongues would be good about now so I said "Oh tay." and let it go at that. Coffee Girl smiled nervously and beat a hasty retreat.

On my way out I passed a display of take home menus and pocketed one. I decided that I would take home the menu, study it like the Dead Sea Scrolls and return to conquer Starbucks. Yes, I, too, would be able to order a raspberrywalnutfrappachinomochahighoctane and I would not hold the cream. Certainly not! In fact I would demand Double Cream!

Days later, armed with menu knowledge, a plan in hand, I marched into Starbucks with more confidence than Rocky V. I owned Starbucks and the next few minutes would be immortalized in song and statue, I was certain.

Striding, nay, swaggering, up to the counter I confidently ordered: raspberrywalnutfrappachinomochahighoctane with double cream.

Coffee Boy was impassive. He didn't blink, he didn't move. He just pointed over his head to the Big Board and muttered incoherently, "No got no more out finished done for nada SOL too bad Charlie" and the drift was that raspberrywalnutfrappachinomochahighoctane - cream or no cream - wasn't on the menu any more.

"So, whaddaya want instead?", Coffee Boy inquired.

I had no Plan B. No Plan B. I was so confident of Plan A that I had no Plan B.

I stared up at the board trying to piece together a Plan B, but it was no use. The guy behind me wearing a hardhat sporting a sticker that read "We serve our customers cheerfully!" muttered to his workmate, " front of us..."

It was no use. I capitulated.

"Coffee, black."

"Grande, Super Grande or El Supremo Rancho Grande Grande?"

*blink* *blink*

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