I'm about the only person I know that doesn't drink coffee. Actually, that's not entirely true - my dad doesn't drink coffee either. It's not just that I don't like coffee, it's that I'm generally completely annoyed with the whole culture of coffee drinkers. Let me explain...
One could suggest that my deep seeded coffee resentment started at a young age. When I was about 7 years old, the Roberts family had an Easter Buffet at some fancy schmancy restaurant downtown. I remember it was time to go up and get some food, and as I stood there waiting for my parents to show me the way, some waitress came along and backed up into me. Problem was, she backed up into me while she was holding a pot of coffee on a tray over her head. (Who puts a coffee pot on a tray and then holds it over their head?!) The coffee dumped over backward and down the back of little Markie. Tough 7 year olds don't cry, so I didn't. No major burns or anything, but my parents recall the manager turned a nice shade of white when my dad handed him his business card listing his profession.
One could also suppose that my coffee resentment stems from years of working in restaurants. I want you (the customer) to come in, order an expensive meal, leave a big tip, and get out as soon as possible. I'll be charming and affable, but only such that it leads directly to cash flowing from your pocket to mine. Problem is, you coffee drinkers think it's fun to sit around and drink coffee after a meal.
Here's a typical cutesy scenario that plays out over and over in restaurants:
Customer (probably a middle-aged lady, and her 3 lady friends): "Oh, gosh, I think we're all just too full for dessert."
Mark: "Alright, I'll just grab the check."
Lady: "Actually, you know, I think I'll have a cup of coffee. No, I really shouldn't..."
Lady 2: "Well, I'll have a cup if you have a cup."
Lady 3: "I try not to drink coffee after 8 pm. But maybe I'll be bad tonight."
Lady 4: "Sure, let's all have cup!"
Mark's inner monologue: "Oh Joy."
And what's with putting both your hands on the cup of coffee, sniffing it, and then getting that smug look on your face like you've just stumbled across pure Jesus Juice?
Then we have to play this game of figuring out how many creams, sugars, spoons, napkins blah blah blah blah blah.....
Usually I'll go back to the kitchen, and one of two things happens:
1.) The coffee pots are all empty
2.) There's some coffee left, but it's been sitting on the warmer so long it's bordering on syrup. I have no moral problem with serving you 3 hour old coffee...but if you send it back, then I just have to make another trip. So I stop and brew you a new pot.
And what's the deal with people asking for just 'half a cup' of coffee!? If you don't want to drink it all, use some self control and don't drink the whole cup! This ranks right up there with the people who want you to pour just an ounce more coffee into their cup - "just to warm it up a bit." Seriously...
Then there was another scenario last week - which lead to today's rant. I was giving a seminar last Thursday morning, and as part of it we decided to bring in some breakfast accoutrement. Caving to the masses, I agreed that having coffee should probably be part of the deal.
So I get up bright and early and head to this Starbucks I knew was on the way.
Side note: When did coffee shops start selling CD's? Is there a DVD department as well?
Inside the Starbeast, I step up to the too-perky coffee chick, and tell her I'm gonna need some coffee to go. I clearly don't know the coffee lingo that is so commonly banded about in popular culture - so I try to keep this transaction fairly straightforward: "I'm gonna need coffee for 30 people. To go."
This apparently triggered Ms. Perky to hit me with a varitable pop quiz that I was now subjected to.
Perky: "What kind of coffee?"
Perky: "We have Verona, Kona, Breakfast Blend, and French."
Mark: "Which is most like normal? Give me that."
Perky: "Ok, now what kind of milk would you like?"
Perky: "Half and Half, 1%, Low fat creamer...."
Mark: "Cream. That sounds right. Give me that."
So three people start scurrying about and filling 4 of these box things with coffee. I'm suddenly realizing that I have to carry 4 boxes of coffee, 4 cups of milk, and 2 bags of cups, sugars, and other assorted B.S. out of this place. Oh Joy. I drive an Acura, not a flatbed delivery truck.
I guess coffee isn't going away, unless Al-Qaeda makes a strategic strike against Seattle or Juan Valdez. I suppose I'll have to accept 'you people' - but I don't have to like it.
Me? I just keep it simple. Diet Coke. No cream, no sugar.