The other morning, I went for coffee.
It was around 9 am and I was approaching the point where waiting any longer could result in massive headache, coffeeless coma, and doomed unproductivity for the rest of the day. Perfect condition when you’re headed to work.
I have no idea why I left the house in such an unperkified (new word, entirely mine) state. Coupled with the fact that I still have no drivers license (seriously at this point I am convinced Cook County has sold my identity on ebay for a very good price), leaving the house like this is a very risky endeavor. Like leaving the house without my head on straight or without clothes. Each could lead to nothing good.
Dangerously decaffeinated, it was a miracle that I even arrived at work. And I only live 1½ miles away. But I think it was just laziness (after all the coffee pot was in the dishwasher even though the Cadillac of coffeemakers CuisinArt Automatic Grind & Brew Thermal has no business being in there) or just forgetfulness (post race week is never pretty) so I took an early morning break and went to Caribou.
There was a line. And I was ok with that because behind the counter was the cute guy. Ah, the cute guy. Very few of them around here. Especially in Caribou. Scores of cute girls. But alas I am married. And not into girls (somewhere my husband is crying). Only other guy behind the counter is smelly guy. So smelly that one day my friends and I had to move tables to avoid his funk. Seriously that smelly.
Back to the cute guy. I will describe him as a cleaner version of my husband. Just as cute. Ok, Chris is cuter. By the way, I am not suggesting my husband is dirty. I’m just saying that my husband is a little more rugged, scruffy, and dark-skinned. This coffee guy has creamy colored skin and a smooth face. Perfectly gelled hair with every strand in place. A clean white shirt, dark blue jeans, and a silver ring on his hand. There is a very good chance this guy has no interest in women and that’s ok.
Either way, I have no business looking at this guy. Because I am married. And because I am looking at him with the eyes of a woman that refuses to accept the fact that she is nearly 32 years old but feels about 10 years younger. And I’m convinced that this guy is about 10 years younger. So even if I was not married I’d still be way too old to look or even care.
But then I started thinking (yes, this was a really long line and I really wanted to coffee). What if I wasn’t married? Would I come in here for a cup of coffee every single day? Would I pay $1.88 for 16 ounces and a 16 second sneak peek at him? Would I wait and hang on his “what can I get for you” or “have a nice day”? Would I ask him out? Would I try something new – can’t believe I’m saying this - like a mocha – just to get his attention, to mix things up, show him I’m risky and change my ways? Would I sashay in there wearing long flowing skirts and my hair curled up just to turn his head? These were all interesting plans, very good plans, attention-getters, and possible ways to steal his heart away.
But then it hit me.
That would be the dumbest, most decaffeinated plan ever. Risking a year’s worth of perky pep for some guy? No man supercedes need for coffee. Just ask my husband. If torn between husband or coffee at 8 am, I’m going to take the cup and run. Maybe walk fast. One should never run with a hot cup of coffee. Worse than scissors. Trust me, I’d know. Besides, husband wouldn’t want me decaffeinated anyways. Or covered with coffee (I’m a freak about clean, dry clothes).
Think of how this situation could play out if I were to date the cute guy behind the counter (all theoretical here, I am still married). Think of the dark-roasted risk involved. Let’s say I did get his attention, and we did go out, and did date for a few months. And then in a terrible, improbable twist of events, things did not work out (his fault, not mine). Where would I go for my coffee then? I’d have to scratch this Caribou off my list for a very long time. I’m not sure of the career life of a barista but it has to be at least 12 – 18 months. And a year without Caribou would be a very dark, dry year.
And if not Caribou then where? Starbuck’s? Absolutely not. Too many Toffee Nut Americanos would leave me running jittery laps around my desk. Local shops? Getting just as expensive as the national chains. Plus surly customer service, suspicious flavors, coffee that sits in airpots way too long. Dunkin’ Donuts? My ass would be as big as my house because one cannot have coconut coffee without tons of cream. So where?
Are you kidding? I can’t wash my coffee pot everyday. If you have a CuisinArt Automatic Grind & Thermal Brew you know what I mean. I spend more time cleaning that machine than I spend showering myself. There’s at least 20 different detachable parts. And no matter what the next pot still tastes like the pot before.
I need – absolutely NEED - my little cup of overpriced perky happiness from Caribou. At least once a week. I need to stand in this line, I need to ask for a medium (thank you for describing sizes with the English language) light roast or dark roast or whatever fits my mood for that day.
So, scratch the plan. Scratch the fact that I said he was cute or that I even looked his way. My caffeination is much more important than a man. With that, I stepped up to the counter, brusquely requested a cup of light roast La Minita Peaberry today. I looked directly at him. He of the creamy skin, hazel eyes, and dark hair. He that looks like my husband’s evil twin with lighter skin. Perhaps husband planted him there. To keep track of me and keep me on track knowing that if it comes to male temptation or coffee I’d choose coffee and run/fast walk the other way. Evil husband trickery intertwined with coffee. Most evil of all evil plans.
Disgruntled, still decaffeinated, I handed him over my $1.88, took the cup of light roast, said thanks, and walked away. And walking back to the car I thought to myself that is the last time I look at another man, then took a sip of my coffee, and started the day.
So I guess you could say coffee wins – again. But really, was there any doubt?