Title: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Author: Tristan Nichols
From: San Diego
Blogging since: June 2012
Post Date: July 12, 2013
“GRANDE green tea frappuccino, no whip, six scoops macha, no classic syrup, non fat please…” asked my caffeine-starved cameraman at Starbucks earlier this week. [Nichols works as an anchorman at UT-TV.]
I literally stood back from the long queue in amazement. “That’s some order… How do you even remember that?” I asked.
“Easy. It’s what I always have.”
Cue wide-eyed employee beckoning to me to step forward. “Good morning, sir, and what can I get for you…?”
“Wow… um… latte…please?” I mustered, stumbling for words. That’s all I could muster. Talk about being upstaged. The words had skipped off my colleague’s tongue like those of a young thespian taking his first crack at the Broadway stage.
I could never match that. How could I? I didn’t even know what the hell half his order was.
“I used to live with a Japanese guy who claimed that that was the closest thing to how they actually drink their green tea frappuccinos in Japan,” my colleague explained.
I still felt like I’d lost a rap battle with Eminem in front of a packed audience. “The only thing I change is the milk,” he said nonchalantly. “It’s, like, a thousand calories and I don’t want to drink all of my food for the day in one hit.”
By now my head was bowed and I felt embarrassed picking up my sad little latte from the counter. You can say what you want about our American allies, but you know, you have to appreciate their direct approach. They know what they want. And if they want it, they’ll ask for it. No matter how complicated it is. He told me that he felt sure that to some, it was a “challenge,” and “part of the game” when going to Starbucks or another well-known coffee shop.
To confuse staff?!
“Maybe it’s a status thing?” he pondered.
We English are so reserved. We don’t want, or like, fuss. That’s why over here in San Diego I start most questions with, “Sorry to bother you, would you mind awfully…” I can’t help it. I seem to turn up my Englishness to 11 when I’m surrounded by Americans.
There have been a lot of comedy moments in recent times in Starbucks coffee shops.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a fairly healthy caffeine addiction.
A little while ago, after I had ordered my drink, the Starbucks staff member asked me for my name. “Ahhhh…. Tristan,” I said. The result was...kind of close, I guess.
Earlier on this week, we were in another Starbucks in Mission Valley. I ordered a venti caramel macchiato (yes, I was pushing the boat out on this particular day). I mustn’t have heard my name being called out, but I did, out of the corner of my eye, see my name on the side of a cup carried by a disheveled-looking woman.
It turned out that the woman in question was a tramp, or “bum,” as they’re called over here. She glanced up, saw me looking at both her and the aforementioned venti caramel macchiato, and quickly — and very obviously — licked the top of the lid to claim it. I mean, she properly tongued the thing as I sat, open-mouth, in bewilderment. I felt like shouting at her, but then spotted her T-shirt, which said “Lifeguard.” I became almost stricken with guilt at the notion that I might just verbally abuse a former lifesaver or hero. So I let her have her moment of glory. The cat got the cream. Bitch.
Another daily fascination over here right now is the imminent arrival of the “Royal” baby.
“She’s hot,” is the reaction from most of my American friends and colleagues when we talk about Kate Middleton, or the Duchess of Cambridge, as she’s known. Turning on the TV, it’s bizarre to see every news crew in the world — or so it seems — camped outside the hospital. CNN and other U.S. networks keep jumping back to “live” coverage of the scene — despite the fact that there is no update at all.
One thing’s for sure, with all the sleepless nights awaiting William and Kate, they won’t be seen queuing at Starbucks with the threat of their coffee cup being licked.