Some mornings, coffee just means more than others. No reason. No explanation. Some mornings just require coffee sooner, coffee stronger, and coffee faster. Not a good morning for long lines and chatty baristas at my local Dunn Bros. Now I’m not damning Dunn Bros., but I will say that their coffee pales in comparison to Starbucks and Caribou. It’s always a little on the acidic side, and they serve their iced coffees and lattes with stupid, miniature ice chunks that melt immediately and leave you with an iced latte that is less brown and less cold than it should be. Think skimmed milk in coffee format. It’s just off on some level. Too thin. Too weak. Too.
So, why I am even going to a Dunn Bros.? Because it’s close. Right around the corner. And on a morning when you want your coffee sooner and faster (notice I skipped the “stronger”, I’m no dummy, I know what I’m getting with a watered down latte), you head to whatever is closest. I’m running late for work, and heading out on a biz trip anyway, so the day is shot. I’m already getting grouchy just thinking about it. And the line is about 4 deep. Not bad at a Starbucks. Brutal at a Dunn Brothers, at least in my experience, in my neighborhood. But then, there is a Caribou that I swear has its crew on valium out in Minntonka… Never go there in a hurry. Ever. Have to take 1/2 day vacation just to wait for your drinks. But I digress. I’m talking Dunn Bros. here. So, the bubbly barista behind the counter recognizes the two women at the head of the line and gives a big cry of “OMG, I didn’t even see you there!” and proceeds to run out from behind the counter to the customer side to give her long lost friends hugs and love. Sooner. Faster. Grouchier.
She pulls out of her hug and apologizes to the two women: “I can’t believe I didn’t see you! I was so in the zone!” And without thinking, I said: “Then get back in it.” Morning destroyed. The record scratched. The tires squealed. Time stood still. Uncomfortable air pressure all around. The three of them looked at me. “That wasn’t my inside voice, was it?” I asked? They all glared at me, then the now less-than-effervescent barista (are they even called basristas at Dunn Brothers?) stomped back around the counter to continue her morning routine of love and light, while I continued to wait in line, knowing that no amount of damage control could alter the course I was now on. Her pride wounded. My pride subdued. And I still had to place my order… with extra ice. The day had nowhere to go but up.