Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dirty Chai Latte

I don’t ask what makes it dirty – the line is long and I don’t want to seem so obviously out of my element with the lurking hipsters and indie goths. The menu is not very diverse, but it’s not as simple as say a Starbucks. Everyone around me seems to be in their element – they order what seems like a complicated beverage, customized to their palette and honed after months perhaps of research and trial and error. They can rattle off a “decaf soy latte with an extra shot and cream no foam” and by the time it’s my turn I haven’t even looked at the menu; I’m still wondering what the hell the extra shot is of and what makes foam so hated. I never liked chai lattes because they tasted a little too Christmas-y to me so I have no idea what in God’s name possessed me to order one, and dirty at that. Is it like a dirty martini where they put the cloudy olive juice in the vodka? I find a seat I can be far enough away from the hub bub to not trigger a social anxiety attack, but not so far that I look standoffish. Whatever happened to the days where you ordered a black coffee and said hi to Mrs. Thompson coming in as you left the gas station? No idea since I never lived in those times, but I hear good things…

The drink is actually good. Still have no idea what I ordered, but I like it and wonder if I can always order this or if this was a special for the day. Although some drink orders to me sound so obnoxious that they should be made only for special days when the barista is feeling particularly plucky and adventurous. I also got a croissant and damned if I know how to eat that properly…do I put something on it? Do I nom on it like a burger? How do I break it off in pieces without getting crummies everywhere?? I am so out of place and its only 3:45pm. There are a few baby boomers reading the Post Standard with what I assume is a black coffee that reminds them of Mrs. Thompson. There are a couple “writers” here as well – maybe it’s the next great novel or article? Or maybe like me they don’t know the Wi-Fi password and are trying to look busy. Like I said – I am not good with asking questions that seem obvious to everyone else. So here I am…writing for a blog I seldom update, drinking my mystery latte, and brushing bread off my lap. Ah to be alive in this era!
Everyone looks so put together in this coffee hub – like they dressed purposely this morning. One cannot simply go to an indie free trade coffee shop looking casual you see. Even I attempted to portray an indie urban intellectual Goth look – cool indifference but a simmering snark that could cut you down. All the girls have skinny jeans and thick plastic glasses – and long, long wavy hair. All the men have knitted hats on and hiking boots. No one has a tie or a skirt suit, then again this isn’t in a business district. I’m the only one who does not have a Mac. I am the only one with short hair and no glasses. Yup. I somehow missed my calling as an urbanite coffee worshipper. I like this place because they give you real plates and coffee mugs, damned if I know where to dispose of them though….I’ll just wait until I see someone place theirs. Ah the tricks of the introvert trade! Or maybe they are waiting for me to show them? Nah I am not that familiar looking.

I’ve been on many first dates to coffee shops and I always wonder if the barista rolls her eyes at the outdated and overdone scene before her. They talk about useless crap and fake laugh and end up closing the shop because neither wants to be the one to admit they are bored and want to go home and pee. You just don’t pee on a first date.

I think my croissant is stale. Nothing is this hard to eat.

The woman across from me is photo shopping what looks like a complex bar graph on her Mac – even is using her stylus. She impresses me. She is the most casually dressed of us in leggings and a Pink brand zip up. Figures…the most impressive of us probably cares the least of protocol. Is there even protocol? Maybe I am making this all up in my head. But it is a plausible theory for the existence of Portland, Brooklyn, and Seattle.

I’ve been here an hour and my back kills – this place needs more couches. But I must persevere! My drink is still warm and my curiosity with people watching is at an all-time high.
Isn’t it funny how music in coffee shops is seriously wicked but outside of them you would never listen to it. I never listen to Jack Johnson while I shower.

My nose ring fits in here. At least part of me does.

I feel like I should have a Tolstoy novel next to me with a red flower in it. Make the other patrons wonder if I am meeting my Tom Hanks. A woman here keeps looking at the door – I wonder if she is meeting someone or just as lonely as I am. I hope she is meeting someone and he is tall dark and handsome with an uncanny wit and owns pocket squares, but never wears them. She looks like she would love someone like that. I’ve named her Eloise. She has a pretty hat and furry gloves. She ordered what looks like a hot cocoa – why on earth did I not think of that?! Damn social pressure! Eloise is maybe 40 and has a magazine, but it is one of those intelligent ones with real articles and pressing political inquiries. I hope she writes poetry and paints. She looks like she is creative. Is she wondering about me as much as I am about her?

I know this song on the stereo. It’s the kind of song the girl slowly swings to in a movie in a dark and smoky club that has no real lyrics, but a sensual beat. Usually she is drunk or high when this happens.
I am a girl who blogs at coffee shops. Ugh.

My tattoo parlor is down the road…maybe I should wake myself up from this world with a jolt of needles on flesh?

I am poor.

I have finished my dirty chai latte and it was wonderful and familiar. I still do not know what makes it dirty. The drink is me at this moment in time – a familiar beverage with a twist that makes it stand out of the crowd. It has short brown hair in a sea of long blondes. It has a worn out thrift store sweater on in a room of DKNY. It is a Windows in a world of Mac. It wonders about people who never look twice at it.


Someone asked the barista. It is made with espresso and a different spice. Mystery solved.