Friday, November 30, 2007

Starbucks #2, 10:28 p.m. - The kids are DEFINITELY not alright

When I rolled up, I nearly creamed what looked to be the cast of “High School Musical,” only dressed as preppy goths.

Turns out there was some high school event tonight – and the resulting crowd flocked over to Starbucks for tall chocolate chip frappuccinos. As a result of all their giggling and general space-hogging antics, I scored a free venti coffee from one of the baristas.

He was in a very bad mood. “We made like fifteen frappuccinos – and they all wanted them LIKE NOW! It was insane.”

Now the kids are singing lyrics to something. They are badly out of tune, but it sounds like something from the stage version of “Wicked.” I can distinctly make out the words “bring her dooooooooowwwwwwnnnnn.” O-kaaaaaay.

I guess my plans for a little quiet contemplation and some writing just went out the window.

Two old WOACAs just came in and perched on the only two vacant chairs left in the Starbucks – said chairs which happen to be far too close to the bratty kids for these over-dressed and under-sexed ladies’s tastes. These old birds are giving the teen-agers some nasty looks. Think “I found six and a half roaches in my sandwich” nasty looks. That kind of nasty.

The baristas are doing some heavy duty flirting – with me and with each other. I guess cleaning is kind of moot since there are currently twenty-plus kids up in here shouting the place down.

The kids are screaming so loud the departing manager can’t even get her staff to hear her orders. “Clean up outside.” Louder. “Clean up OUTSIDE.” PRACTICALLY SCREAMING. “CLEAN UP OUTSIDE!” It is insane. These kids seriously need to leave. Leave or learn how to act in public.

Appropos of nothing, I love red. It is my new favorite color.

OK. One of these heifers is doing a full-blast old school Montell Jordan up in here “This Is How We Do It.” Really? I could totally believe you act like this all the time.

More tragic? I just noticed that half of them have their cell phones out and are yakking away at the top of their lungs or are text messaging. It is the ultimate in friendship. Let’s meet up and text message. What happened to just hanging out?

Kali bless me for not smashing someone. The timer on one of these pots of coffee is gong off and the baristas can’t get free to shut it off. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. It’s like the freaking roadrunner of coffee timers.

I wonder if I could call in an anonymous noise complaint on these kids? Hello, police, there is a disturbance at the Starbucks on First Street. Can you send a paddy wagon?

My free coffee is not that good. I know, I know – never look a gift coffee in the mouth, but still. I would have paid for it to be acceptable.

Oh. From where I’m sitting I can see the “Green Apron Traits” message board. These baristas are supposed to be suggesting the Christmas blend and trying to get some extra add-on sales by pushing pounds of coffee to customers by telling them they make excellent Christmas gifts. Let me know how that goes.

Score. Free pastry because they’re marking them out and will just throw them away. I asked if they donate them. They said they do – but the food pantry doesn’t come pick them up regularly. That’s just sad.

OK. The kids have moved outside to wait on their mothers. They all have the cell phones out trying to locate the she-beasts who squatted in a rice paddy and squirted them out. Most of them should have been strangled at birth. Or drowned. I’m an equal-opportunity teen howler-monkey life-ender.

I’m just in a crappy mood tonight.

Drink my coffee. Eat my free chocolate mint cookie. Flirt with barista. Leave.

Just a note, the Starbucks I write from most often will be Starbucks #1. This one will be #2. There's a third one I visit, but haven't written from yet. That one will be #3.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bad Ass Coffee, 7:02 p.m. – It’s deader than the Giuliani campaign

Unless these people dramatically improve their barista skills, I predict that the end is nigh for Bad Ass Coffee.

After three post-midnight exits from my office this week, I left early and came downtown to cadge a coffee and write. The downtown area is flooded with holiday shoppers, tourists and diners. If you look out the plate glass window in the front of the store here – you’d think it was New York on Labor Day weekend. Ghost town.

There is a tiny trickle of customers – but certainly not what you’d expect of a coffee shop in the downtown district – and CERTAINLY not what you’d think they’d expect from the hue and cry raised over their name.

Business must be hurting already. There is only one young barista here – nose piercing and all – and the owner. He’s out and about – pressing the flesh and greeting for all he’s worth. The personal touch is nice, but it does reek of desperation. Also, it took eight minutes for me to get my fruit smoothie. I can get a triple venti raspberry white chocolate mocha in under 90 seconds at the Starbucks. Speed of service is another strike.

There’s an argument at the register over decaf tea vs. regular tea. People. Please. It is a leaf. Camellia sinensis. Deal.

These two middle-aged tourists – WOACA & MOACA – dressed in slacks and black-white-stripes (an homage to Marcel Marceau?) are still arguing about tea. They are debating the benefits of caffeine with the owner.

WOACA is expounding on how she quit caffeine “cold turkey.” It would be more interesting if it were you know, actually interesting.

There is some sort of odd tropical jazz playing here. I can’t tell if it is tribal fusion, tropical fusion, Hawaiian fusion or what. There’s a samey-ness quality to it that sounds sort of like Hawaiian tropical elevator music.

MSNBC is playing video of the GOP debate. Does anyone really care? All I see is a bunch of white guys standing at podiums, expounding on social policies that more than half of America doesn’t agree with. They’re also doing this little “Does America HEART Huckabee” with a little heart symbol – a take-off of the “I Heart Huckabee’s” movie. Cute. Reducing the race for leader of the free world to Hollywood drivel.

Now MOACA & WOACA are regaling the owner with tales of hot chocolate in New Jersey or some other Yankee state. They’re telling him how to run his business. It was 89 degrees here today. Somehow, I really don’t see people running to line up for hot chocolate.

There’s a group of old people wandering by outside. They stop and peer in. They see people. They read the name “BAD ASS COFFEE.” The old people move on.

The pseudo-barista finally remembered that I ordered a snack to go with my fruit smoothie. Eighteen minutes after I placed the order, I get my cardboard chocolate cake.

This place has a gimmicky name, free WiFi, some interesting ambiance and very little else.

The staff just ordered Chinese takeout. I wonder if they’re paying for it out of the register?

There is a no-lyrics jazz version of “Jingle Bells” playing now. I almost didn’t recognize it. Very nice. Very peppy. I love Christmas music.

Play me out! Wait. Not before we get a jazz riff on “Here Comes Santa Claus!”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sonic, 11:44 p.m. – There’s a boy making dirty gestures with caramel sauce

I’m sitting on the patio at the Sonic. I can find a WiFi network from this sketchy mobile home park down street, but it is password protected. Le sigh.

Damn. How long does it take to bring out a soda and some cheesecake bites? Ize be havin’ a sweet tooth tonight.

Some country music is wailing out over the radio. Sonic FM in the house!

You know, it is kind of nice out here – if I didn’t feel like I had to keep turning around and be looking for skeezy characters or listen for bullets and be afraid of a knife in my back. The patio is well-lit, the people inside can see me and I don’t think I’m in imminent danger - but I still feel kind of unsafe.

The cheesecake bites are pretty good. They’re a little bit over-fried, but err to the tasty side. The apple-caramel dipping sauce could use some work (I prefer the raspberry sauce from Arby’s), but other than that, I’d give them a solid B.

Land sakes a Cthulu. White peoples in the house. Urban professionals from some office. I guess they’re out on the roam. They ordered cheesecake bites too.

One of them – a preppy white boy type wearing slacks and a polo shirt, stole some dipping sauce from his friend. He’s dipping his finger in the sauce. He’s running his finger around the sauce container. Now he’s making faces and licking his finger. WORK IT! WORK IT!

Way to go man, way to go. Sex it up. Sex it up. Way to act like a grown up. That was the most mature thing I think I’ve seen all week. And it’s only Wednesday. Well, almost Thursday now.

The DJ for Sonic Radio is just waaaaaaaaay to cheerful. And he screams.

There is a gray Toyota that has been parked at the drive-thru window for at least five minutes. What the hell did they order? A whole cow with a side of tots? I love tater tots.

Hmm. Only one skinny white boy in the Toyota. I hope he doesn’t have a heart attack when he eats that order, whatever that was.

We’ve switched to something thrashy/slammy/guitarish on the radio now. “Crushcrushcrush,” from Paramore. I kind of like this.

The Sonic staff is here for the midnight shift. Poor dude is banging on the window trying to get inside and no one wants to come open the door. BANG BANG BANG. Seriously. Somebody need to come to this door or he’s gonna break the window.

OK. He’s in.

The preppies have left. I’m the only person here. Me and the DJ apparently. If I keep coming to the Sonic I’m going to turn into a country music fan.

There’s a red Chevrolet pickup at the drive-thru. Nothing else to say, just a red Chevrolet.

You know, there’s a lot of trash out on this patio. Would it kill them to come out and spray it with a hose or run a broom around a few times a day? Or would it kill the customers to actually pick up after themselves? There are mints, straws, ketchup packets, etc.

OH MY GOD. Those freaking chipmunks are singing some insipid promo on the radio.

All I want for Christmas is for Alvin, Simon & Theodore to go die in a fire. Seriously. And I loved the “Chipmunks” as a child. Heck, I even liked the Chipettes.

Man, let me tell you, that “Chipmunks” movie is SERIOUSLY going to blow major chunks. Think two buckets of chicken and then a bottle of tequila chunks. The only thing that could be a bigger bomb than the live-action Chipmunk movie is Dick Cheney target range. And then only if you’re a Democrat!

CALL IN YOUR REQUESTS AT 866-SONIC. This man needs to stop screaming. No one is this chipper at midnight. He bothers me worse than that crazy heffa Delilah that hosts the soft-rock & talk-about-your-problems show.

I’m having trouble with inspiration tonight. Maybe it is this ugly pseudo-modern lawn furniture – which is none too clean, mind you. Maybe it is this TOO DAMN LOUD music. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m tired and cranky and really need a good night’s sleep.

Finally. Some good music. It’s the Go-Go’s and “Our Lips Are Sealed.”

Just in time.

Play me out, Belinda Carlise!

Peace, Love and Understanding!

See you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Café, 6:26 p.m. – I’m not inspired enough to write a clever title

Kim Carnes is pumping out over the hi-fi – singing about those “Bette Davis Eyes.”

I’m parked in one of those trendy new “bakery/café/coffee hut” type places that opened up at the mall here. The atmosphere is nice, but the promise of free WiFi is – for right now – a lie. I can see the network, but every time I connect, it disconnects. This WiFi is full of fail.

The noise level in the joint is also terrifically loud. Very open-plan seating, complete with open kitchen and tons of howler monkeys scampering around flinging poo. Not literally, just metaphorically. And every thirty seconds, there’s a name booming out over the loudspeaker announcing an order “JOYCE,” “CLYDE,” “CARLOS.”

I’m staring at a table of single mothers – or at least a table of pregnant women giving the appearance of unwed mothers. They looks like they’re on a day trip from the local “bad girls” home or something. Three of them are pregnant – and two of them already have howler monkeys in tow.


Across the room, there’s the most adorable little girl bouncing up and down in her high-chair. She’s got a huge Angela Davis afro the size of a bowling ball on her tiny head and she’s bobbing up and down to the Cars and “Drive.”


I love the décor in here. Dark wooden floors, dark wood tables and chairs – which have this neat nine-dot pierced patter in the back of them – and plush cushions.

There is a great curved swoosh of a dining booth – which would be GREAT for a big birthday party – it looks like it would hold 15-20 people. Each end is very nearly an enclosed circle – but it actually connects all the way from one end to the other. The ceiling is exposed ductwork, but there is so much drop-lighting you hardly notice.

Too bad the food is so mediocre.


Apparently, so is the music selection. Pre-breakup, pre-rehab Backstreet Boys in the house “I Want It That Way.” I never did. Really. Never. No. Really. Not even AJ. Well, maybe. We all know he’s probably a freak in bed!

VERONICA! Where are the rest of the Archies?

Cute boy alert. Although he’s wearing the ugliest white flip-flops ever. And he had to navigate to the the trash can for his stoner-looking dad. Here’s a fashion tip we can all use – ponytails belong on four-legged members of the equine family and sorority girls. No one else.


Wait. It was just Madonna with “Like a Prayer.”

ANNA. Anna Banana. Order up.

There’s something on the menu called “Chocolate Euphoria.” I wonder what that’s about. Or if Taye Diggs is planning to sue for defamation of character.

WOACA alert. Or suicide watch. Whichever you prefer. Older single woman eating alone, reading Tom Clancy. Dunno. She looks like she’s enjoying life. You go girl. But get some new reading material.

This place is worse than Starbucks with the blenders. They have at least three going at once, plus kitchen noise and people and screaming kids. I have a headache.

OK. I’m out. I’m tired and kind of cranky and not really inspired tonight. Plus the food was crap and my muffin tasted like styrofoam.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Starbucks, 8:52 a.m. – Morning fashion is no better than evening fashion

Yes. I struggled up from my crypt in time to give you kids a morning edition today. Just don’t get used to it. If I had my way, I’d work from 3 p.m. to midnight every day.

Oh, yeah. I’m at the Starbucks. It is old man central up in here. Six, no, wait NINE – counting the ones outside – old men sipping lattes and reading the newspaper. I guess this is what retirement is like. Someone shoot me now. I hope my retirement involves a yacht and Brazilian boy named Paulo or Santiago or something.

Anyway. Aside from the Metamucil Literary Brigade, the action here is slim. I cannot bring myself to describe nine individual old men slugging down coffee and reading the paper.

We’re right at the 9 a.m. hour though, so things may start to heat up.

And they just did. Some self-entitled a-hole of a customer just walked in and GRUNTED at the barista. I know you’re a regular and all – but at least make the effort.

There’s a woman here with an iPhone. She’s the chunky “I work in an office” type that doesn’t really need an iPhone, but really wants to show up her friend Janice. Anyway.

She is in line, but still wearing her knockoff Ray-Ban fashion shades that she got at the Old Navy, some Rack Room shoes, faded blue jeans and the ugliest leopard print top this side of the Atlantic. Real leopards would die in shame if this print ever showed up on one of their kin.

But this woman has one of those fancy leather iPhone cases that she’s hung off her right pants pocket – not the hip – the pocket – just so that everyone can gasp in awe that OMG THAT WOMAN HAS AN IPHONE!

Her drink is insanely complicated too. Three people went through the other register while she was ordering.

Ladies, if your “girls” are one of your assets, more power to you. However, you probably need to restrain them somewhat, either with a brassiere, a sports bra or clothing that fits properly. Really, the last thing I need at 9 a.m. is a gigantic pair of bouncy balls doing the rumba in my face.

Mr. Chocolate Chip Frappuccino is here. Every morning that I’m here, he’s here, ordering a grande chocolate chip frappuccino. And wearing the same clothes – complete with black baseball cap. I’m dying to know his story.

Mon dieu. A horde of tourists and the place is crowded all of a sudden. One of these women is wearing black velvet tights, a black velvet tunic and a burgundy velvet cape. She’s got a full head of blonde hair, which she’s chosen to pin back with a black sun visor. Yow.

And the exercise crowd. Ma’am. We all know you work out. We can smell you. However, we do NOT need to see your buns hanging out the back of your gray bicycle pants and your boobs hanging out the front of your blue sports bra. And really, is coffee all that good for any exercise regimen?

Men should not wear Crocs. Ever.

There is a grandma here with her granddaughter – they’re trying to find a place to sit down – and granny is giving the old man brigade the look of death because all the tables are taken with the old men reading the paper. The kid is clutching a book like her life depends on it.

Gun alert. Sheriff’s deputies make me nervous. Not that I’ve done anything wrong, but that we’re only one crazy person away from something really going wrong. And they get free coffee too. This one got a free pastry as well.

Exercise chick is looking severely unhappy. She must not be a yoga practitioner.

I just saw an old man with a Dali T-shirt. I love Dali. The world needs more surrealism.

And now a woman is complaining that the girl on the register slammed the cash drawer “too hard.” They have to explain to her that the drawer sticks and sometimes they have to slam it to close it. It was not a statement on her being difficult.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Greek restaurant, 7:14 p.m. – Tourists, hummus and Serbian pop do not a pleasant evening make

Who knew that Greek, I asked SERBIAN, pop music could have such a thumping beat?

I’ve already accomplished one of the things I wanted to when I started “21 Minutes” – and that was to get out more and be exposed to different things. I think Serbian pop certainly counts in that regard.

If you’re looking for some thumping beats – check out Lepa Brena – maybe not for everyone, but definitely for me!

There are only two waiters and one cook in the restaurant tonight – and the waiters have the sounds system BANGING. It is like a disco up in here. Apparently the audible wants and needs of the customers are secondary. I love a good café.

There is a family over to my immediate right. They are the ultimate modern American nuclear family on vacation – and they have no business being in a Greek restaurant. None. None at all.

I saw the waiter roll his eyes at least three times while trying to take their drink order. Please do not be trying to sample of the ethnic food if you do not be liking of the different spices.

They ordered four waters, mulled the menu for ten minutes, then ordered the house red (for him) and house white (for her). The daughter is apparently picky and has to have a cheese pizza – but only with white cheese. The boy wants chicken – but not a chicken pita – because hummus is not acceptable. Hmm. Did they not notice that this was a GREEK restaurant? The final order has lots of “on the sides” and “withouts.” It is a comedy of errors.

The décor in here is “interesting” – to say the least. It leans very heavily on the romanticized view of Greek mythology made popular by storytellers and fables and with a full measure of sensuality.

Right now, I’m staring at a full-breasted Medusa clad only in her crown of snakes. She could definitely use a visit to a Victoria’s Secret. There are even the suggestions of nipples painted on there.

On the back wall, there’s a six-foot-wide version of a winged Icarus in flight – clad only in a codpiece (I’ve waited YEARS to use that in an entry). I wonder if the ancient Greeks had such “defined” six-packs?

Personally, I love the décor and the slightly snotty waiters (the service is always uniformly haughty here, no matter which vampiric Greek you get) – rather annoying at first, especially as someone who wants good service, but it does eventually add to the charm once they get to know you.

Heh. The wife of the vacationing family was so busy yelling at her daughter about not playing her Nintendo DS at the table that she nearly leaned right into a full plate of food. Logic, my dear fishwife. You see the waiter coming. Shut up and be still so that he may put the hot plates down!

No one at that table likes their food. They are taking tiny bites and nibbling the pita bread and picking around the peppers. I would feel sorry for them, but it is VERY obvious this is a Greek restaurant. Moreover, they are the very stereotype of the Ugly American Tourist. And they're not even in another country.

The table in front of me has read the Sunday New York Times – cover to cover – over three courses – salad, appetizer and entrée. I’m only shocked they didn’t order dessert. This place makes baklava like nobody’s business. Sinfully delicious.

The Serbian pop is still thrumming out over the airwaves. I can only imagine the party once the customers leave.

On that note, I’m out.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Public library, 2:55 p.m. – How do you copy a pattern without really trying?

Yay for free WiFi, boo-hiss for non-functioning power outlets at the workstations.

It is a lovely Saturday afternoon – and the public library is lousy with old people and children.

And the kids all have technological toys. I guess the library is just the same as an air-conditioned playpen. I’m staring straight at a daddy who is chaperoning his pair of howlers – both of whom have Sony PSPs – and neither of whom can sit still for more than two seconds.

Think about that for a second. Sony PSPs – in a library. Surrounded by the greatest literature that centuries of mankind’s greatest thinkers can produce – and you’re banging away on a damn video game. Epic fail.


Why do you have multiple types of computers if you don’t want people to use them?

There’s a WOACA in a black and white striped pants and a black shirt with a pair of chic sunglasses tucked into the collar of her shirt. She’s got a knockoff Louis Vuitton handbag slung over her arm and she’s asking – in a decidedly non-library voice – “IS THIS THE WAITING AREA FOR THE INTERNET?” Well lady, you see that sign, where it says “Waiting Area for Internet, Please Sign In & Take a Seat” – please read it. Unless you’re here for remedial English lessons.

I can understand a line for the catalog computers – there’s never enough of them – but do so many people really not have the Internet or even a basic computer at home in 2007?

These are not kids here either – these are adults who look like they make enough to afford one of the cheap laptops put out by Wal-Mart or Best Buy – at least enough to get on the Internet or do basic word processing. Then again, most of these people probably think that the Internet starts and ends at AOL.

Wow. The Internet line is now six people long and there are eight people on the computers.

That old myth about libraries being quiet enough to hear a pin drop is so totally false. I can hear the residual spillover noise from the DVD area – as well as see the action back there – and it is a complete and total madhouse.

There are about ten howler monkeys back there – all running around unsupervised – and the poor old lady trying to restock movies looks like she wants to serve monkey brains for a snack or something.

One little boy – can’t be more than two – keeps taking movies off the shelf and handing them to her. God bless, she is very patient and thanks him each time. But after he leaves I saw her twitch just a little. Keep knocking back those nerve pills lady.

Cute boy alert. Too bad he’s still in high school. A friend of mine gave me good advice once – “Sixteen will get you twenty.” Remember that girls.

I unwittingly choose a spot right by the copy machine. Which is more noise than I expected or needed.

And a source of unexpected drama. This old woman in a black sack dress has a HUGE stack of receipts that she is trying to copy and collate for something and she’s having obvious difficulty.

I hear the scanner going WHIRR WHIRR WHIRR and then a “Drat!” and the paper being crumpled.

More whirring. More “dratting.” More paper crumpling. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Finally she goes to fetch the attendant – who walks past the copier with a cart full of books that need to be re-shelved. Go to the Kinkos lady!

Ok. More copier drama. This woman is trying to make a blown-up copy of some patterns – looks like craft patterns or something. The copier is out of legal paper. Because I’m sitting here, PatternGirl asks me if I know where the paper is.

Um. No. I am typing on a shiny silver computer that is miles newer than what the county can afford. Do I have a nametag on? Do I look like I work here? MY DAYS OF SERVITUDE ARE OVAH!

But I tell PatternGirl to talk to the snotty attendant. “Does he know where the legal paper is?” Well, he’s got a higher probability of that than I do!

He goes to get the paper. PatternGirl asks him for help on getting her patterns embiggened – because apparently she needs mega-large sizes.

His answer “I don’t really work with the copier.”

Your tax dollars. At work.

My stars. This woman with the patterns is making a hella amount of noise. Buttons. Squeals. Noise. The dude put half a sheaf of legal paper in there – and she’s going to go through all of it if she keeps this up.

OK. I’m leaving. PatternGirl and this copier are about to drive me insane.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wal-Mart, 2:49 p.m. – Old people are lugging oxygen tanks around in pursuit of those always low prices

What do you call the detritus of Black Friday? Whatever it is, I’m breathing it in right now. I hope I don’t get the MRSA or something.

I’m trying to lay low inside the Subway at one of the regular Wal-Marts in my hood and observe the action on a Black Friday from the customer’s point of view.

Let me go on record and say that if I were a customer at this Wal-Mart – I would be plenty pissed off. It is 3 p.m. on Black Friday – and there are only four registers open. There are LINES of people with buggies jammed full of cheap plastic crap trying to check out and no one seems to want to take their money.

The Subway here seems to be a popular spot. There is an Indian family off to my immediate right. This poor woman has four kids and a buggy full of junk. All the kids are restless and screaming and hopping around in the way that howler monkeys will do.

One chunky white woman just rolled up with another buggy full of crap – mostly imitation Barbies and Wal-Mart brand toys. She’s regaling two old crones with two-tone hair of her exploits. “I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I got a good start.”


My god. Consumerism has truly taken hold of America. She is seriously hooked up to an oxygen tank that she is pushing along in a buggy.

This old woman has an OXYGEN TANK and her MERCHANDISE in a freaking Wal-Mart buggy.

That mess did not just happen. It did not. I have to keep telling myself that or I will fall over and die. I wish I could have gotten a picture without being totally rude.

Citified homosexuals in camouflage coming through the doors now. One was cute. The other was wearing a camouflage thermal knit top. No way. No how. Baby Phat is not where it is at!

The air in here smells sad and dirty, and the people seem so desperate to spend. I wish they had quality merchandise to spend it on.

The after-work crowd is flooding in now. There’s a bored mother with three equally bored-looking teenagers struggling with a cart. Her son is wearing a John Deere hat in a totally non-ironic way. He looks like a few months a farm would do him good – in that “I need to learn to work for a living” way.

The lines are still long. Now there are only three registers open. And Wal-Mart wonders why sales are down? BECAUSE THERE IS NO FREAKING HELP!

Wal-Mart is going all-out this holiday season. They have every inch of this place covered with Christmas merchandising, big green “For Every Wish” signs in English & Spanish and actual greenery and ribbons on some of the registers and displays.


Cthulu on a crutch people. No damn plasma TV is worth venturing out on a day like today for.

If you are on an oxygen tank, do you really, REALLY need to be shopping?

This old man with the oxygen tank is sitting there in the MIDDLE of the big aisle in front of the registers debating some stupid plastic doll with his wife. Insane. Insane. Buy your granddaughter a book. It will last longer and do so much more for her mind. If she knows how to read, that is.

Another sign of the coming apocalypse? They’re selling “The Santa Clause 3” for $19.96. They ought to try that on the downloadable “pay what you want” model!

I just saw a manager go by with a loaded buggy – including an Xbox 360. Now where would he be going with that I wonder?

I can’t take this any more. I have a headache – the Wal-Mart headache. I’m bouncing.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Airport cell phone lot, 11:36 a.m. – The traffic is thick and the cell phones are ringing

I have never seen the airport’s cell phone lot so busy. I got the LAST parking space in the actual lot – and now people are starting to line the medians as they wait for their family and friends to arrive.

I’m staring straight at two perfectly charming old people who cannot work a cell phone to save their lives.

She’s wearing brown pants and a white shirt. He’s got on green shorts and a pink shirt. And he has socks that are an awkward length about halfway up his calves. The old lady has a deathgrip on her handbag – in that way that ALL old ladies do. Don’t lie. If anybody wanted my granny’s purse, they’d have to pry it from her cold, dead hands – and probably have to use a blowtorch, a diamond saw blade and possibly sulfuric acid. You know your grandmamma is the exact same way!

There’s something quaintly charming about old people who just act like old people though – not like wrinkled fashion plates. They’re rolling a slick new Toyota Camry LE with a Triple AAA sticker.

Have patience. We’re getting to the funny bit. Obviously, their party is either at the airport or just touching down, because I’ve seen the old man try to open his cell phone – a raspberry-colored something that looks like either a RAZR or a KRAZR or whatever about three times now.

He’ll feel it vibrate and grab for his pants pocket. AT LEAST I HOPE HE’S GRABBING FOR THE PHONE.

And somehow in the process of fumbling for the phone or trying to answer, he’ll disconnect. Or maybe the people on the flight keep getting cut off.

He’ll put the phone back in his pocket. And thirty seconds later the fun starts all over again. His old lady wife isn’t helping because she just keeps jumping around yelling advice.

Round four. They’ve managed to get the call answered AND connected. But they still don’t know how to use the phone. They really, really would have been better off with a simpler phone.

He’s not holding it to his ear and speaking into the end of the phone like a normal person.

No. He’s holding the phone at a distance and shouting into it. Now he’s holding the phone up to his wife’s face and she’s bending down like she’s talking to a baby or something and she’s yammering away. I guess the flight really is here, because they’re getting into the car and driving off. Adios.

Whoever these people are that are arriving at the airport for this Thanksgiving, they have some wealthy families. I’m looking at a Lexus LS 430, a Volvo, a Lexus RX 330 and an Audi S 4.

I need to get up on whatever these people are doing.

Huh. Twinkie cars – two of those funky PT Cruisers – in silver and black – parked side by side.

There is an old bald man in the Audi – it’s the Cabriolet model – so he has plenty of scratch. He’s got the top down and he’s sunning his bald head. He must be really early for his person’s flight (or it got delayed) – because he’s tilted the seat back and he looks like he’s getting ready for a snooze. I’m not so sure I would actually go to sleep in an airport parking lot. Moreover, I’d use sunscreen.

Oh brother. There’s a dood – I don’t know any other way to describe it – that’s next to me in a brand spanking new Chrysler Sebring convertible.

He’s wearing a set of those “I support something” bracelets. The Lance Armstrong cancer bracelet, a red AIDS Awareness one and a red and white stitch one that looks like a baseball. Full set on both wrists. And he’s wearing some kind of specially branded Major League Baseball hat. Just saw it. Boston Red Sox.

If he adjusts this hat one more time … I’m going to have to get out of the car and beat him. He’s got the top down because he wants to be seen. I really don’t know how much action he realistically expects to get in an airport parking lot. Hot WOACA action anyone? For the record, it stands for "women of a certain age" - and every time I use the word "WOACA" I try to make a tooltip so you can mouse over it and have the definition pop up. I know people be complaining about it.

We’ve got a reunion going on over here. There’s a man in a ratty-looking gray tank top and blue shorts that’s talking to a well-dressed couple that look like they stepped out of a catalog.

This woman is seriously wearing glitter to the airport. I hate to tell her, but the glamour days of air travel went out decades ago. She’s got black slacks and a sliver and black sleeveless top that has glitter worked all through it. Her husband looks like the consummate Florida sportsman – khaki shorts and a green & white polo shirt.

Ugh. Gray tank top is scratching his chest hair. Quelle attractive.

Mr. Sebring is flashing his cell phone around. I get a signal. So should you. PS: Your cell phone is not all that. It’s not even a smartphone. Get an iPhone. Then we’ll talk.

There are some seriously bored people in the row behind me. There is a whole family in a Land Rover that has books and what looks like it could be a picnic basket. They’ve got the rear door up, all four doors open and they are hanging out. OK. They’re on the move – and almost backed over this stupid old man who was going hell for leather to throw away a bag full of McDonald’s trash. Save the planet, die in crash!

They’re parked next to a guy that has advertising plastered all over his truck advertising for

He’s got some sort of contraption rigged up in the back of this pickup and has stuffed dogs hanging out the side. He is totally working the crowd and passing out business cards. I bet he just drives around to every airport in South Florida all day and bugs the mess out of people. Is he selling pooches or hooch I wonder?

OK. I am rolling. Peace out, later bye!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bad Ass Coffee, 3:48 p.m. – Oh baby, bat those eyelashes in my direction!

We’re coming at you live – well, semi-live from downtown’s hot new controversy – Bad Ass Coffee.

Named for the “mythical beasts of burden” – the donkeys that hauled heavy loads of coffee beans down the mountains of Hawaii – Bad Ass Coffee purports to brew the finest cup of coffee this side of the Kona Highlands.


This bunch of high-school-age brats doesn’t know an espresso shot from a tequila shot.

My iced mocha tastes like a cup of decaf that someone dumped some chocolate into, squirted some whipped cream on top and shoved it over the bar. For this and a muffin, I paid the princely sum of $8.

On the other hand, the WiFi is free. So I suppose I’ll be down here a lot – especially since I’ve nearly arrived at the decision to abandon the cold bed of Comcast for warmer pastures elsewhere.

Anyway. This is basically a Starbucks without the intense Starbucks-themed branding campaign. Instead, I’m being treated to a theme similar to what you’d imagine if a pair of Hawaiian shorts mated with a Starbucks.

There are life-size fake palm trees, a grouping hideously ugly rattan furniture with ghastly tropical palm cushions and posters all over the place screaming TROPICS TROPICS TROPICS. Get real people. It's a coffee shop with a cute name! Not the second coming of the Godchild!

There is a sad old granola WOACA in here, out for her daily bike ride or something. She’s got on an urban camo top in gray and yellow and black cargo shorts that are splattered with paint. Her hair is twisted up on top of her head in that careless “I’m worth more than you’ll ever make” way. And she’s sweaty as all get out and pawing through the T-shirts and tumblers like no one’s business. “WHAT A COOL PLACE!” she announces to the room at large. NEWSFLASH! We don’t really care.

Bored teenage tourists are the same the world over. A pack of Dutch tourists just walked in. Either Dutch or Swedish. The mother is yelling into a super-modern cellphone at the top of her lungs in some language and the Dad is digging money out of his fanny pack.

Swedish I think. Their clothes have a certain Ikea-ish style and their hair is kind of blonde and blocky. But the teenager with them just looks so perpetually bored by his parents that I truly do feel for them. His poor father is trying to engage him in conversation and the kid is just leaning against the condiment bar and twirling his sunglasses. They’re gone now.

There is a summit meeting happening over to my right. There’s an older bald man and his twenty-something girlfriend. They just wanted to sit on the rattan “couch” and catch their breath. Then this idiot in cutoff khakis and a sleeveless cutoff tee plopped himself down and started a discourse based on the headlines flashing by on CNN Headline News. “Bush is innocent in the Valerie Plame thing! It is all a Democrat smear job.”

They don’t really want to talk to him, but I guess they think it would be rude to just get up and walk away. They’re both giving one-word answers and hope he will shut up, but he’s leaning back (oh my Kali, a forest of armpit hair) and settling in for a debate.

Cute boy alert. He must work in one of the shops or offices around here. Grey pants and a red shirt. Hair cut very short. Hmm. His ears are kind of big though. He’s very polite to the “baristas.” (Are they called baristas anywhere but at Starbucks?) And he pays with cash. I need a man with cash. And he has pretty eyelashes. Sigh

This man talking about Barack Obama and how he’s an idiot who doesn’t know anything about politics needs to shut up. I personally don’t plan to vote for Obama, but Obama did change the game as far as online political organizing goes.

Tourists. Swimsuits and flip-flops belong at the beach. Please, please, please put some clothes on your child before you bring them into an eating establishment. In fact, put some clothes on YOURSELF. Some sand crabs might drop out or something.

OMG. OMG. OMG. PrettyEyelashes just sat down at the table right across from me. He’s checking his text messages.

Look at me bitch. I’m smiling at you.

Seriously dude. This man yakking on and on and on about politics NEEDS to go die in a fire. Now he’s quoting Ann Coulter. Seriously. Ann Coulter.

PrettyEyelashes kind of looks like Orlando Bloom – although his eyeBROWS need a serious plucking. Caterpillars come to mind. And he’s totally not looking in my direction anymore. You little shit. Am I not cute enough for you?

And he’s leaving. Well. On that note, I guess I better pack up my stuff and go stalk him.

If there’s no update tomorrow, send bail money.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Starbucks, 5:43 p.m. - LoudLucy laughs it up at the NA meeting

The store that I think of as “my Starbucks” has added a new Christmas touch today – little glass vases with sprigs of fake holly and mistletoe and silver and gold sparkly things.

Seeing as how it is November 20, I personally think it is terribly premature – but I like it anyway.

OH MY SWEET JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH. It’s not a WOACA. It’s not a fried perm. It is just a fashion disaster in the flesh.

This woman just came in. She’s wearing those unfortunate culottes that catch her lower legs about eight inches above the ankle. No black could be that slimming. Her hair honestly looks like something nested in it, left to go south for the winter, then came back and nested in it again. She’s with a guy in a fairly normal plaid shirt and blue jeans.

They walked up to the counter, asked questions about the “free” coffee being dispensed, got a sample, refilled that, refilled that, then refilled THAT. Now they are walking around, sipping the fourth refill and browsing the art on the walls of this Starbucks.

They’re behind me, but I got a good look at this woman’s eyes as she came in. Completely dead. And her skin is in horrible condition. You know, I bet she’s a drug addict or something – and the guy is her sponsor. I know there’s an AA meeting place around here. I bet NA would use the same space.

Cute Boy Alert! Green cargo shorts and a gray T-shirt. Shaved head though. Points for the Celtic tattoo on the ankle. Caramel soy macchiato. And he delicately adds a sprinkle. Wait. No. Not so delicate. He DUMPS cinnamon on there.

The loud barista who always screams and tries to leave early just came in. “IS THE SCHEDULE UP?”

She’s browsing the merchandise – the Starbucks merchandise – and offering her unsolicited opinion on the advent calendars, the plush toys and the CDs. “I LOVE THIS BEAR. I SAW IT LAST NIGHT AND I AM SO GETTING ONE.”

The rest of the baristas are just working around her. She is obviously bored with nowhere to go, but doesn’t realize that no one wants to talk to her while THEY HAVE WORK TO DO!

One barista is trying to re-stock the water & sandwich case – a task made all the more difficult by the fact that LoudLucy is standing there fingering stuffed animals and exclaiming how tasty the cookie displays look.

Now she’s flirting with Diamond Studs. I swear to Kali, the sexual tension in a Starbucks could power a city block if harnessed properly.

There is a Hanson holiday remix on the radio right now. I think it is “Little Saint Nick.” Whatever it is, it is an abomination. A complete and total abomination.

I see that Starbucks is selling the soundtrack to the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I adored that show as a child. It was almost a requirement for Christmas – along with the Rudolph & Frosty specials.

Old people suck. There’s one old man sitting behind me TRYING to read a newspaper. This other old man just came in and ordered a coffee. For whatever reason, he feels the need to SCREAM across the Starbucks at this other old man ‘HOW ARE YOU TODAY? JUST BEING PEACEFUL? WHAT’S GOING ON WITH YOU?” Well, it was peaceful before you started yelling up in here!

Another fashion tragedy approacheth. For one, she has what looks like a blonde mop on her head – one that has seen far too many Sally Beauty Supply bleach kits.

Then there’s this odd heart-print top with a keyhole in the back that exposes her bra. I really don’t get it. Black shorts and gray flip-flops. Her male companion is wearing slate-gray shorts and an orange shirt. Maybe they’re just color blind?

And they’re ordering a set of frappuccinos. What they need to be ordering is green tea. Or a coffee enema.

There’s a hot guy coming in wearing a T-shirt advertising ALWAYS AVAILABLE PLUMBING. I wonder if he is truly “always available.” I need to write that number down!

OK. I’m out. I’m going to eat my peppermint cookie and go home.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Crispers, 7:32 p.m. – Rocking through the 1980s

Whoever picked the music for this Crispers has EXCELLENT taste. I’m sitting on their patio, enjoying a soda and slurping their free WiFi. Bananarama is banging out that 80s classic “Cruel Summer.”

Life really doesn’t get any better than this.

It’s a cool fall night, there really aren’t any bugs and the air is crisp and lovely.

Too bad there is almost nothing happening at the Crispers.

I like the plaza this Crispers is in. Unlike the other store, this one is set back from the road a bit more and is next to a Sweetbay grocery store. The parking lot is quieter.

The real traffic noise comes from a big intersection that unfortunately seems to attract people trying to gun it through the stoplights. THANK YOU MR. MOTORCYCLE. PLEASE PUT A HELMET ON. OR NOT. SPARE US YOUR STUPIDITY NEXT TIME.

Now we’re onto Crowded House and “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” “Hey now, hey now. Don’t dream it’s over.” Sigh. I miss the eighties. They had the best music EVAR.

The preppy manager at this Crispers is a super-go-getter type. He’s totally working the room here. He’s greeting every customer as they come in, walking them through the menu, then going around through all the tables. Very cute too. Think a younger, less Hollywood alcoholic Josh Hartnett – with bigger ears.

Take the nametag off and you’ve got husband material. Well, if he quits the Crispers job and goes to Hollywood and starts making movies like “Pearl Harbor,” “Wicker Park” or something.



Today’s specimen is accompanying her aged mother out for some flatbread, some salad and some soup.

My god. Thomas Dolby and “She Blinded Me With Science.” It is classic 80s rock all over the place up in here!

Back to the WOACA. She and Grammy are hamming it up with Mr. Josh Hartnett Food Service over there. WOACA is wearing a scoop-neck that exposes way, way, way too much breast for a 50-year-old woman. She really needs a hot-oil treatment for her hair – that, or stop over-bleaching it. Her old-lady mother has a humpback that would do Quasimodo proud. She’s making a valiant attempt to cover it up with a knitted blue afghan. In reality, she’s making the problem worse by screwing her hair up in a bun. Think minaret on top of a pyramid. Yeah. It’s that strange.

Could this woman that is taking out the trash be making more noise? Seriously lady. Plastic does not make that much noise. Also, that shade of red lipstick clashes with your blouse. PS: Those pants make your behind look HUGE!

It’s the Pretenders with “Show Me.”

It is so nice out tonight. I could sit out here forever. The traffic noise is starting to impede though. One of the main roads through town is about 20 yards away – and the smell of gas and oil and that metallic road tang is right at the back of my throat. It is definitely impinging on the ambiance here.

REM is going to play us out tonight. Peace out.

Minute 22: We’ve had a startling development. A huge Doberman just wandered up. It looks very lost. And it wants food. It is very nice, but very scary.

I'm leaving for real now. This dog is creeping me out. Getting all Cujo up in here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Starbucks, 6:24 – Psst. I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona…

I’m sitting here staring at a woman with the most atrocious fried perm in the entire world. If she entered this perm as a concoction in the Texas State Fair, it would beat out Fried Coke, Fried Hot Dogs and Fried Twinkies as the top fried item. That’s how fried it is. Ladies, your hair-stylist IS YOUR FRIEND. Home perms will save you money but not your reputation.

She’s got the full “I’m studying for finals” regalia out. There’s a rolling backpack with a tin of tea, a separate thermos for coffee, a stack of books with names like “Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine” and a lunchbox.

She’s wearing blue jeans and a much-washed pink tunic. What’s worse is that she’s not studying. She’s downloading music files on her laptop over the Starbucks WiFi. I can see the BitTorrent client from my chair.

She wouldn’t be able to concentrate anyway. Two old real estate queens are working over some deal with all the concentration that Dick Cheney would have given to trying to solve the thorny issue of an opposition party.

I love old real estate queens. One is wearing a pink and white striped shirt and slacks and these delicate gold glasses. He’s got silver bracelets on BOTH hands and is punctuating his declarations with jabs from a black Bic pen.

And he’s wearing sandals with jewels on them. Pinky’s little friend is dressed in a black crewneck pullover that’s unbuttoned down to the last button – showing a decent amount of tanned hairy chest. He’s rocking the shaved head and stubble look. Workout queen. His neck tendons stand out in ropey cords and make him look like the result of a vulture mating with a Cardassian.

Black Crewneck has what looks to be a MontBlanc pen but is really just a cheap knockoff. He keeps drawing diagrams on a pad. I think he’s trying to get Pinky to invest in some scheme.

The table and two extra chairs are littered with the detritus of this conversation. I can see an iced coffee cup, a Super Big Gulp cup, three sacks from Starbucks To-Go cookies, napkins, a pile of folders, four notepads, two clipboards and a couple binders.

No. I got it wrong. Pinky is trying to close a deal. “I hear what you’re saying but you just need to listen.” Pinky is starting to get touchy-feely. Now he’s slapping one hand into the other and enumerating his points.

I’m being blinded. Some dude in a gigantic white GMC pickup just rolled up. PLEASE DIM YOUR LIGHTS IF YOU FEEL THE NEED TO USE THE ON-STREET PARKING! There are people inside. He need to wash his truck too!

StudyGirl just got up to swipe about five little paper cups of the free cookies the Starbucks has on the counter. What if I wanted that cookie?

Now StudyGirl has a supportive friend. A big fat old WOACA with major fashion issues. This woman is wearing what looks like a pair of Hefty bags that have been sewn into pants. They stop at that awkward point about six inches up from her ankles – where only people with thin legs should have pants stop. She’s topped off the black trash bags with a turquoise top a size too small.

I can clearly see the underwire of her bra straining to poke out the back, sides and FRONT. They long to escape the turquoise confinement. Her hair is fried too – although this is clearly a case of too much bleach. She’s probably a granola WOACA – because she’s wearing some kind of awful thongish sandal that make her feet look huge. She’s toting a giant black purse that looks like it could hold a baby inside.

She’s leaving. Now I’m being blinded by the headlights of her black VW bug. I wonder why she bought such a small car for such a large person? Hrmmmmm.

There’s a weird girl wandering around now. She’s got on high-waisted shorts and a black pullover – and orange shoes. It gives the impression that her crotch is somewhere up around her boobs. She’s super-skinny and looks like one of those poseable figures with the wires that you can make into all sorts of crazy shapes. She’s getting a coffee, a sandwich and a cookie. That’s right girl. YOU NEED TO EAT!

I guess the milk steamer is going to play me out tonight.

I could barely hear the in-store music over the deal-making from Pinky and Black CrewNeck and the constant chair-scratching from StudyGirl. Peace. Later. Bye.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Starbucks, 7:27 p.m. - Flashcard boy fails at studying

Bing Crosby is wailing out “White Christmas.” I’m sipping a delicious super-extra-special chocolate deluxe café mocha and nibbling a peppermint cookie and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

The unseasonable cold snap that has Florida in its grasp has finally dug in its claws enough to force people to dig out the sweaters and jackets and boots and put a chill in the air. I hate Christmas creep, but the season is jolly tonight.

Shockingly, no one else around me seems to share the glee. There is one poor dude in here trying valiantly to study. He has homemade flashcards, a backpack and a stack of books with imposing-looking titles about anatomy. No, wait Spanish. Ay, papi. Habla conmigo, por favor. Dime muchos besos!

He is wearing blue jeans, a knitted navy-blue sweater thing that is looking more and more like flannel underwear the longer I stare at it and black Nikes. He’s trying so hard to concentrate and failing miserably.

The noise in here is terrific tonight. There’s a jazz riff on “The Christmas Song” playing, the dishwasher and a coffee-bean grinder going – in short there’s lots of noise. Someone also just ordered a frappuccino. Blender. Slish, into the cup. Splash of water as the barista rinses the blender.

There’s also a barista trying really hard to leave half an hour early because her friend just came in and invited her to a party. “Can I leave half an hour early? Please? Do I have to work tomorrow? You’d be surprised how hard I work.” I bet I would be!

Mr. Flashcards is so not succeeding. He’s shuffling the cards around, but he’s not really studying. I can see it in the way he’s holding himself.

I barely recognized this song just now as a funk-a-riffic version of “Winter Wonderland.” Wow. It is amazing what some jazz and blues can do to a classic.

“Do you see what I see? / A star, a star / Dancing in the night,”

There’s a diva that’s got hold of this one. She’s pumping it out at the top of her lungs. And we’ve got a dancing patron. Another diva's got hold of it!

Skinny guy, either Hispanic or Middle Eastern. He’s wearing jeans and a very tight black knit pullover. There’s barely enough room for his little chicken-breast pecs, the pullover is so tight.

He’s got a goatee and a thick gold chain. He’s dancing in between the tables, touching first one table top, then the other.

During the riffs in the song, he’s waving his hands in the air as if he is literally balancing the notes inside his head and in the air. It’s a beautiful image of someone so free, so happy as to break into movement in public. In some states, it would likely get him killed.

Alicia Keyes is hitting some notes now. I think this is her new single “No one.” I can hear the guy sitting behind me saying “Alicia Keyes. Now this is what I bump to.” Thank you so much. So, so much.

Mr. Flashcard is still trying to study and there are all these conversations around him. He’s making an effort now. His lips are moving as he makes an effort to imprint the words on the flash cards into his brain.

The baristas are re-stocking the shelves not three feet from him with coffee and merchandise. They’re also all arguing about who is going to work tomorrow, where the phone list is so the one skiving off work can get coverage and generally being noisy. Either Mr. Flashcard has tremendous powers of concentration or else he just totally fails as a student.

WOACA alert. There’s always a WOACA. She’s the tall, artistic type. This one is wearing brown – not khaki – brown slacks and a white shell tunic. She’s gone dramatic with the huge black floor-length knitted osweater-coat that she’s sweeping around. If she’s cold enough to be wearing such a thing – she ought t be wearing socks – or at least some stockings – with her shoes.

Mr. Flashcard finally gave up and picked up his cell phone. Too bad no one has called him. He’s having to send out a text message. PLEASE HELP ME. I FAIL AT STUDYING!

My time is up. Thank you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Starbucks, 4:33 p.m. --- Cold weather brings out the frappuccino addicts

I’m at a new Starbucks – one I don’t normally go to – because I’m in a new city. This one looks like it has been converted out of a McDonald’s or a KFC – because it is much, much larger than a typical Starbucks. Plus, it is completely standalone – not joined to any other retail space.

Right now, I think I’m sitting in what used to be the drinks station. I’m in a tiny nook off to the right of the Starbucks kitchen. There is a really nice table where I’ve plopped open my computer and these fantastic slipper chairs. This Starbucks also retained the old coffee bean and tropical flower wallpaper.

Moreover, they have not gone overboard with the Christmas décor. There are only a couple of wreaths and the usual red Christmas merchandise – which manages to coordinate nicely with the fire extinguisher.

I can hear all the action at the coffee bar, but I can’t actually see the baristas. The blender for the frappuccinos is whirring, but I don’t know who ordered it or why. I really don’t know WHY anyone would order a frozen drink in 45 degree weather …

There is a woman in a fur coat saying “That just makes my heart so heavy …” Well, sucking down those frappes is what makes your hips so heavy.

Oh. They’re talking about snow. My god. She’s getting MULTIPLE FRAPPUCCINOS.

Old dude comes in limping. He’s wearing a black pullover with a Ford logo. His hair is as white as snow.

Howler monkey alert. It is a young mother with a tiny, tiny child. She is literally dragging it across the threshold of the door. The child clearly does not want to partake of the delicious coffee beverages in the Starbucks. This baby is smacking on a pacifier for all it is worth.

Now the child has pulled loose of its maternal unit’s grasp. DO NOT WANT. She’s feeling its bottom. Now we’re going to the bathroom. Stinky baby.

WOACA alert. There’s a middle-aged woman giving me a dirty look because I’m sitting at the handicapped table typing. She’s carrying a coffee and a slice of cake, not to mention a few extra pounds. She looks into the nook I’m sitting in, sniffs, as if in disapproval of my occupying HER table, then wanders out into the rest of the Starbucks.

Now she’s not even eating the cake; she’s checking her voice mail and blathering into her phone. She’s one of those precious types who thinks a blonde pageboy is the latest in de rigeur hairstyle conventions.


She’s wearing a leather jacket and blue jeans. All of this is spoiled by the fact that now she’s shoveling cake into her mouth like a demented pot fiend. And she’s still not put the phone down.

It is about 50 degrees out – and a man just walked past wearing shorts and sipping on a frappuccino. Hmmmm. Clearly Yankees have thicker blood than I’m used too. He’s a skinny thing too.

Blonde Pageboy is slamming the buttons on her phone again. She’s done with the cake. That was fast. And she’s giving me another dirty look. Devour the power of the MacBook and laugh. I bet she’s a Realtor or something.

OH MY GOD. They’re making another frappuccino. I seriously do not understand it. The people coming through the drive-through must have a serious, serious sugar addiction.

KALI FORGIVE ME JESUS THEY ARE MAKING ANOTHER ONE. I really do not get it. I love me some frappuccino – but this is just too much.

The entire time I have been here, the drive-through at this Starbucks has been bumping like the tenth hour of an all-night rave. It is crazy-busy.

The woman with the howler monkey is out of the bathroom. And the howler monkey is letting loose. Shrieks of joy I guess. And dearest Mumsy is getting – you guessed it – a frappuccino.

Seriously. What is it with the population here?

My time is up. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The airport, 4:09 p.m. – Bad fashion abounds!

Coming at you live on tape delay – all the action, all the fun – all the old people you can handle – 21 Minutes at the airport!

Old ladies love dogs. One old bird is here to pick up another old bird. The pickup crone has band-aids on her nose, forehead and hands, but she has a death-grip on this fluffy Shi-Tzu puppy’s leash. The dog is in canine heaven – what with all the airport sights, sounds and smells.

PuppyCrone is here for two wafer-thin old people dressed in that generic “old people traveler” style – slacks, t-shirts and those horrid navy-blue windbreakers. The reunion that is going on with this puppy is embarrassingly sloppy. Somebody is going to get rabies at this point. Now the old bald man is scolding his wife, who apparently went the other way off the plane and got here late “YOU SHOULD OF WENT THE OTHER WAY.” Damn. Maybe she had to take a pee or something.

There is so much action. Oh Kali. And so much bad fashion. SO MUCH BAD FASHION!

I just saw a woman wearing ballet flats inside a pair of Birkenstocks. Above the ankle, she was wearing a coordinated outfit of purple culottes and a purple tunic – both screen-printed with white fish skeletons. Her hair is more “Flock of Seagulls” than Q-tip and it is just plain scary.

There are so many old people here. If Florida is God’s Waiting Room – then the airport must the place they come to get pre-certification.

Off to the right of me, two old people are waiting on a flight.

The old lady is dressed head-to-toe in black – black pants, black VELVET pants, black tunic and a black velvet jacket. Black ballet flats. Even her CANE is black. I’m just shocked her glasses are horn-rimmed and not black plastic. Maybe the optician was out of black that day.

Her traveling companion is trying to read the newspaper – but he’s obviously got vision problems and is holding it literally an inch from his nose. Huh. He has black glasses. I wonder if they got their spectacles confused this morning?

I love airports. The constant ebb and flow of people just streaming through all day appeals to the people-watcher in me – plus there is just so much to do – shop, eat, spectate.

There is an old man in an orange Tommy Bahama shirt wearing Ray-Bans indoors. Just say no to the faux pas. Unless you’re Jack Nicholson. Wait. Not even if you’re J.N. It is just wrong.

The Starbucks here is doing a land-office business – although to be fair – any coffee bar in any airport in the world is going to be doing good business unless it is truly serving horrible coffee.

Wow. There is an middle-aged woman pushing a man in a wheelchair across the lobby. She’s pushing him in the chair and he’s dragging a pair of wheeled suitcases out behind him. From the side, it sort of looks like she’s driving some sort of bizarre chariot.

And now there’s a howler monkey. Howl on. At least you’re off the plane.

I really thought this was going to be an interesting entry, but I’m having trouble trying to focus on one thing. Bad fashion aside – which does give an enormous amount of pleasure to me – there is only a limited amount of attention I can give to people walking and rolling suitcases across the lobby.

Bad fashion alert. Crazy hippie chick or some fair approximation thereof. She’s super-skinny and wearing those tapering jeans that make her legs look even more like toothpicks. She’s jammed her legs into some sort of odd red boot, which she has chosen to pair with a violent magenta nail polish and a shiny blue metallic bag. That brown sweater the color of dead grass in January does nothing to pull the outfit together.

To be fair, Coco Chanel probably couldn’t design anything to pull that outfit together.

My time is up. My flight is being called. Peace out.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My laundry room, 11:58 p.m. – You spin me right round baby, right round!

All I can hear is the thump-thump-thump of the dryers at my apartment building’s laundry room turning my clothes round and round.

I love my building. It is ancient – for Florida anyway – and has tons of charm. None of the apartments are exactly alike and it is painted in those funky pink and yellow stucco colors. I just don’t get a washer/dryer in my apartment.

This means I have to schlep everything downstairs every so often – usually in the middle of the night – and deal with the cranky washing machines and other people’s lint. One washing machine has – I guess you’d call it a ‘quirk’ although it is more of an annoyance – and always takes exactly nine minutes longer to finish the soak cycle than the other one. I always have to remember to get that particular one going first and then sort my clothes for the other washer – otherwise it screws up the timing on Wash/Dry in unison.

I’m writing from the picnic bench on the downstairs patio. It’s a sad, broken-down picnic bench that saw better years during Bush I; actually, this is a sad little patio. It is more or less a morgue for dead grills. There is probably charcoal in there from the Cambrian.

The less attractive lawn furniture – the ones that can’t get dates – is consigned here from the upper deck patio as well. Being mostly plastic, it just blows around during storms. There isn’t really any shade, unless you count the ugly hedge dividing my building’s back yard from the old-people subdivision next door.

Miraculously, I’m able to get a fairly decent 41% signal on my wireless network down here – even though I’m three apartments over.

The noises of the night are held in abeyance – or else drowned out by the clunk clunk clunk of the dryer. I just heard someone’s air conditioner kick on briefly – but that’s pretty much it. No frogs tonight – thank you Shiva!

The morning dew is starting to fall – I can feel my T-shirt getting heavy with condensation; the wood of the picnic table here is also a little cold and slightly damp.

The smell of the air is damp and kind of earthy – and every now and again I get a whiff of the metallic tang coming out of the laundry room. There is absolutely no breeze. Everything is completely still – as if frozen in smoked black glass as I look out across the back lawn. I’m sure there are tons of bugs moving around – but as long as they stay off me – we’re cool.

I can see stars. Not a lot, but they are definitely out tonight. Thinking about the great big world out there only makes me feel small. I’ll switch gears now.

Only 30 minutes left to go on my laundry. My landlady claims that she doesn’t make any money off of the laundry room – but I fail to see how that’s a possibility when we pay $1.25 to wash and a quarter for every twelve minutes on the dryer. And the dryers are old and cranky – so if you have a decent-sized load – you need to shell out at least $1.

One of the things I love about my building is that it has been heavily landscaped in a sort of “wild Florida” style. A lot of the trees are mature and I love the fact that I can see palm fronds waving outside my window. The planting along the front walk is also overgrown and lush – it really does a lot to hide the fact that it’s really just a parking lot with some old funky apartments.

Ugh. I’m getting a chill. I’m also getting a little bit wet sitting out here – I can definitely feel the damp in my pants.

Time to go. Peace out, later bye!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Starbucks, 11:07 p.m. - Drawing boy is drawing

Somebody – definitely NOT Lauryn Hill – is wailing out “everything is everything” over the speakers at the Starbucks. They have it cranked up too.

It is a nice contrast to the Christmas carols that have been playing at the Starbucks the past few days. I wonder if there were “complaints” to corporate or if this store just has a manager with a different bent? This is also allegedly a “no-merchandise” store, so maybe it gets “special” choices.

The barista who took my order and made my drink totally flirted with me. “What are you doing tonight?” There was more small talk than was strictly necessary. Maybe I’ll hang out.

There is action. There are four teenage boys hanging out practically in each other’s laps in a totally non-ironic way. If they were any closer, I would be staring Siamese twins with eight arms and legs. And these are boys. They are totally oblivious to the homoeroticism going on. They are comparing their cell phones with all the glee of teen-age girls comparing boys, purses and slam books.

The barista cleaning the trash outside just leaned in and yelled “One of your mommys is here to pick you up.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Dearest Mumsicle is rocking it in a silver Land Rover. The children depart. I’m alone.

I lied. There is a guy in the back with a huge – at least 3x3 sketch pad drawing something – presumably life art – although who really knows. It could be naked LOLcats or the aforementioned teen boys dressed a Avril Lavigne. I’m not asking.

There is something that sounds suspiciously like Sade on the radio – although I’m not positive of that.

“I used to move to / Create change / Realized and rearranged.”

Hmm. Turns out it is this band called SOULSTICE and the song is called “Illusion.” What the hell are the baristas up to?

I like that song though. Someone needs to buy me that.

There are four baristas here at this hour. What are they all doing? Not much as far as I can tell. There’s no cleaning going on, although that one dude did bag up the trash outside.

Speaking of the outside area – the concrete in front of this Starbucks needs a mop in the way that Bush needs Cheney – DESPERATELY.

The barista that flirted with me has now gotten a carpet sweeper and is moving it around in my general vicinity. He’s thrusting his behind out and then standing with his hand on his radio as if to impress me with the fact that he is important enough to work the drive-thru. OK. Whatever.

I’m not saying I would throw it back – but really, I’m hoping that I could do better in the fashion sense department. He is wearing black shoes. Stand on your feet all day or not – those clodhoppers are as ugly as sin. Worse, MUCH worse, he made me a shitty cup of coffee. That is the one unforgivable sin.

Oh. They are brewing that Italian Roast coffee again. I don’t know what for – unless it is corporate policy to always have a fresh pot made up and they just ran out. It is only 40 minutes to close – but I’m not complaining – I love the smell of that Italian Roast.

Drawing guy is still drawing. Hmmm. I caught him looking at something, then sketching again. He’s not looking at ME – so obviously not something on this end of the Starbucks is out.

I can’t see whatever it is he’s looking at because there is a stupid Starbucks music display in the way. Damn. I thought this was a “no merchandise” Starbucks – and here goes some stupid CDs that NOBODY wants getting all up in my business.

I can’t be nosy without being obvious. That doesn’t bother me, but as there are only two patrons and four baristas, it will be many levels beyond completely obvious.

I just realized that this Starbucks is not decorated for Christmas yet – or if it is – it is a severely toned down version. There is only one wreath on the door and a hideous “Pass the Cheer” banner with advertising for the eggnog latte, gingerbread latte and peppermint mocha. I also see some of the Christmas blend coffee and they are for sure using the Christmas cups. All of this on November 10, I might add. Christmas creep is alive and well in the year 2007!

There is a sheriff’s deputy in the hizouse. He gave me a dirty look when he walked in. Yes, I am typing about you. You are overweight and your buzz cut does nothing for you. Happy now?

Oh. They gave him a receipt. I always thought cops got free coffee. I guess not.

Oh Kali no. The painting crew that is working on building the Sprint store next door just rolled in – it is suddenly all tore up in here with a whole crowd of greasy white men with stringy hair, dirty clothes and all wearing kneepads.

The cop is looking askance at these dudes, even though they greeted him too.

I’m leaving before there is a rumble.

Minute 22: I had to ask. Drawing boy is the assistant manager – and he is drawing penguins wearing Santa suits and holding cups of peppermint mocha. OK? OK.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Starbucks, 8:36 p.m. – Yuppie tourists are creepy!

My Starbucks decorated for Christmas! November the 9th and the red and silver is out. Wreaths, trees, trim – the works. It’s not Christmas creep – it a Christmas Invasion.

Another thing they’re doing which slightly annoys me is the Christmas carols on the in-store channel on the Starbucks channel on XM Radio. I mean, I really do NOT feel like listening to every jazz chanteuse on the planet re-interpret “Jingle Bells” for the next two months. Please go back to the regular jazz, blues and funk until after Thanksgiving.

Other than me, the SBUX is dead tonight. Deader than the McCain candidacy, deader than the Kucinich candidacy, and surely deader than Obama-as-a-friend-of-the-gays candidacy.

Red goes well with Starbucks – at least this particular Starbucks – which has a lot of the older fixtures – including lighter-colored wood tables and shelves, cream paint and a pale floor tile that looks most closely resembles a well-made mocha.

The barista population outnumbers me three to one. Diamond Studs is here – surely cursing at having to work on a Friday night. I must say – the new red holiday shirts fit him well – although I do believe he purposefully choose shirts a size too small!

Another barista is moving along in a desultory fashion, dumping the trash inside and out, cleaning the condiment station, restocking. She’s always been polite to me, but she makes a terrible cup of coffee. I wonder if she’ll last at the SBUX?

The baristas are brewing new coffee and grinding the beans for tomorrow. I can hear the constant grind * grind * grind and the tamp * tamp * tamp as they fill containers and prepare for the next day’s shift.

BadCoffee is fluffing out trash bags. Whirr * tamp * crackle.

Oh Shiva. Entitled yuppies at two o’clock. They aren’t even interested in buying coffee. They’re here to browse the merchandise.

“Oh, look at the advent calendars? It’s glass! Will the cat break it?”

Now they are “browsing” the pastries. Seriously. It doesn’t take skill to pick a muffin.

I just caught a look at their footwear. He’s wearing a long-sleeve black pullover, black athletic pants and black flip-flops – SO HELP ME GOD. She has on zip-up athletic pants that are unzipped up to her knees, a black tee and a blue-jean jacket and some pert little running shoes. She also has a Celebrity Cruises fanny pack and a purse that looks more like a parachute. Tourists are the bane of my existence.

Really, I though Celebrity was the “exclusive” cruise line. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

Now they’re demanding wrapping paper and a bag to protect their precious Starbucks advent calendar. Really. Wrapping paper. To protect it in the twenty feet back out to your car. I swear to Kali I saw the barista roll her eyes.

The dude just walked right by me with his flip-flops. He seriously, seriously, seriously needs to cut his toenails. Ugh. I am so creeped out right now.

The baristas are re-filling the ice freezer. I love the sound of ice as it hits the freezer. Slish. Slish. Slish.

The smell of the coffee brewing is just intoxicating. It's that Italian Roast. Think all those cartoon images where the scent just tickles your nose and leads you on a chase through the entire house. That’s what it is like right now. Lovely and deep and fresh and delicious.

OH. WOW. Cute boy alert. We’ll be going into overtime for this one. Minute 22 starting right now.

And OT is ovah. He was only cute from the back. From the front, he’s damn near 40. Needs a shave and few hair plugs. Don’t you just hate those?

On that note, I’m out. Peace. Later. Bye.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Beach park, 5:38 p.m. – Tourist season is here and I'm cold

November marks the official start of tourist season in my neck of the woods – and you can surely tell the difference in the number of people crowding the beach for sunset.

The cars are pouring into the parking lot and lumpy Yankees and Midwestern tourists are slamming car doors and running – literally RUNNING to the beach desperate to get a glimpse of the sun as the molten ball of lava descends into the ocean.

I just saw a fat and frumpy middle-aged Midwestern housefrau nearly trip over the sidewalk in her haste to get out of her minivan and get over the grassy verge and onto the sand.

The air has a distinct and pronounced chill tonight. The breeze is blowing something fierce – like the tongue lash of a harangued fishwife, it is whipping the hair and coats of all present.

The sun sank remarkably fast – within a matter of minutes. From the time I started writing until now. Sink. Sinking. Gone.

Show is over now. The crowds are leaving. It is like a tourist attraction. The herd comes into the museum room – stares at the pretty painting, then dutifully troops back out behind the matron. I expect to hear the screech of tires and see the mangled bumpers any time now. Yankees have an inability to drive outside their native habitat.

Four minutes after sunset and the beach is nearly deserted. There is only one slightly odd family still out there. They look to be taking vacation pictures for a family album.

The woman taking pictures is hardcore. She has a serious camera, ginormous lens, flash – the whole package. The family hardly paid attention to the sunset, they were so busy posing. First, they laid in the sand. Then, they laid on top of each other in the sand. Then, the photographer laid in the sand and the family jumped in unison.

With the sun down, the air is even more chill.

WOACA bad fashion alert. There’s a group coming up to meet someone at the pavilion here – one of them has on those new high-waisted jeans – which is fine, except they are white – and she has on a lime-green button-down shirt. Picture all this on a super-skinny fifty-year-old woman and you have what appears to be a blank page from a coloring book with the crown of a tree colored green. Don’t forget the bleached blonde pageboy on top. Hrrrrm. Hrrrrrm. I'm reaching for a comparison and I can't get there, it is just so odd.

The seagulls have complete ownership of the beach. There is a HUGE crowd of them out there on the sand. Jonathan Livingston would be so proud. They’re just sitting out there, chilling out. Not doing much of anything. Actually, I wonder what the hell they ARE doing. I usually despise the seagulls when I come to the beach because of all the noise and the inevitable byproducts of seagulls, namely seagull poo.

Damn. I’m cold. I never thought I would turn into one of “those people,” but it is seriously freaking chilly to me.

The parking lot that ten minutes ago looked like the the mall on a Saturday afternoon now looks like the mall at midnight on Sunday. As empty as the George W. Bush mind.

Damn. I’m cold. And there’s a woman running around with shorts and a sweatshirt. I never understood that particular fashion “statement.”

The seagulls are gone. Didn’t even hear them take off over this freaking wind. It is a blowing, that is for sure.

Some guy just swept by on the beach with a metal detector. That must be a good life – just metal detecting all day. I wonder how much stuff they find? Is it worth it to walk, walk, walk, out in the sun all day? But I bet you find some cool stuff.

The best thing I ever found on the beach was a bra. My friend and I came out to the beach early one morning to take pictures to send to our families and we found the remnants of someone’s VERY good time. Playtex crossed and uncrossed her heart that night.

Aw. Old people. Old man and old woman. He’s wearing khaki shorts and a bright yellow fleece jacket. She’s got on a black pencil skirt and a white long-sleeve top. She’s got a camera but missed the sunset by at least fifteen minutes. The only thing you’re gonna get now is clouds sister. Hang on to your man and tell him to drive faster next time.

Damn. I’m cold.

Even the crazy ducks that usually hang around the park are gone. I swear that my fingers have a chill. Of course, this venti iced white chocolate mocha that I had to stop off and have isn’t helping. The one time I should have stopped and gotten HOT coffee ….

The ocean looks so angry. The whitecaps are rolling in and crashing on the beach. The smell isn’t pleasant and sandy and serene and beautiful – just harsh and violent and stormy. The air sings a song of power and rain and violence and hints of barely contained fury. I am starting to enjoy this weather, although I am damn cold.

I love the feel of the wind and the air and the cold. It reminds me that I’m alive.

I love the taste of the salt air.

OK. My time is up. I can’t feel my fingers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sonic, 10:15 p.m. – Sonic mayhem at the Sonic

OK. I’m going to try to break out of my love affair with coffee shops and bookstores and try some other place to spend 21 minutes.

Tonight my trusty MacBook and I at the Sonic. I’m not getting out of my car just yet – because I’m not entirely sure of the crowd in this neighborhood – and I can’t risk my work laptop. Sorry, no can do. I’ve killed it once already this year and I don’t think they’d replace it again.

Still, as an experiment, it is this is starting off on a good note, at least so far as it proves that I can write in my car and not be too slow in the process.

Just got my food – a Route 44 vanilla Coke and those new fried mac & cheese things. Yum. Fried mac & cheese is the bi-zomb.

The guy who delivered the food gave me the strangest look. One of those “what the hell are you doing typing in the car while at the Sonic?” looks. Well dude. I pay you to cook and deliver the food. If I want to do cosplay, role-play or track a Yeti with it – that’s my business!

Let me just take a moment to strike a blow against holiday creep. Two thousand and seven in the year of our Lord anno domini is going to go down as the year that America just said “Eff the Pilgrims. Screw Thanksgiving. We’re going straight from Halloween to Christmas.”

I’m sitting here at the Sonic and they are already promoting the Sonic Card as “the perfect gift for people who eat.” Complete with red and green decorations and stickers that go above the payment area AND a special sticker promoting the $25,000 contest for the Sonic card at Sonic’s Web site – also in Christmas trim and colors.

Consumerism. I reject thee. I cast off thy shackles and reject thy greed. Get thee behind me wrapping paper.


Other than some intermittent drive-thru traffic, there’s not much going on here.

The music on the in-store speaker system is something I don’t recognize. It is usually a mix of country, pop and top 40 – but tonight it sounds like cats being anally raped by an electric toothbrush. Lots of yowling. Must be emo metal. Or the White Stripes. Same difference.

I can see the Sonic manager through the window. He’s yelling at someone. Somehow, authority doesn’t really translate when you’ve got a baseball hat and a greasy ponytail and you’re standing inside a fast food joint. I mean, he’s always been the very model of a modern major fast food worker whenever he’s delivered my food, but screaming orders just isn’t going to get anything done.

You know what I don’t like about this Sonic? It is RIGHT by the highway. I understand they’re all about customer traffic and all, but still. The constant drone, drone, drone of cars as you’re trying to eat is annoying. I can even hear the gunning of motors as I have my window up. More better landscaping please.

Now Jackie DeShannon is wailing “Put A Little Love In Your Heart.”

And now a word from our sponsors: You too can own Sonic’s extra-long coney & tots for just $2.99. Here’s a tip. Don’t get it. It’s a lousy hot dog. If you want a good dog – go to Checkers. Much better food.

There is a beat-up black Pontiac Sunbird convertible in the parking space next to me. The cloth top is ripped, the paint is stripped like a hooker in the last hour of a eight-hour shift and if anything inside works, I’d be shocked. It is always parked there. I bet the speaker in that particular stall is broken and they just don’t fix it.

What does that say about this particular Sonic’s business? Do they just not care or do they simply not need the stall? Maybe the door locks don’t work and Mr. Greasy Ponytail wants to park his pride and joy where he can keep a close eye on it.


I just realized that from this particular stall I can see the clock that tells workers how long they are taking on a particular order. This silver Mustang at the drive-thru is already clocking in at over 2:20.

Aren’t drive-thru orders supposed to come in under two minutes. I remember reading something on Digg or Slashdot that two minutes was an industry standard. Maybe that was Starbucks. At 2:30, the screen went red – I guess 2:30 is Sonic’s GET ‘ER DUN mark.

Then again, it is 10:30 p.m. at night. How much food could they reasonably have made up ahead of time? I think everything after 10 p.m. is made to order. At least, I hope it is. The silver Mustang’s final wait time clocks in at 5:34.

Speaking of time, my own time is up. Thank you and good night!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Starbucks, 9:32 p.m. – The ‘Anti-Kitty-Committee’ is out in force tonight

I’m trying out a new Starbucks tonight. I like the chairs. I mean, I REALLY like the chairs.

This is one of those Starbucks decorated in the retro-mod style, with the earth tones and the cocoa-colored stools and the raspberry faux-leather high-backed stools that spin around and the big chocolate leather easy chairs. YUMMALICIOUS!

It is also apparently a “no-merchandise” Starbucks, as I learned on my last visit – so there is only one stand of coffee, a tiny basket of the coffee of the week and a wall of ground coffee. No mugs, no huge racks of CDs, no screaming promos for the iTunes single of the week. No. Not even the free iTunes single giveaways. I’m almost crushed.

This Starbucks also stays open until 11 p.m. on weeknights, later than any other one in the city – and midnight on weekends – a fortuitous circumstance I am sure is owed to the near proximity to the nearby movie theater. If only it were not so crowded with screaming teen brats wearing next to nothing.

Do they really let kids out of the house wearing so little nowadays? I just saw more of a teen girl’s ass than I ever wanted to. She was wearing short-shorts that would have made Catherine Bach run for a cover-up and a shirt that read “Anti-Kitty-Committee.” Pair this with knee-high black socks and plaid Vans and you have quite the ironic hipster bad-fashion statement.

The bratty children have gone now. They’ve swept up their tall chocolate chip frappucinnos and flapped out the door – taking their proto-homosexual floppy-haired blonde emo boy toy with them. Fashion-forward that one was – kept pushing up the sleeves on his brown American Eagle sweater and trying to toss the locks out of his face.

The baristas are not even making an effort to look busy. There are five of them and they are lolling about by the drive-thru window just chatting it up. Yakkety-yakkety-yakkety.

I can’t hear them over this crappy mid-tempo something, although every now and again the occasional snappy phrase floats through. “What did I do Danny?” Um, not your job, obviously.

We have a customer now. Our winner is a bored-looking twenty-something in blue jeans and a white windbreaker from some tourist trap. She’s got a fake Coach purse slung on her shoulder and a nasty scowl planted across her lips.

I wonder what crawled up in her and died. Maybe it is her pancake makeup causing facial freeze. Yeesh. You’d think as much as she spends at a makeup counter someone would show her how to apply it correctly.

Oh. It gets better. The boyfriend is here. He’s in plain faded blue jeans and a gray tee. They both have worn-out tennis shoes on. They both look so “average.”

Just got a good look at the jacket. I pegged the tourist trap correctly. Like I said – Cancun. Ok. If you really are a ‘world traveler,’ you don’t have to advertise that you went to the Mexican version of Branson. Capische?

Grande white mocha and grande no whip latte. Predictable and boring. I bet they do it in the missionary position. Actually, I take that back. She looks like a total hooker. I bet she puts on a pair of cowboy boots and some spurs, mounts up in reverse cowgirl and goes to town.

Anywhoo. They’re gone.

It just hit me that this is the largest Starbucks I’ve ever been in. I don’t know if that is because it is minus all the crap that is normally in a Starbucks or if it is just physically larger. Either way, it is a nice change. It feels … spacious … and light and airy and open.

OK. This place is really dead. One of the baristas has taken off his apron. He’s just slumped in one of the easy chairs in the back, staring off into space. He’s already smoke two ciggies in the last ten minutes. I wonder if Seattle corporate knows about this?

Finally some good tunes going on the radio. A tinkling jazz piano riff. This, I can rock out with. There’s also a fresh pot of coffee brewing. I guess they have to do a pot on the hour, every hour. Whatever today’s blend is, it sure smells good. That’s the timer.

I just asked. Tonight’s blend is Italian roast.

My time is up. Thank you.