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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two Large Coffees, or There's Some Weird Women in That Aisle Over There..

Sure it's a repost, but it's been a while since we visited Mary.  Plus I had the Brew Review yesterday, so I've had a couple beers and decided not to write.


Enjoy this early-morning trip to the gas station with Mary and Pearl.

I picked up Mary Saturday morning. With a full day of cooking and cleaning ahead of us, it was only right that we stop at the Super America.

I guess it has been a while since I’d been in a gas station.

The economy has really brought out the competitive spirit in some of these places.

What I wanted was a coffee.

What I got was an eyeful – and a seat at the Mary and Pearl Sketch Comedy Hour.

Picture, if you will, Mary and Pearl. It is 6:30 or so on a Saturday morning. They have a long drive followed by hours of work.

Yet they are silly.

They are each clutching a recently poured, large, black coffee; and are staring rather blankly at the multitude of coffee-related add-ons: flavored syrups, flavored creams, sugar and sugar-like substitutes.

“@#$%!” I enthuse. “What in the world is going on here?”

“I remember when this place was a gas station,” Mary mutters.

We count six kinds of coffee; six cappuccino flavors; nine flavored creams, half-and-half, whole milk, skim milk, and 2%; a dozen flavored syrups; one sugar and three sugar substitutes.

There are also eight teas.

I go weak with laughter. “Holy crap, Mary!”

Mary’s bright blue eyes get just a touch brighter. “Hey, Pearl,” she yells from one end of the Trail of Coffee, “Have you seen the whipped cream?”

“It’s over here by the sprinkles,” I say, laughing.

“Oh, tell me they have the little flavored marshmallows!”

“Hmm,” I say. “They have flavored marshmallows, mini marshmallows, extra large marshmallows, marshmallow mattresses, licorice whips, jelly beans and Swedish fish.”

“Grab me a couple mouthfuls of the Swedish fish,” Mary laughs. “Really, though, what the hell? It’s not even light outside and already I've made more decisions than I normally make in a whole day.”

“What are we supposed to be doing here?” I fret. “Can my coffee support a caramel syrup shot and hazelnut cream? Is it safe to mix Splenda and Equal? At what point does the coffee stop being coffee and turn into dessert?”

“Times is tough,” Mary shrugs. “I’m surprised they aren’t giving away more of this kinda stuff just to get people in!”

“Hey,” I say.  "Where’s my free donut holes?!  Where’s my pedicure?!”

“Where's my free coffee with a purchase of a coffee?" Mary leans heavily on a counter top and wipes tears of laughter from her eyes .

I can't seem to whip the goofy grin from my face.

"Can’t you just see it?” I ask. “They got all this stuff lined up, people are milling about, clumps of huddled, confused women trying to determine, now that they’ve come in for coffee, what syrup they should add, what cream –“

“—whether or not they should add a handful of Swedish Fish to it – “

“They’re going to need a therapist at the end of line, by the cashier, giving out hugs and certificates of completion –“

“—and afterward a representative from the gas station will follow you out to your car, thank you for your business and then offer to hold you on his lap and burp you –“

“Pfft. I can’t believe they don’t offer that already. Hey! Seriously, who's gonna burp me? I did NOT come all the way to the gas staion only to have to belch on my own!”

“I know, right?” Mary says. “Sometimes I’m just so lonely!”

“I’m gonna write a letter,” I say. “Really, something must be done to further our sense of phony-baloney entitlement around here…”

It is at that point that Mary and I agree that not enough free stuff is being pushed in our direction, whereupon we pay for our coffees, are hugged and burped by the manager, and proceed to our cleaning job.

And I never do finish that coffee.


joeh said...

Sounds like the two of you still have some 14 yo locked inside just trying to get out!

No one needs choices at 6:30 am.

Mrs. C ordered coffee the other day and asked for "Regular" the wiatress asked back, "would you like cream and sugar?"

What the hell is "regular" today?

Fun post...re-runs are OK, first time for me. I do one re-run a week now...getting lazy.

Sioux said...

And those big coffee cups--when emptied--become great pee pots. In desperate times, of course.

R. Jacob said...

Did I mention I have a degree in burping?

Anonymous said...

Coffee slingers seem disappointed when I order my black columbian coffee...what? no flavours? no add ons? Bummer.

Paula Wooters said...

Dang... how can one possibly cope with so many decisions first thing in the morning? Kudos on getting out of there before your coffee got cold!

savannah said...

and this is why i try NOT to leave my house without having home brewed coffee, sugarpie! too many choices only cause bad choices with regard to coffee, of course... xoxoxoxo

Indigo Roth said...

Mornin' Pearl!

(Sorry, should I whisper?)

"At what point does the coffee stop being coffee and turn into dessert?"

I regard that as irrelevent. Please pass GO, collect $200. You may need it for the coffee. Extra vanilla in mine, please.

Roth x

vanilla said...

No choices. Simple coffee, no additives. With caffeine, of course; I mean, coffee is the ideal caffeine delivery system.

fishducky said...

I drink my coffee black for two reasons. One, I like it that was & two, I don't need to make no stinkin' decisions!!

jabblog said...

I enjoyed this the first time round and it was good to enjoy it again:-)

Barbara Blundell said...

make a note to take a flask of coffee in future !
Should make for an easy, uncomplicated start to the day unless you've had a sleepless night planning what brew you intend to take.

Douglas said...

Never, ever, mix Splenda and Equal! I am almost certain that is on the warning labels of both brands. The resultant explosions have taken out 3 restaurants, 4 Mini-Marts, and a few cafes. If, by some odd chance, you survive you will find yourself next to Ahmed and Faisal down there in Gitmo.

jenny_o said...

“@#$%!” I enthuse.
I love this line. I remember it from your original post and loved it then too. It packs so much into such few words :)

There are several people in my life who make me laugh like you and Mary make each other laugh. I always go away feeling refreshed and much, much younger. You're so lucky you have Mary as a close friend!

Stephen Hayes said...

You and Mary are certainly crack-ups. I really like Mary. You, too.

Belle said...

Maybe all these choices are slowly driving us all crazy. Love this.

Eva Gallant said...

I remember this the first time you posted it; still delightful!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I love this. Especially the "too many choices" theme. I once counted 57 kinds of mustard on the shelf at Byerly's. I rarely shop there anymore. Life is stressful enough without that many decisions to make.

Sextant said...

Too much choice is breeding unhappiness in all arenas of American life.

Oreos: there are 46 variation listed on the nabiscoworld.com site. God help you if you are simply looking for a REV 1 Oreo cookie circa 1955 design.

Ritz Cracker 6 variation of the standard round Ritz, 2 mini-munchables, 6 variations of Ritz Crackerfuls. They also have a desktop widget that will provide a daily random suggestion.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (the original skinny blue box) 18 variations.

Kraft Homestyle: 7 Variations.

Kraft Microwavable: 20 variations.

Kraft Deluxe: 5 variations.

Velveeta Shells: 4 variations.

Vekveeta Skillets: 7 variations.

Total of the above: 61 variations of Kraft Mac & cheese.

Prego Italian Sauces: 21 variations and 2 pizza sauces.

And then sometime you just want a cup of coffee. I was in Barnes & Noble a few years back, hmmm maybe 15. I wanted a cup of black regular coffee. There 5 people ahead of me. Capachinos, lattes, other things I never heard of. Each of these are taking on the order of 3 to 5 minutes to prepare. Mixers, hissing and snorting, whipped cream, various additives. What a production! After about 15 to 20 minutes I get to the counter. "I would like a large black regular blend coffee." I get handed a paper cup and pointed to a pump thermos.

Gigi said...

I'm with Fishducky. Black. But let me add this; not only is it good that way and decision free it's also calorie free. Seriously, who needs that much choice so early in the morning?

esbboston said...

"Brew Review"? I have absolutely no idea what that is. I have recently and pleasantly discovered hard cider at a restaurant, but I haven't published the long blog story yet. I write muuuuuuuch slower than you. I wandered around my 1/10 the size of AmariLLo town and finaLLy found a local supply of hard cider. Yea! The only thing I know for certain at the moment is that the baked potato & pork chop meal thingie is coming out of the oven soon. I have been totaLLy unsuccessful in getting my brain to include you in a dream, neither boring or eXciting, sorry. Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. WeLL, back to reading the remaining 95% of your blog post ...

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm missing out by not being a coffee drinking. That's what I got from this. Holy bajeebus.

Rose L said...

6:30 in the morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot even focus or think at that ungodly hour.

Roshni AaMom said...

a visit from Mary is always welcome!

HermanTurnip said...

Strangely enough, "phony-baloney" was an answer in today's crossword puzzle. Why didn't I check into your blog earlier?! Grr....

The Elephant's Child said...

What did you add to your coffee? And did Mary have the same?

bettyl said...

I simply scoff at all the flavorings one could add to a great cup of coffee to make it...well, ick!

Mitchell is Moving said...

I am so craving those Swedish fish right now (always my favorite choice from the candy counters in the old NY department stores), but not in my coffee!

River said...

This is crazy! The minute you add stuff, it's no longer coffee. And SO MANY choices/additives! Why? for the love of god/coffee why?
@ Sextant, so many variations on a food item. I'm truly stunned. Food out here in Australia is a great deal more simple. We have prepackaged/ preprepared foods, but we don't have 18 variations of anything.