I am standing in Peet’s. Tomorrow is 2012 and I need a kick. Peet’s Coffee & Tea as you know, was Judge Ito’s juice of choice. It’ll do. I like any java. I never complain about the old dishwater I drink in the Navy. In good naval tradition, I have never washed out my mug. Not once. And when I say mug, I’m not talking about my face, but my cup.
Can I just get a normal coffee? I ask the short guy behind the counter. Starbucks has screwed me up with the crazy sizes. Plus all the soy, frappee, latte bs. Fah-get-a-bout-it. Not me. Just give me the dark elixir. Day old? Sure.
What size do you want, the barristo asks.
Um, give me a medium.
No problem. He smiles. Way too widely. And I look at him. And see a cursive tattoo peeking out from his shirt. On his chest. Creepy. I hand him some money. Thanks, he says. He seems really feminine. Which is okay, I’m not at Peet’s to make friends. I just need coffee.
He turns and says something to the man, the helper, behind him. Probably my order. And then he slips me my change. I put the coins into the tip jar. And wait. The man hands the barristo my coffee. Except the helper is not a man, but a woman. Who is about 100 pounds overweight. And has wild spiky hair.
Don’t freak out, alternative readers. I am not being sexist, racist, or gay-ist, I am just observing what is occurring around me.
As I said before, I just want coffee. So I take it and sit down in the corner. And start up my novel. I am running with the words, listening to Vampire Weekend in my ear buds, A-Punk.
The song ends and I hear a mother and her kid talking. Much too loudly, next to me.
We resonant politically, the kid whines. The only reason I hear them is that A-Punk has ended. By his voice, he sounds like a high schooler. A sophomore. We are both very worried about all the terrible things the Tea Party is doing.
I pray, beg for the next song to start and it does.
This is not a political blog, but I can’t help but to think of all the terrible things that the Tea Party is doing. Imagine the Constitution-sized list and then put yourself in my shoes.
I don’t say anything, but between each song, I hum quietly. So I don’t have to hear them.
The kid gets up to leave. I look at him and he smirks at me and I realize he is older than high school. Probably a sophomore. In college. Or maybe a recent grad. I don’t care. I just want peace.
I write and listen. Listen to music and write. I get up to go to the bathroom. Behind the counter are two new employees. One, a normal looking dude. And a skinny, Englishy majory type girl. With long red hair. Dark red.
I glance at the normal dude and he is not as normal as I thought. His eyeballs are lost, baked in genius thought. I may be in the Navy, but I came up in Berkeley and know stoned when I pass it.
I look to the English major. She’s not high and she leans on the counter, pushing up the sleeves to her sweater. God bless her.
I go to the bathroom and return and write some more. I don’t finish my four dollar drink. Suddenly I don’t want to. I’d give anything for some pis black Navy mess coffee. Peet’s sucks.
Am I judgmental? No. I just filmed the inside of Peet’s the best I could. Do I dislike any of the folks there? Nope.
I just want out. Of California. I gotta move. To Texas. Someday. When the Navy does not own me. Not that I am complaining.
In forty years, maybe I’ll be one of those old guys muttering to myself as young’uns run through my yard. Damn kids, I’ll say to your great-grandchildren.
Update: The Marine Corps is passionate about their coffee too. I hear a Ka-Bar makes a good stir stick.