I Gotta Move to Texas

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.

I pack my bag and step out into the sunlight.

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.

46 thoughts on “I Gotta Move to Texas

  1. I understand. Lu and I got out last year when I retired from the pd. Bought a little fixer upper in southern Utah. It’s small and quiet. My neighbors are all Mormon but friendly as a lab puppy. And no one at the Taco Bell calls me dude.

  2. Inspirational, Navy One…you have maybe twenty more years of inspiring retrospective…and some of the worst tasting coffee, a chief has ever made…I know, the huge coffee pot that’s never been cleaned in its entire existence…your stomach doing flip-flops after midnight or three in the morning..or any time at all..Starbucks is too complicated for me…I hope you survive…Happy New Year…k

  3. NavyOne, ever read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman? Joe is a Vietnam vet who wrote what is considered a classic sci/fi tale. I didn’t like all of it but there were bits that resonated with me. The main character goes off in space to fight aliens but because of relativity he returns to Earth some 40-50 years later. He’s the same age he left of course and cannot identify with the future Earth he has returned to. Kinda how I feel every time I get back to the States.

  4. Six: Southern Utah would work. Nice country out there.
    Kris: I love foul coffee.
    As1stS: I have never read that one. I may have to hunt for it when I am traveling next.

  5. Wife is from California, myself, Texas. We never told her mother that we could have had orders to Moffett when we left Hawaii. We went to Corpus instead and have never regretted it, although I still miss her mother, a sweet soul who raised a peach of a daughter.

    On the coffee, “If it won’t float a nickel, it ain’t real Navy coffee.” Or so I’ve been told.

    The best of new years to you and yours.

  6. I well-remember being tasked to make coffee one fine Marine Corps morning at HMH-362’s {now HMM-362, AGAIN} Avionics Shop …………………………………… took the old urn percolation-type coffee maker out to the slop sink, to fill it – I saw CRUD that was moving independently in there, so I cleaned it {as one would expect of the daughter of Marine Mustang ;-) } – took it back, made the coffee, tasted fine to me – Robb-O {53 specialist, my mentor} & Steve-O {46 specialist & Robb-O’s younger brother} both grabbed mugs, took sips & started cussing – Pa {MSgt in charge of Avionics} took me aside & explained that tradition demanded the coffee pot’s crud was sacrosanct, and NEVER removed ……………………….. I’d get my coffee from the roach coach after that ……………………………. ;-)

    What part of Texas are you considering? We’re in the Houston area {a big SWAMP, especially if you’re to the north}

    Semper Fi’
    DM

  7. As1stS: I take it the same way. THe bitterer the better.
    Flugelman: I depped in at Moffett when I was enlisted. Neat place. Happy New Year to you and yours too!
    DM: Cleaning that coffee machine, I’ll bet you po’d a number of those guys. In terms of Texas, I’ve always liked Hill Country. But I am somewhat far away from that decision.

  8. Get your a$$ stationed over here in Norfawk.
    Distinctly lacking California hipsters.

    and you can rub elbows with Air Force guys…get cool points.

  9. I am born and raised Texan, 55 yrs. old, lived there all my life except for 4 yrs in the Army and the last 6 in Tennessee, dont miss the heat nor the sea of illegals at all, plan on being planted right here in Nashville

  10. Virginia is a good step from liberal ridiculousness to something moderate. I have loved every second since I abandoned Massachusetts.

    Happy New Year!

  11. NavyOne,

    The Texas Hill Country is a fine place (here I sit). You will want to avoid Austin unless you become homesick for Cali. There is no longer any active military presence in Austin, but San Antonio is still a military hub and has extensive medical facilities.

    It is hot, and has been dry for several years, but also quiet and dark at night. When it’s clear, you can easily see the Milky Way and be reminded that this universe is one damn neat place, never mind the conclaves of clowns on this orb.

    Come on down.

  12. MSgt: I certainly need cool points. On my last FitRep, I really got hammered in the CP category.
    Jim: The weekend I spent at the Grand Ol’ Opry was a highlight of my life. Great place.
    Tombee: Happy New Year too! (And congrats on the move. I spent a long summer in Mass. Very sticky.)
    LC LtC: Good gouge. Go San Anton, avoid weird Austin. Thanks!

  13. I love it here in Oklahoma. I don’t have anything against people with alternative lifestyles, but I won’t condone stoners or mouthy liberals. I don’t spit on them and I won’t tolerate them spitting on me.

  14. Hi Navy and Happy New Year!

    I don’t drink Peet’s coffee at all, and for what I think is a damned good reason…I have a feeling you might just agree.

    As a native denizen of Lotus Land, I have to tell you that hanging with the friendly and relatively sane folks in Texas and Oklahoma makes up for the inferior weather there..almost.

    Your results may vary, as they say.

    All The Best,
    Rob

  15. I’m a North Texas girl who now lives in southern OK. I do drink Peat’s coffee, but I have to cross the river (Red River) to get it. The Hill Country is a nice place to visit, but too many people for me and way too expensive. If you want hills, come to OK and enjoy the perks of both OK and TX.

    • my wife is from the Tulsa area, wouldn’t mind having enough lakefront property on Lake Eufaula to set up camp for a week or 2 every year or so

  16. I feel your pain, Navy One…. It is bat shite crazy in California!
    Moving out of state has crossed my mind several times.

  17. Aahhhh…..Moffett. VP-47. Blimp Hangers. Hawks. Owls. U-2’s. Osprey development. Pre-Silicon Valley Sunnyvale. Walking through Berkeley with a Reagan button on….Good times.

    Percolated coffee…I HAVE to find a good percolator. Drip is just not….right. Navy coffee…..more good times. One reason we QM’s always had a cup near the chart…..if it’s spilled on the chart…one cannot ERASE the marks. Good for making sure that the record stays accurate.

    Remember though…real coffee has chicory. Our navigation shack had good New Orleans coffee sent to me from home.

  18. Okie: Good way to live.
    Rob: Happy New Year too! I do like the weather here and the food. Other things, not so much. Interesting link on Peets. Thanks for sharing it.
    Lou and Jim: OK is ok by me too.
    Lauren: Thanks for the commiseration. I feel better.
    Jim: No responsibility, you are right. . .
    CargoSquid: I love that, walking around Berkeley with a Reagan button.

  19. Do yourself a favor and don’t write in coffeeshops. In fact I would recommend not spending more time than you have to at them.

    The only way to drink coffee is black and the best stuff in the world is Blue Mountain brewed in a chemistry apparatus in a Japanese coffeeshop. 2nd best is McDonalds. In neither case is coffee served by a gender confused, part time band member.

  20. Unless I’m very confused, which I often am, a Berkeley hippy started Peets. I don’t drink coffee, but I can tell you that it has the worst hot chocolate around. It’s an undrinkable syrupy gloop that bears no resemblance to hot chocolate. For better or worse, Starbucks makes the absolute best hot chocolate outside of my own kitchen.

  21. Scott: RGR RGR!
    Book: Hippy is a largish woman who goes through a doorway sideways. A hippie is a person who grooves. And may smell. And who likes tofu cheese. Thanks for the Starbucks tip!

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  29. Coffee, California, Texas… which reminds me about Kinky Friedman’s answer to the question about coffee he wants: “Black, like my men…”.

    Cheer up, eventually you will get that gold watch (or a gold anchor, whatever Navy is giving out as bye bye present). And my advice will be Arizona, Texas is way too overrated. And it already has Kinky.

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  32. Found your article via BookWormRoom, and thought to comment, but LC LtC beat me to it. The Hill Country is great, but expensive. Stay far, far away from Austin. I’ve lived in TX twice, once in Ft.Worth, then moved from New Braunfels to San Antonio. I’m now in MA, Lord help me.. I hope to get back to the land of the relatively sane one day.

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