Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Endangered Coffee

Living on the outskirts of civilization, Mrs. EC and I are forced to take drastic action when it comes to getting a good cup of coffee. Of course, there are the Dunkin Donuts at every corner, and in every gas station and supermarket, but drinking DD just smacks so much of defeat - okay, I have a caffeine addiction problem and I'll drink this mass produced zombie brew like everyone else - that we try to stay away from it whenever possible.
Back when we had lives in a civilized area, there was always a Starbucks within reach, not to mention Paneras and Au Bon Pains and a number of independent bakeries and shops that sold high quality brews. Now, we consider a Starbucks close if it's less than 10 miles out of our way. And the one independent coffee cafe in the next town over? Well, Mrs. EC tried it once, and the only words I got out of her about it were "dirty dishwater."
Oddly, enough, Mrs. EC and I almost found coffee salvation in the unlikeliest of places at nearly the same time. Something along the lines of - Hey, I tried the coffee at McDonalds and its not half bad. And indeed, for a short time, it seemed we had at least a mildly palatable option to the onslaught of DD. Unfortunately, Mrs. EC and I both also learned around the same time that to get coffee at McDonalds, you must in fact deal with the people who work at McDonalds.
Mrs. EC's was the less spectacular but more consistent reason why we are now more hesitant to head through the Mickey D's drive-through on a regular basis. On at least three occasions, she fell victim to the classic pay for the coffee with a $20 bill, get $3.12 in change routine, complete with surly managers bringing up the dreaded specter of Counting the Drawer and dimwitted teenagers convinced she had paid with a $5 bill. Because we are well known grifters who make our living off three-card monte games and shortchanging drive=through attendants.
So if Mrs. EC's was the annoying side of drive-through living, McDonald's style, mine was the hot coffee in the lap, all over my trousers and the interior of my car side of the McDonald's drive through experience.
Yeah, that pretty much explains it, I reached for the coffee with the unsecure lid, because obviously, securing lids on scalding hot beverages is not in the drive-through job description. Now, I am normally a mild-mannered man, except when I have been bathed in scalding hot coffee. I made a bit of a scene, but most of it involved me screeching to a halt at the trash barrel about 20 feet past the drive through window, jumping out of my car, screaming obscenities, wringing coffee from my pants, going to throw my spilled coffee cup in the trash, then deciding to hurl my coffee cup at the trash barrel and splattering the rest in the parking lot.

Take that multi-billion dollar corporation, I littered on the grounds on one of your thousands of restaurants! Littered! Power to the People!

Yeah, so if anybody knows where I can get a good cup of coffee on the South Shore of MA without it getting spilled in my lap, feel free to let me know.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Break time

I am slogging my way through one of my final stories of the week for work a little before 9 p.m. As you can guess, since I am taking a break to write something that isn't what I'm supposed to be writing, the writing of what I am supposed to be writing isn't going all too wonderfully. And I just made myself dizzy with that sentence.

Sometimes, my job is great and the words just fly out of my fingers. Other times, I feel like I'm swimming in Jell-o, and spend half my time hitting that word count button until I grunt and groan and tap out enough words to hit that sweet spot between 500 and 600. At least I've never used The End in the word count (although I do count my byline).

The story of the moment is up to 376 words. Since I am feeling both tired and guilty for avoiding work, I am going to go back to writing the other thing that isn't this thing that I'm writing now. See you on the other side.

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