Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Grande Venti Double Shot Extra Dry Skim Whipped

So Starbucks is laying off people. The sky is truly falling. Maybe all our trouble began when we couldn't' even order a cup of coffee without tuning up our windpipes and speaking French. I have to admit I have been a holdout. Oh, I go to Starbucks, but I still use words like small or large. Women pucker their brows and men mutter heathen when they hear me go, "yeah I'll take a small cup of coffee." Cretin. And of course then I paid my ten bucks like everyone else for my coffee and roll and went happily on my way. Americans have always prided ourselves on cutting through the BS and getting down to the grit of things. Let the Europeans take on aires, we are a people who speak plainly without pretension. Then came Starbucks. Shuffling into Dunkin Donuts or 7/11 for a cup of coffee became strutting into Starbucks and declaring, "Yes, I want a grandee skim white chocolate peppermint mocha whipped with a double shot and a slice of your nonfat coffee cake..." Phew. That'll be fifty bucks. Probably about here we should have sniffed a sea change. When ordering a cup of coffee becomes a novel that costs as much as a novel then something has gone weird on the good ship middle class. We had a coffee bubble going and now it has burst and the men in the green smocks are going to be joining us on the other side of the counter. Will the ubiquitous image of well shod people walking down the street holding white cups with curved lids leave the diorama of our cultural landscape? Probably not. Lets face it that has become the image of people who are doing well. People who can afford to pay that kind of money for a cup of coffee and illiterate their way thorough the nomenclature of coffeeology surely have their &^%$ together. But maybe in these harder times, there might be another image, some guy walking down the street with a big 7/11 on his cup and a cold donut, sloshing along, muttering the patois of the boom years like a deranged caffeinated moron...ah,, no venti...uh cappacino espresso extra shot blastoh. Somehow that seems more real.

Books by William Hazelgrove