June Newsletter
   April 30, 2013         |    Santa Barbara, California                 

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“Sweetie, it’s the last day of the month.  Is your newsletter done?”   My wife asks me this before heading off to work.

“Um, yeah.  Oh, April only has 30 days, that’s right.”

“By ‘um, yeah,’ do you mean you have a rough draft, a few ideas, or simply, ‘uh-oh?’”

“The latter?”  I smile the weak smile of the family dog who has just been found next to the strewn contents of the kitchen garbage can.

“That’s what I thought.”  She smiles, but not in the I-told-you-so way.  She’s a very organized person, my wife.  There are iCal alarms that chime on all of our devices a couple times an hour to tell us what we should be doing.  I used to think I was fairly organized, but compared to the way she gets things done, I don’t even pretend to compete.  In lieu of that, I simply offer lame excuses for my organizational failures.

“Well, I’ve just been so busy with that blogging contest on my personal blog.”

“Of course you have.  Well, good luck, dear husband and drink a lot of coffee today.”  And with a kiss, she’s gone, leaving me to my coffee.

Hmm...  Coffee.  Mac users like coffee right?  And, last week was national coffee week.   Hmm.... Segue, segue... I’m noticing it’s hard to say coffee and Apple without thinking of $tarbucks.  It’s impossible to walk into one without seeing most of the flat space staked out with tiny glowing white Apple logos, right?  Good enough for me.

I like coffee.  Or at least I think I like it.  For me, it’s like saying “I like air & water.”  I’m reasonably certain it’s not so much a choice as survival depending upon it.  I like it black, no sugar, and from a heavily French roasted, oily bean.  I’ve tried a fair amount of brands for that, but I shop at Costco, so I end up with bags of $tarbucks.  Their beans are good enough for me, but that’s pretty much where my understanding of $tarbucks ends. I’ve been in their retail outlets maybe a dozen times in as many years, and each time I feel like a stranger in a strange land.  Not only am I amazed how much of an Alexander Hamilton gets slain when you walk in there, but there are protocols you're expected to know, and I simply don’t.

For starters, there’s a language barrier that my pocket Berlitz cannot bridge.  How did small, medium and large suddenly become Tall, Grande, Vente, Trente and so forth?  Was real Italian just too easy to decipher so we should use faux Italian to make things interesting?  I freeze up every time they ask me what size I’d like and then invariably get corrected like a child who uses improper grammar.

“So you’d like a Vente?”

“No, I’d like a medium,” I reply.

“So you’d like a Grande?”

“Hell, I don’t know, but Grande sounds awfully large for just a medium.  Is it served in a bucket?  Don’t you have anything resembling a little bit larger than a small?”

“That would be a Grande, sir.”

“How can a medium be a Grande?!   That just doesn’t make sense.”

“Would you prefer a Tall?”

“A tall what?”

“Tall is a size, sir.”

“I know it’s a size.  I’m not an idiot.”

“It’s a cup size.”

“Sounds kinda big for a medium.”

“It’s a Small.”

“HA!  Okay, now THAT was funny.  Good one.  Ha ha.”

“No sir, at Starbucks, a Tall is a Small.”

“Seriously?!  How can a tall be a small?   You’re serious.  But, that’s impossible! Next you'll be calling a shot of Espresso a Big Gulp!"

“Yes, I know it’s confusing, but a Tall is a Small.”

“Oh wait!  I GET it!  It’s that thing kids these days are doing with the language, right?  Of course.  Even my 9 year old is saying things like, ‘That’s sick!,’ meaning ‘that’s awesome.’  Okay, I got it.  Next time I’m here, I’ll just say something like, ‘Yeah dude, I’d like some of that sick Tall you got there, just black with no Grande sugar.’”
I was beaming and gave him a few hip-hop hand signs, some cool beatbox sounds with my mouth and then winked to let him know I was down with that.  Yes, I was feeling pret-ty good about myself.  Crossing my arms across my body and striking the pose, I thought to myself, "You know, I may be old school, but this grey dog still has street cred."

“Sir, there are people in line.  Shall we call it a Grande for you?”

The bubble bursts, shame creeps in and I feel about 100 years old.  I’m just an old man, lost in the future, clueless in a place he mistook for a coffee shop.  I drop all pretense of knowing what the heck I may have said or ordered, nod meekly and hand over all of my cash in a wad like a foreign tourist.

At Mick’s Macs, we clean up small, medium and large coffee spills with the greatest of compassion and we do not use Italian for sizing.

All the best,