In Boston with coffee. Early winter 2015.
I was in the studio yesterday thinking about giving a bunch of stuff away. I need to find a struggling, poor, young but brilliant, aspiring photographer (or more than one...) so I can give away a bunch of lights, old light stands, soft boxes and other gear that would be serviceable for them and is now more or less obsolete to me.
In the midst of my ruminations about limited largesse I decided that I was tired of making coffee at home and, as it was nearly 3pm it was time for a coffee break --- maybe even combined with a trashy cookie full of white flour, sugar and chocolate. An antidote to having read a blog post on broccoli sprouts and their magical healing powers...
The Starbucks in our neighborhood radius closed up early on and left us with only two options; Trianon Coffee (which is my current fave) and Summer Moon Coffee (which is my coffee desperation location).
Since Trianon is closed on Sundays my choice was quite easy. I'd been to Summer Moon Coffee a week earlier and they seem to have had their virus crisis safety procedures figured out. One could still go in and order a coffee and pay for it at the counter. You couldn't touch the condiments, you had to wear your face mask and you had to stand at least six feet away from...everybody and everything. But you could get steaming hot coffee complete with a splash of half and half. Once you picked up your cup you needed to skedaddle. No lingering allowed.
I ventured over with thoughts of hot coffee bouncing through my head like a melody you can't dispose of. But minutes later I was standing at the front door reading the latest sign: It told me that customers were no longer allowed to enter the store. All orders had to be made online using their app. Once ordered someone in the shop would prepare the beverage and bring it out to "the pick up table" and once they re-entered the shop you would be allowed to pick up your cup and scurry away.
"Oh hell." I thought. "I guess this is the new normal and I better get used to it or risk getting sidelined from society altogether."
It was 90 degrees outside so I sought the cool confines of my car while I grudgingly downloaded the company's coffee buying app.
The first hurdle was with the app. I use an iPhone so my version of the app comes from the Apple app store. I double clicked the button on the right side of my phone to approve the download and Apple asked me to enter my Apple user password. I thought I remembered it correctly, even though it is long and complicated but my memory was not up to the task and after the second failed attempt I thought I'd call for help. The idea of coffee tasted so good...
I called Ben and asked him about my password. He uses my account from time to time to download music; his brain is less full and the interconnections are newer and stronger...
He rattled the 12 digit combination right off. I thanked him and completed the download and installation of the app. I went through the menu and realized, sadly, that we were now reduced to ordering only coffee and coffee drinks and no cookies appeared anywhere on the app menu. So sad. Tragic, almost. I found the large, drip coffee and selected it. I was prompted to customize so I selected half and half and hit "next."
Then we got to the next speed bump in the coffee process; payment. The actual app isn't set up for payment. That's handled by a second app called, "Chow Now." That app will take your credit card information and allow you to finish your transaction. But there is a fee for the service of fifty cents (half a U.S. dollar). I didn't like that but by this point I was in for a pound so I continued.
The combination of apps applauded me for my successful completion and gave me a job # to reference. For coffee. A job #.
A few minutes later a young man came out with a mask and gloves and carefully placed my large cup of coffee on the pick up table and then rushed back into the perceived safety of the shop. I placed my index finger over the little hole on the plastic lid from which you get actual coffee to your mouth and then sprayed the entire cup, and attendant insulating sleeve, with 80% alcohol from the spray bottle I keep in the car for just such emergencies.
Sadly, sadly, sadly, the coffee was, at best, lukewarm. And stale. Boring. Made hours ago. Unsatisfying. But, of course, once you have endured the painful and demeaning process of overpaying anonymously for mediocre coffee the idea of spending more time trying to understand the logistics of how one might remedy this tragedy seems like a waste of time and energy. I drove back home with cool coffee and no cookie.
I put the coffee in a mug and warmed it back up in the microwave. I pulled a Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookie out of the pantry. Mediocre coffee and a packaged cookie. An altogether unsatisfying experience.
I went to Trianon today and bought another pound of Organic Ethiopian Medium roast coffee and I'll just take my chances making coffee at home for a while. At least till my memory of the disappointing coffee experience at Summer Moon is lost to time, and my short attention span...
The take away: Always have a plan "B" when it comes to coffee acquisition. Even in times of crisis.
Now heading out to the back yard to play with the time-lapse feature of the fz2500. Fun in store for me!