Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Venti Event

Sorry this is a little longer than I planned, but I needed to get it written.  I’m going to Chicago for the weekend (I’m driving there from Philadelphia-ain’t that kooky?) and will be pretty much off the grid until Monday.  In fact, as you read this, my brother-you know him as ‘Phil’- and I will be evading speed traps somewhere between here and there.  Don’t worry, I’ve got a delayed post for you of...something (I can’t remember) on Saturday.  Or Sunday.  Talk to you next week!
Love, Al

"Okay, so my heart's outside of my chest.
But, this is some great frikkin' coffee!!"
(Did I mention this was in the Bible Belt?)
    On our last morning in Christiansburg, Virginia (Al’s Geography Lesson: Five miles and several IQ points away from Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.), Mrs. Penwasser asked me to go out and get her a cup of coffee.  Apparently, my delicate flower wanted something a little more robust than the hotel’s selection of brown crayon dipped in tepid water.
Sure, it's not as snazzy.
But, you probably
won't need to call 911, either.
    NOTE:  Coffee tepidity (a real word-no shit) notwithstanding, the breakfast bar at this hotel was not nearly of the same high quality as the one in Lynchburg.  Although, they did have a perfectly normal, two-slice toaster and not an ultra-deluxe, mega cyborg, James Bond, conveyor belt contraption which could turn a perfectly fine bagel into a charcoal briquette.
    Thinking it was in my best interests to feed the caffeine monkey on her back (it was), I sallied forth (I like using this phrase, although it sounds kinda fem) in search of a decent cuppa Joe.
    As I was in the Deep South (hey, get off my back, Alabama!  I was born in Connecticut-the Old Dominion’s plenty deep enough for me!), I had my doubts.  I wasn’t all that confident that I could find a quality brew in a town where dental hygiene was considered “uppity,” lawn flamingos were on the city seal, and the Ladies Room at Walmart had spittoons.
    No, I was afraid that “Dark Roast Crayola Brown” was the best Mrs. Penwasser was going to get.
The absence of pick-up trucks
completely fooled me.
    But, imagine my surprise when I spotted a Starbucks sharing a strip mall with the Heavenly Tabernacle of the Most Seriously Hacked Off God, an Assault and PepperSpray Gun Shop, and a Pep Boys.
    Not only was I shocked to find this Seattle-based coffee emporium in Dixie, I was floored to see actual people inside.  And some of them weren’t wearing bib overalls.
    Even though I was confident I could find a good cup of coffee inside (and an iced coffee-in frikkin’ February-for our daughter), I was a little reluctant to go in.  After all, Starbucks always seemed a little snooty to me.  And, the verbiage they make you use when ordering makes me feel stupid (although not nearly as stupid as I’d feel the next day with the damn toaster in Lynchburg).
    But, since I figured how snobby could a Starbucks in southwest Virginia be, I decided to try it.  How bad could it be?
    When I got inside, I joined a huge queue (NOTE:  British term for ‘line.’  Seriously, while most of your other words like ‘boot’, ‘torch’, ‘lift’, and ‘shag’ make sense, what the frik is up with ‘queue’?  Why not just say ‘line’?).  I sighed audibly as the line (screw queue) moved as fast as a fat guy on a treadmill (yes, this is a tease for the picture below). 
Her picture was on my desktop (don't ask),
 so I figured, why not?
    Well that just figures, I fumed...stupid, inbred, Virginia hicks wouldn’t know a shot of espresso from a shot of moonshine.  Give them anything more complicated than a paper hat and packet of Sweet N Lo and they shut down quicker than Lindsay Lohan at an AA meeting.
    As I looked at the menu board, though, I realized what was taking so long.  This Starbucks was just like any other one I’d been to.  No simple coffee shop selling simple coffee and bait, they had choices every bit as inscrutable as a store on 5th Avenue.  No wonder nobody knew what to order.
No, I wasn't looking at the coffee, either.
    NOTE:  Customer accents, like pretty much any of this, are wildly exaggerated.  Although I bet the southern accents have been beaten out of their employees.
    “Good morning, sir. Welcome to Starbucks.  May I take your order?”
    “Mornin’, darlin’, yew shure can.  Ahd lahk a large coffee, puhleeze.”
    “Would that be a grande or a venti, sir?”
    “No, ah want a plain ole coffee.  None a that grande, venti, whatever crap.”
    “No, sir, a venti is a large coffee.”
    “Whut?  Well, then wha didn’t yew say so?  Hokay, shure, a venti.”
    “A venti what, sir?”
    “A venti coffee.”
    “What kind of coffee, sir?”
WTF?? All I want is a doughnut!
    “Kona, Espresso, latte, semi-arid mocha twist, Colombian, Peruvian Rain Forest, Polynesian Hearty Gold, Chesapeake Bay Crabcake, Andean Spring Festival, Moroccan, Acid Rain Spritz, Puddle, Aztec Gastrointestinal Distress, Shenandoah Mule Supreme, Decaf Brown Crayola, Nicaraguan Beaver Blend, or Folgers.”
    “Whut...huh?  Don’t y’all just have black?”
    “Why certainly, sir.”
    “Then, ah’ll have that’n.  Got any doughnuts or such?”
    “We have toasted biscotti, bran-pineapple-cranberry-kiwi-orange-passion fruit-SPAM--apricot muffins, Venezuelan Tea Biscuits, Lemon Parfait Squares, Yogurt and Bean Curd Cordials, Sesame Fancies, and....”
    “Never mahnd, young lady, I reckon ah’ll just have me one of them venti coffees.  Ah gotta get movin’.  Gun shop’s openin’.”
NOTE: Imported from California.
    “Okay, sir, that will be $7.75 for the coffee, plus tax.  Sugar and stirrers are over there by the three successful looking people with laptops.”
    Deciding that I wouldn’t be able to get my order until lunchtime, I beat feet out of Starbucks.  Nothing was worth that.
    Instead, I found a Dunkin’ Donuts in the next town of Possum Gulch (NOTE: No such place exists.  But, I figured I’ve insulted Christiansburg enough.  What’s one more time?).
WARNING: Contains hot contents
which may present a burn hazard.
Because it's coffee, dumbass!
    Nothing fancy, but it did have just plain old Extra Large Black Coffees without any frilly nonsense. 
    And, more importantly, a dizzying selection of doughnuts chockfull full of sugar, lard, and the tastiest flavors known to man.  Plus, you got a free test for Type II diabetes and an autographed picture of Oprah.
    So, stick that in your toasted biscotti and smoke it.

PLEASE NOTE:  I meant no disrespect to the south, Starbucks, Walmart, or gun shops in general.  Because I’d love to live there, I really do like their coffee, you can get a great deal on hip waders and strawberry Twizzlers there if you don’t mind the toothless, and people with guns could seriously eff me up.
    As for Dunkin’ Donuts?  Oh, yeah, I love me some Dunkin’ Donuts.

Ya know, now that I look at this, he may be all naked. And all man.  Urp...

I'll have a dozen glazed with a Diet Coke.
Please don't hate me because I have breasts.
And possibly a penis.


  1. I hope you still made it to the gun shop for your Valentine. It's a little scary that we were both thinking about Dunkin' Donuts today (see yonder older post). Have a great road trip, and your photo of the husky hermaphrodite was definitely worth waiting for. Julie

  2. haha customers can be ridiculous sometimes, its always fun to listen in

  3. Have fun on your trip mate, great post as usual too, that fat girl at the end is just vile haha!

  4. I didn't know a leg could do that. That is a leg right? Ewwwww, how'd you ever see that guy? I don't he could get out of

    That's a conversation that I'd have to steal another britsh term, shout bloody hell, bugger this, call them a wanker and then add a Canadian "eh" in for good

  5. aye chi wawa! that picture at the end just wrecked the whole post!
    though a passion fruit spam apricot muffin does sound delectable!

  6. Thanks Al, I appreciate the primer on how to order at Starbricks. That nude girl has a funny leg don't you think?

  7. I was doing fun until I got to the picture at the bottom! Ewwwww, gross, gross, gross! I think I might have to vomit now!

  8. I loved your description of Starbucks! so true!

  9. Wow. That's one big ballsac.

    I refuse to order a venti. I order Like this "Hi -- I want a large coffee-foamy-milk thing". Then they confirm by saying "venti latte" and I say "No, I wanna large coffee-foamy-milk thing". Then they smile patronizingly at me, make my cofeee & faomy milk (i mean LATTE), spit in it, and hand it over.


  10. You bastard. Eat a beef sandwich, a Chicago dog, and a slice of deep dish pizza for me. E-mail if you need suggestions.

  11. I don't venture into coffee places that can't pronounce coffee.
    Brown crayola flavor. lol.

  12. I think I need to go in there next time and order a ventimiglia aventuro biscotti. Confuse the hell out of them.

  13. And finally the half-naked fat guy makes his appearance!! At least you got out of the South without being asked to squeal like a piggy. Have a safe trip!

  14. Jesus looks awfully happy. Who spiked his carmel latte?

    Drive safely and don't pick up any hitchhikers. You'd scare the crap out of them.


  15. This story sounds familiar, have you shared it before?

    See you on the weekend I guess.

  16. I don't love stereotypical speech, unless it comes in the form of your blog. Eat a deep dish for me!

  17. Chicago was great fun. I just got back so it'll be a couple of days before I catch up. We also went to the Mars Cheese castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I spent a total of 24 hours in a car with my brother and nephew. Expect a post on that. Our conversation ran the gamut from "Do chickens have vaginas?" to the unrelenting sameness of the Ohio Turnpike.

  18. @Julie: I had a pop gun. Does that count?
    @dopdavid: I get some great material from just listening.
    @Matthew: The trip was a hoot. Never made it to a Chicago Starbucks, though.
    @Pat: I THINK it's a leg. This picture came up in conversation this weekend (yes, we were drinking). My niece said this wasn't so bad. She read where one woman was so fat that, when she stuck a Twinkie in the folds of her fat (apparently, it was some kinky thing), she forgot all about it. Until her skin started to eat said Twinkie. Ohhhhh, urp!!!!!
    @Sherilin: Especially the Spam.
    @anthony: yeah, the more I look at the picture (I don't look very long, though), the more I think it's a girl. But, you'd think she'd have bigger breasts, wouldn't you?
    @barb: You're welcome.
    @Mary A: The topic of ventis came up during our trip. The consensus was, "F Starbucks. If I want a large, I'm ordering a large!"
    @Beer: No beef sandwich, but check and check on the other two. Alcohol was involved, as well. Great city.
    @AC: I dare you. Do it. I think I might do the same.
    @Anne: And thank goodness for that!
    @Robyn: Of course Jesus looks happy. He got the "Son of God" discount. And a free prune croissant.
    @DWei: Not that I'm aware of. I may have said "brown crayon in hot water" before, but who knows with me?
    @Shockgrubz: Done! Y'all.

  19. After that last photo, I found myself slightly aroused. Must have been the mention of glazed donuts...(I hope)

    1. It was the mention of glazed. They have that effect on me, too.

  20. They do have good coffee and tea in the south. You always throw in that shocker in the end. lol

  21. He/she (as God as my witness, I don't know now) shoulda ordered the "Skinny Mocha Half Twist With a Shot of Espresso."
    With a coupla donuts.