By contributing writer Kim Christopher of The Mommy Machine
My brother-in-law was visiting from Ohio. As we sat at the kitchen table enjoying breakfast he began describing his favorite coffee to me, detailing his morning routine of running into his coffee shop and ordering his delicious cup o’ joe to go. I stopped him right there.
“What are you talking about?” I asked with skepticism. “You park? And get out of your car? For COFFEE?”
He stared at me with a puzzled brow. I frowned at him in disbelief. This conversation was going nowhere fast.
You see, in Alaska, we have coffee stands. You drive up to the sliding window, order your poison, toss your money to the barista, and go about your merry way. Our coffee stands are located, well, everywhere. Every street corner. Every back alley. Every empty lot. Some coffee stands share a parking lot with a gas station or a bank. Others sit by themselves on lonely stretches of road, where truckers and campers depend on them to provide a hot mug of pick-me-up in the middle of a long drive. The point is, I haven’t had to step out of my vehicle for a warm beverage since 1997, but when I explained all this to my Buckeye brother-in-law, he refused to acknowledge the vast superiority of our drive-up stands to his inconvenient park-and-walk shop.
It’s not like these coffee stands are fly-by-night operations, I clarified. They’re not pouring hot water into a Dixie cup of instant crystals. We’re talking real businesses that take pride in their product, with each stand specializing in a particular brand of bean. Some serve a local roast; some sell only organic; others import from Hawaii, for crying out loud. They call themselves by cute names that play off the theme of the coffee, like Holy Grounds or Jumpin’ Bean. Some use alliteration, like Motor Mocha, or hint at the exotic, like Terra Bella or Caffe d’Arte. My brother-in-law was unimpressed. What was it going to take to get this guy to see the light?
Each stand has its own punch card, I continued. Buy 9 drinks and get the 10th free! That brought a glint of interest to his eye. I hurried on, appealing to his sense of tolerance and diversity. Neither my husband nor my kids drink coffee, but that doesn’t keep them away. Alaskan coffee stands sell hot chocolate and chai tea and fruit smoothies and steamers. They offer muffins and cookies and Rice Krispies treats. They’ve got newspapers and bumper stickers. And they’re quick! No fuss, no muss . . . and definitely no parking and having to walk inside some strip mall just to place your order.
I quit talking and waited for my brother-in-law to concede. “Eh,” he shrugged, “I still like my coffee shop. They make it just the way I like it.” Some people simply won’t listen to reason.
This week's post "How to Throw Things Away" is up at BlogHer. Right next to the enticingly sensational piece entitled "Burka Rage." Doesn't that just make you wonder?
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