In which Tony has difficulty ordering a cup of coffee.
LaFlamme asked to meet me in a well-known coffee house uptown, an unusual choice of venue in that it wasn’t dark, dingy or catering to a lowbrow clientele. I would generally steer clear of chain stores like this, not because I'm concerned about creeping globalisation or the imperialism of large international corporations, but because I find their menus intimidating. I usually have no idea what I’m ordering. If the waitress confused my order with another, I’d never know.
“I’d like a Caffe Misto, I think,” I said to the girl at the counter.
“You think?” she said.
“Aren’t you sure?”
“No, I’m not,” I replied, “but life is short and I don’t want to waste any more of it reading coffee descriptions from Madison Avenue.”
“Medium or large?” said the girl.
“Medium or large?” I replied. “Whatever happened to small?”
“We don’t do small,” she said.
“Then how do you know what medium is?”
“Because of large.”
“Why don’t you just call it small and large?”
“We don’t do small,” she said. Life may be short but this little episode appeared to be infinite.
“Ok,” I said. “I’ll have the small-est size available. But put it in a big cup.”
“To stay or to go?”
“Should I?” I said.
“Should you what?”
“Stay or should I go?”
“It’s your choice, buddy.” She was probably too young to know the song. I ran through it in my head wondering if the band had come to any conclusion that might give me an idea of how to respond to the question, but nothing rang any bells.
“Better make it to stay,” I said. “I’m not sure what I’d do with a large cup of Caffe Misto in the street.” She seemed non-plussed by my dilemma and went about fulfilling the order. I paid and she returned my change.
“Should I put this change in the tip jar,” I asked, “or should I keep it for myself?”
“It’s always tease, tease, tease,” she said.