I don't drink coffee, but the truth is, I wish I did. As described in my ongoing saga with the Cold Drinks machine, I need my caffeine from somewhere and to be honest, I'm jealous of all the coffee drinkers out there, for two reasons.
The first reason is how much everyone LOVES their coffee.
A friend who I won't name but who recently started reading the blog (you know who you are) was a non-functional robot first thing in the morning, but as soon as she had some coffee became remarkably human. She made me buy a coffee maker for my apartment even though I never drank the stuff. Although it was not logical to be jealous of someone being incapacitated every day until they had a specific beverage, I was jealous nonetheless.
I love seeing the gratification on people's faces when they get that coffee that they really need, or that coffee that is extra special and delicious to them. I don't understand their joy, but I wish I did — kind of like how I feel whenever people look at those crazy 3d puzzles that I can never get, GAH I hate those things. But that's another rant.
The second reason I'm jealous is the coffee LINGO. All you coffee people have a special language that only you speak, and I feel left out. I don't like excluding people, but deep down, I'm a language snob, and I secretly love when I'm happily conversing with someone about things that other people won't get because they don't know what "interface affordance" is, for example.
I admit it, okay? I don't know what the difference is between a latte or a cappuccino or an espresso. I know one is really small and one is really big and that there's steaming milk involved with at least one of them, but I don't get it! There, I’ve said it.
And don't get me started on Tim Horton's lingo. I'm standing there vainly looking for a chocolate coconut doughnut and trying to decide what I'll have instead and someone in front of me says something non-sensical like, "I'll have a double double" and the person behind the counter just KNOWS what they mean? How do you learn this stuff?
Which brings me to today.
I have a cold, and I'm trying to drink my fluids and get my vitamin C, so I went to McDonald's and was waiting in line to order an orange juice, when the person in front of me asked for, and I quote, "A small hot coffee please."
The friendly but bizarrely named Nickeisha behind the counter blinked and said, "A small what coffee?"
"A small hot coffee please," said the man.
Poor Nickeisha didn't know what to do, and I admit I was a little confused as well. It's an interesting phenomenon. Obviously, when you're reading this, you're thinking, "What's so weird about this? It's a perfectly normal sentence with a perfectly valid use of the word 'hot'". But when you're actually standing there in line, taking orders all day, when someone throws in a word that you don't expect, your brain can suffer a little jolt.
If the guy had ordered a "hot sausage mcmuffin" I imagine she would have been confused too, but probably not as badly. With coffee, you have so many weird things you can ask for; decaf, cream, sugar, milk, double double, non-fat, vanilla etc., that you sort of go into a mode where you're ready for some sort of specific subset of input and when someone says something that fits but doesn't fit at the same time, your brain sort of goes on tilt.
It doesn't help at all that in this case the modifier was "hot". I mean, what else would it be? Sure, there's such a thing as iced coffee, but not at McDonalds. I mean, he could have asked for a small liquid coffee too and although valid, it would have been confusing.
Anyhow, Nickeisha, being the pro she was, soon recovered and got the man his coffee. As my mind wandered, thinking about the way both she and I had been messed up with his inclusion of the word hot, I decided to see how she'd react to another one, so when it was my turn, I asked for a large cold orange juice, but sadly, I couldn't do it with a straight face and my experiment was ruined. She got a laugh out of it though.