In my lifetime, the instances I have been mistaken for a cosmopolitan person are few and far between. It happens on occasion, usually with my family. Last Christmas, I made mac and cheese for the big family dinner. It was a Giada di Laurentis recipe from Food Network with bread crumbs on top. No one would touch it, opting instead for the large bowl of cooked noodles tossed in Velveeta next to it. “Fancypants mac and cheese”, they called it.
Recently my friend Danielle referred to me as sophisticated because I knew what a snifter was.
Those rare instances aside though, I am typically viewed as what I pretty much am: a pop-culture obsessed redneck with the taste level that comes with such a designation.
I thought when I arrived in Bossier City, Louisiana for work yesterday that I would take to this place like a moth to a flame. Biloxi is my favorite stop on the Circuit, with New Orleans a close second. This seemed right in the wheelhouse.
That is, until I figured out the coffee situation. Namely, that there isn’t one. The nearest Starbucks is 2.4 miles away and the only place serving coffee near the hotel appear to be the Auntie Anne’s pretzel place with its java coolatas.
Much to my relief, there is a tiny coffee shop inside the casino which serves a smattering of lattes and, surprisingly, has kona coffee, which is one of my favorite blends.
Considering our tournament is being played on the roof of the riverboat under the cover of the tent, I knew from about 30 minutes in that this coffee shop and I were going to become fast, necessary friends.
In my first trip to the shop, I learned quickly they don’t bother carrying skim milk. So, the second time down there, I came more prepared.
“A medium kona blend with two percent please,” I requested.
The server stared back at me, utterly baffled. She opened her mouth, paused, then shut it again, briefly looking around her area trying to figure out if she could wing such a request. She gave up a few seconds later.
“I don’t think I understand what you mean. You want milk in your coffee?”
“Yeah, or you could just leave room in the cup and I can add it.”
“So…like a latte?”
“No, I don’t need that much milk,” I responded. I realized she was still lost, but, to be fair, so was I. This didn’t seem that far-fetched to me and even in Australia, where coffee with milk just isn’t a thing, they kind of got the gist of what I was getting at when I would ask.
“You know coffee with cream and sugar?”
“I want that…but instead of creamer, just a little bit of milk.”
“Ohhhh, okay,” she said with a smile. She turned around to prep my coffee.
I stood a couple of seconds and realized the couple next to me was staring at me. It was probably justifiable. I was dressed for a snowstorm in boots and black pants, a peacoat, a large scarf, and fingerless gloves:
Hey, stop your judging. I get cold, mmkay?
The girl in the couple couldn’t have been much older than 21. She inquisitively asked, “Do you always order your coffee that way?”
I smiled and shrugged, embarrassed to be questioned about my coffee choices a second time. “Well, yeah, most of the time.”
“Have you ever had a latte? I like those, the syrups are really good.”
“Yeah,” I responded. “Lattes are delicious, but I drink a lot of coffee, so I try not to get them every time.”
She smiled and nodded, then appeared to go back to waiting for her order. She wasn’t done though. I could feel her eyes on me and turned to meet her gaze.
“Are you from New York?”
Now it was my turn not to understand the question.
“You just look like you’re from New York.”
“Oh…no, I am from Kentucky. Not quite the same, huh?”
Judging by the look on her face, my hometown of Lexington may as well have been Lexington Avenue.
I couldn’t decide whether I was flattered or concerned. With a single sentence, I managed to convince an entire coffee shop (albeit with three people in it) that I was a strange, high-falutin’ sort. Where I come from, that isn’t a good thing. No one wants to be the person at the party with the fancy mac and cheese. Yet, here I was getting mistaken as a big-city maven with fancy coffee, fancy milk requests, and way too many winter accessories. I can only hope these nice, nice people (seriously, Louisianans are just universally the nicest human beings out there) admired my style and knowledge…I can hope really, really hard that is the case, but I am guessing it isn’t.
I paid for my coffee, dumped in a couple of Splenda, and headed out the door before taking a sip. Before I got back to the tournament area, I realized this beverage was about 60% milk and 40% coffee. I was freezing and under-caffeinated, but I simply threw the drink out. There is no use crying over spilled 2%, after all.