I wanted iced coffee today while I was walking on my lunch break. Crazy Mocha is usually my go-to, and I havent been there since last week when I walked out after I reached my gagging point at the strung-out couple heavily making out in line in front of me. Not to sound like a PRUDE but it was just TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE.
I figured enough time had past for their salacious residue to have evaporated, so I was going to go there when I remembered that Henry told me about some new place he heard about over by the Art Institute called Grateful something or other. I very recently had walked down that street (it’s pretty shady back there but I like to press my luck) but didn’t recall seeing anything other then a Thai restaurant, a head shop-looking store front, and a carjacker.
I consulted my enemy Yelp to no avail. Maybe the place was so new that it wasn’t even on Yelp yet, meaning my Yelp nemesis probably hadn’t patronized it yet and if that was the case — did this place really even exist?!
Right before I was pulled into a parking garage sex ring, I saw a sign that said Grateful [Something] and realized it was the headshop that I had seen the last time I was on that street. But lo and behold, there was a placard out front that said COFFEE on it.
The stench of patchouli almost warded me off, but I took one brave step across the threshold and stopped. It was a small store full of tie-dye shirts and things of that nature so suddenly the “Grateful” part of the shop name made sense. I was about to turn around when a man called from the back, “Are you looking for coffee?”
I must have had The Look.
He motioned for me to come further into the back of the store, past some broad who was hanging hemp bracelets on a rack, I don’t even know, IT WAS ALL A BLUR.
“So here’s the coffee,” the proprietor said in a sleepy-happy-high slur, pointing me toward a counter. “It’s self-serve. You have your iced coffee here,” he said, pointing to a cooler, “and here’s your hot coffee.” There were five or six bottles of Torani syrups as well, but this was not what I wanted! I wanted someone to make it for me! If I wanted to make my own iced coffee, I’d just go home and add an ice cube to whatever’s left in my French press. Ugh.
I really wanted to leave but now I felt like I was in too deep because he was asking me where I work and if I’m a lawyer (lol) so I went through the motions of preparing myself a plastic cup of ok-quality room temp coffee and I couldn’t find the ice but didn’t feel like asking because I just wanted it be over. I felt so scrutinized! Like hey guy, can you turn your back and give me some privacy here? There’s a certain intimacy to sprinkling saccharine into that cup o’ caffeine, you know? lol sike jk. I just didn’t want that dude looking at me.
I squirted some sugar free vanilla syrup up in that shit while Spicoli kept getting in my face about how great his coffee is and showing me the gigantic printer he has to print out receipts.
WHERE WAS THE SOY MILK?? I don’t know because I didn’t want to ask. Black it is!
After telling him three times that I didn’t need a receipt from his medieval printer, our transaction was finally complete.
“Um can I have my credit card back?” I asked as he walked away with it still in his hand.
“Oh yeah, good call!” he laughed, all Dazed & Confused.
The coffee was fine even though it tasted like I made it. Because I half did.
On a scale of “Drinking the coffee you lft in th microwave for a day” to “Kind of like going to Telaropa and getting coffee from a vending machine,” I’d rate it a “I let a child fix my coffee at the gas station.”
Will I go back? Fuck yeah. It’s going on the Erin’s Shitty Pittsburgh Tour itinerary.
This has been Lunch Break Tales.