Monday, August 16, 2010

Coffee Crank

Snagged a parking space this evening directly in front of the Caribou Coffee @ 17th & Penn NW - kitty corner from the White House. Tourist/Washington Helmet-Headed Bird Woman*/Wonk Central. Got the cheapest iced coffee the 'Bou offers while I waited briefly for the Sasquatch to wrap up his workday down the street. WTOP had just announced the wretched temperature before I exited the Crapmobile - still 90F at 6 p.m. with a heat index of 100 hellish degrees.

I was nursing a bad headache and wasn't up to hipster muzak and blasting A/C inside, so I snagged a shaded table right on the street. A few other customers dotted the remaining outdoor tables in the muggy air. I saw a family studying a fold-up tourist map of the city just past the tables. Usually, I offer to help folks, but my brain was getting close to shutting down for the day. Not American, I thought. European?

Then I heard their voices as they spoke loudly over rush hour traffic: Londoners. East End. (I have - or at least had - a good ear for UK accents. Some of my friends at the LSE used to make a game out of testing my ability to place people in cities and regions by voice.) Mum and Dad, teenage son, married daughter and son-in-law. Daughter was oddly dressed in two heavy layers of autumn knitwear; I could only imagine she was slow-cooking in her clothes like a human stew. She was clearly irritated as her husband tried to map their way to Georgetown.

As she waited, arms crossed, she turned toward the Caribou and frowned at the alfresco drinkers. "FUCKIN' 'ELL!" That got everyone's attention. "What kind of crazy bastards drink coffee in this heat?!? Fuckin' 'ell!" Even as the whole family squished into a taxi, she continued to rant in disproportionate response to our summer beverage choices. "My god, that would make me sick! Crazy bastards!"

As they drove away, I exchanged raised eyebrows with the woman at the next table. "Jeez! She needs to relax," the other woman laughed.

I looked at my sweaty cup of lovely iced coffee and just smiled.

Hello, I'm a crazy bastard. And this iced coffee? Very refreshing.

*You know the "Washington Helmet Headed Bird Woman," right? So thin as to have sold her soul to Satan (or Benson & Hedges), courting osteoporosis, clad in an old school Chanel-ish suit, sensible heels, with AquaNetted hair in a helmet halo that a 1960s Betty Crocker would have been proud to sport. Likely has an upper management role at a federal agency or some nonprofit. Mostly humorless. C'mon, DC - we *all* know these women.


Anonymous said...

FUCKIN' HELL! What kind of crazy bitch wears two layers of knitwear in the 90-degree weather AND THEN plans to go walk around Georgetown-- probably to get crappy cupcakes?

Merujo said...

If you ever see me standing in line to buy a frigging cupcake, you *will* shoot me, right?

Washington Cube said...

I had out of town guests in over the weekend (staying in Georgetown.) They wanted to see "The Exorcist Steps," so down M we trudged through the crowds. The husband of my friend saw the cupcake line and said, "What is that...some special shop where you get to decorate your own cupcakes?" When I explained to him it's current popularity, etc., he said, "There is no way in hell I would wait in line for a cupcake. I don't care if they're on tv or how good they are." Walking back up M, I passed a woman beaming with her pink (score!) box. Shaking head.

P.S. Velvet alerted me to that blog piece in DC Blogs and I saw your entries. You know darn well you have followers. Shame on you. ;)

OH...PPS...Going into the Georgetown Inn I had to open the door for two British girls trying to get their valet cart into the hotel. One was wearing a leather jacket. I thought, "Are you out of your frigging MIND?"