I Should Stick My Finger Where???

Posted by mwallach on March 30, 2012 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere, New Yorkers |

Dear That’s Life,

While this might be strange, I took several pictures of my cup of iced coffee last week and sent it to friends. It was not a particularly exciting cup nor was it supersized or keg like. It was just a cup of iced coffee like many I have had before, but this one was completely different: it represented the start of spring.

Some people look forward to spring for the budding of trees or the blossoming of tulips. Others cannot wait to shed their sweatshirts in exchange for short sleeves, placing their boots in the back of the closet and pulling out their sandals. Despite being a lover of all things winter, I still welcome spring and the wonderful changes in nature that come with it – as well as my beloved iced coffee. Something about drinking iced coffee in December does not compute, so I wait for the weather to change and the earth to warm before placing ice cubes in my coffee. With temperatures already reaching the 70s last week, I donned my short sleeves and drank my iced coffee with a sense of joy.

Even Dunkin Donuts appreciated the change in the weather. A coupon included in last weekend’s newspaper inserts treated readers to a free iced coffee courtesy of their local franchise. Even though this week had not been as warm as the last, I gleefully drank my free drink, sipping it slowly through the orange straw. Something about having a drink at their cost made my iced coffee taste even better.

That being said, I still drink plenty of hot coffee. Like my mother, I prefer my hot foods hot and my cold foods cold. While my husband refuses to burn his mouth on the soup I may be serving, I certainly believe that steam rising from a bowl is an essential element to my enjoying the dish. Cold soups are equally as delicious, as long as they are actually served cold. Like anything else I order, I just want and expect it to come the way it was requested.

I was disappointed, therefore, when the hot coffee I ordered before driving home from New Jersey last weekend was indisputably freezing. They had not misunderstood the order, as it came in an insulated hot cup sans straw. The receipt confirmed what I had thought. It was clearly meant to be a hot cup of coffee but somehow, there was nothing hot about the drink. My daughter had waited inside for our order to be filled and brought out the drinks when it was readily apparent that I was due a new cup of coffee.

I walked inside and got the attention of someone behind the register. “I’m sorry,” I said to the two young employees, “but I ordered a hot coffee and this one is cold.” The young man watched as I took the cover off of the cup and proceeded to stick my fingers in the actual coffee. “See?” I said. “It is really very cold.” While my little demonstration seemed completely normal to me, he could not believe his eyes and stared at me as though I was crazy. Having received that look before, I thought nothing of it – then offered for him to do the same.

“Stick your finger in,” I said to him, holding out my coffee so he could take part in my little exercise. “What???” he exclaimed, and I repeated my request. Looking at me warily, he declined, as I imagine he was slightly grossed out by my suggestion but I had to prove my point. I promised him I had not had any to drink and that I had no intention of drinking it so he should feel comfortable proceeding, but he adamantly declined. Instead, he continued to look at me as if I was nuts.

“At least feel the outside of the cup,” I said, handing the cup over to the gentleman. “It is not warm at all.” He took the cup from me and instantly realized I was correct. “You’re right,” he said, and added, “That’s bad.” Even though he agreed with me, I still was not satisfied. And because I am me, I became determined to get this guy to do what, in his opinion, had been unthinkable and gross.

“Now stick your finger in the coffee,” I said, trying again. “See just how cold it is.” And lo and behold, either without thinking or because he was intrigued, this total stranger stuck two of his fingers in my cold cup of coffee. I had won.

“That’s really not good,” he said. “You need another cup of coffee.” And as he began to quickly prepare my new cup of coffee, I smiled to myself. Returning to the car, my daughter asked if I had been given the cup for free, to which I responded that this new one had simply replaced the cold coffee. She was surprised I had not been further compensated in some way.

When I shared the story with a friend, he responded that I had been given more than just a cup of coffee – I had been given something to write about this week. “You got a complete stranger to dunk his fingers in your coffee!” he exclaimed, which he though was hysterical. In all honesty, however, the entire episode had not been that big of a deal. The whole incident barely stood out in my mind – and why should it? It was just another day in the life of MLW.
As Seen in the South Shore Standard March ’12

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