The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘Espresso Etiquette 101

The Dissemination (of Thought) Files: Did Thalia tap Toronto?

with 12 comments

Wow, the fourth installment of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files is already upon us. Today I’ll be speaking to Thalia, my Muse, about a missing sock, a sex tape that doesn’t exist and why she refuses to protect me from the questionable women I date.

————————————————–

Lyndon Keane (TDoT): Thanks for joining me on The Dissemination (of Thought) Files couch. I thought it would be great to get you out from behind the scenes and into the spotlight. You know, give my readers the opportunity to put a face to the Muse.

If I actually did have a couch to sit on for these interviews, it would look like this... Source: yours-truly-karolinka.blogspot.com

Thalia (funnily enough, she’ll just be referred to as Thalia): You forgot to interview someone, didn’t you.

TDoT: Forgot it probably the wrong word. I’d like to think I procrastinated past the point of no return.

Thalia: Yeah, you certainly procrastinated your way around that pool yesterday.

TDoT: Long time readers of The Dissemination of Thought will remember that you disappeared for an extended period last year without any explanation. You also took a bottle of 30-year-old single malt and a solitary sock. Now that you’ve decided to grace me with your presence once again, can you please tell me what the hell you wanted one sock for, and where is it now?

Thalia: Firstly, I didn’t steal your precious fucking Scotch. Don’t you remember that magical Saturday when you convinced yourself that you could scribe lyrics for Grammy-winning songs? I’m sure your neighbours vividly recall you standing in the shower with a glass of whisky, singing along to Oasis and The Smiths. You were having a drink every time you got stuck on a line, and you got stuck a lot.

As for the sock, I needed it for my trip. I had to hide something inside it.

TDoT: You had to what?

Thalia: What part didn’t you understand? I was carrying something I didn’t want airport security to find, so hiding it seemed like the best solution. As I was packing, I saw your sock on the floor. I decided to use it.

TDoT: Oh, great. My Muse is a mule.

Thalia: I’m not a mule, you feeble-minded twit. I was travelling alone, so I wanted to take something to ensure my creativity remained stimulated for the duration.

TDoT: Huh?

Thalia: A dildo, you imbecile. I hid my travel dildo in your sock.

TDoT: That’s just classy. You’d better keep the sock.

My poor, naive sock: it didn't stand a chance. Source: kateevangelistarandr.blogspot.com

Thalia: As if you can take the fucking moral high road.

TDoT: One of the phrases someone plugged into a search engine to find The Dissemination of Thought was “thalia sextaped”. Do you want to make any comment about that?

Thalia: Are you insinuating that I made a tawdry, D-grade porno? What would it be called, Mr I-Fucking-Think-I-Know-Everything? Thalia Taps Toronto?

TDoT: I’m not insinuating anything, but you were missing in action for a long time. By the way, that title of the movie you assure me doesn’t exist has an alliteratively salacious ring to it.

While we are on the subject of all things intimate, let’s discuss dating. I’ve been subjected to some appalling romantic dalliances, so many in fact, I was inspired to write a Valentine’s Day tribute to the 10 most intriguing psychopaths I’ve ever dated. Shouldn’t you have had a quiet word in my ear about these women before I agreed to go out with them? You could have at least warned me about The Super Cougar. As my Muse, don’t you have a duty of care to ensure my delicate, creative psyche isn’t exposed to anyone who wants to mount me within the first few hours of meeting?

Thalia: You do understand what a Muse is, don’t you? I’m here to inspire you and make sure your lazy ass puts pen to paper. I’m not some sort of mythical matchmaker sent to you to tap you on the shoulder every time you contemplate dating someone who’s emotionally unbalanced. That’s a freakin’ full-time job, and I’ve got commitments outside of musing hours.

TDoT: You are being incredibly difficult. I’m not sure where you think you need to be, but your attitude towards this interview sucks. How do you think the readers will feel when they realise you have no interest in providing witty, thought-provoking answers?

Thalia: How do you think your readers feel about you doing an interview with an entity that no one can see?

TDoT: Do you think they’ll notice?

Thalia: I imagine so. That family over there with the combined intellect of a box of crayons has been watching you for fifteen minutes, and they sure as hell know you’re talking to yourself. Your readers are way smarter than that, so I’d say the jig is up.

TDoT: We might leave it there then. Thalia, thanks for being here.

————————————————–

For week 5 of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files, I promise to interview someone interesting. And real.

If you aren’t already doing so, check out the TDoT Facebook page. I want to sincerely thank the 91 people who already like it, but let’s aim to hit 100 by the weekend.

While I’m thanking people, I’d like to express my gratitude to the lovely Erin and wonderful Korinda for putting up with my incessant nagging this afternoon. An edited version of “Espresso Etiquette 101: 6 Lessons in Coffee Shop Culture” featured as the “For what it’s worth” column in today’s Brisbane edition of mX, and the girls patiently sent me photographs of the paper without once telling me to go to hell. When I actually have a copy of the newspaper in my hands, I’ll scan the column and post it on the Facebook page.

Advertisements

Espresso Etiquette 101: 6 Lessons in Coffee Shop Culture

with 46 comments

Cafes are not places to set up a quasi mission control, and the simple act of tipping shouldn’t remind anyone who observes it of a full-scale production of The Taming of the Shrew.

These are just two examples that stood out among a myriad of espresso etiquette breaches I’ve witnessed over the past twelve months, the most recent of which involved Mr Lesson 4 earlier this week.

As I pondered his seating sin and cappuccino contravention, it dawned on me that he wasn’t alone in his misgivings, so I decided it was an opportune time to offer a weekend refresher course, with the aim of bringing everyone up to speed on the do’s and don’ts of 21st century cafe culture.

Has everyone switched their mobile phone to silent? Do you all have a pen that works? Good, let’s commence the nonsensical crash course that is Espresso Etiquette 101.

We haven't even looked at the first lesson and already we have people throwing their coffee cups out of the cot. Source: mephc.com

Lesson 1: Know what you want before you are eyeballing the barista

Those big, colourful boards behind the counter that display the menu, cup sizes and prices aren’t there for decoration. There’s nothing more infuriating – in the coffee world, anyway – than standing behind someone who doesn’t have a clue what they want to order until they’re staring into the pained eyes of an exceedingly patient barista.

If you want a small flat white, lock it in as soon as you’re asked what you’d like. If you’re in the mood for a large caramel mocha, accept your caffeine-infused fate and tell the barista you want a large caramel mocha. If you intend to order a Venti triple-shot hazelnut soy latte with a dash of vanilla, slap yourself across the back of the head as you approach the cash register. Your bombastic stupidity has earned you a glass of water. Without ice.

While we’re on the subject of ordering, knowing how to pronounce what you wish to drink is important. Should you feel inclined to order a macchiato, please remember it’s not pronounced mar-chee-ate-o. If there were such a thing, it would be a Cheetos-esque snack, not a coffee.

Lesson 2: A single coffee does not entitle you to a full day of free Wi-Fi

These people know who they are. The individuals who purchase a solitary coffee in order to stake their claim at a table towards the rear of the cafe; out of sight – and mind – of the baristas, but not so far away as to give them a less-than-excellent signal from the complimentary Wi-Fi.

While Starbucks is the traditional haunt of this creature, extreme overpopulation and the resultant infighting has forced many to flee their franchised habitats and seek refuge in boutique coffee shops advertising free internet.

The coffee culture lesson to the free Wi-Fi whores is simple: A $5 chai latte does not afford you any sort of entitlement to sit there for six hours while the last two seasons of Breaking Bad, 134 songs and Green Lantern finish downloading.

Lesson 3: Tether your unruly children to the table

Our third lesson in espresso etiquette is predominantly for parents, but is applicable to anyone who deems taking unsettled children to a coffee shop a prudent decision.

Contrary to what the deluded voices in your head tell you, not everyone finds your munchkins adorable. They are even less endearing when running around my table screaming, as you look on and do nothing but point and pull those stupid “Aren’t they precious?” faces. As ridiculous as it may seem, I was hoping for a little bit of peace and quiet while I finished my latte.

If you can’t or won’t control your recalcitrant toddlers, please tether them to the leg of your table using twine that any of the staff will be more than happy to provide you with. If need be, utilise some form of baby muzzle*, because I can’t handle that high-pitched squealing any longer, and I really will feel bad if I’m forced to throw my half-chewed muffin at your firstborn.

* Author’s note: If such a device doesn’t already exist, I call dibs on the patent.

Lesson 4: One ass equals one seat

This maths lesson is one that, because of its simplicity, shouldn’t even have to be taught. If you find the subject matter boring, please direct your grievances towards the 20-something guy at the cafe, whose struggle with basic mathematics compelled me to run this refresher course.

One bum entitles you to one seat. Uno. Yi. Moja. If you are flying solo with your cappuccino, a single seat is all you get. Your laptop bag, backpack and filthy, stained sneakers don’t have an ass between them, so they sure as hell don’t need to be comfortable while you spend forty painful minutes wiping dried froth from the rim of your cup.

Lesson 5: Tipping does not involve Shakespearean theatrics

To Lady Macbeth at the front of the queue: To tip, or not to tip, that is obviously your question. There’s no need for histrionics or to wait for an audience to assemble; either do it or don’t do it, but if you opt for the latter, please exit stage right immediately.

I’ve never worked in hospitality, but friends who do tell me one of their biggest irks are pretentious gits who believe their twenty cent act of altruism makes them the espresso equivalent of Bill Gates.

Lesson 6: Lose the hardware

This is an important message to the guy who has set up base camp at the table in the corner. You aren’t an authorised Apple reseller. Everyone in the coffee shop is already aware they make a good product, so there’s no need to spread your iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air out across the table while attempting to synchronise them, all the while shuffling the hell out of your iPod. You don’t look trendy and sophisticated; if anything, you come across as bourgeois and incredibly susceptible to clever marketing. Yes, I noticed the Bluetooth earpiece; did you want me to call NASA and inform them you’re good to go with the shuttle launch?

Source: shupes.net

If you are guilty of any of the transgressions outlined above, I sincerely hope this crash course in espresso etiquette gives you cause to sit back and smell the coffee beans. It’s not too late to get help. If you know anyone who is an offender, please share this article with them. Friends don’t let friends mooch cafe Wi-Fi. Better yet, maybe you should just print out and laminate a few copies; that way, you can hand them out to random strangers you witness committing these espresso atrocities.