Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Peet's grants me (a little more than) 15 minutes of (not very much) fame

Peets recognitionOver the years, I've stayed loyal to Peet's Coffee*, never straying to that "other" place (the one with the name from Moby Dick, you know) unless I had absolutely no choice. (At the Bakersfield airport, for example. Then again, I was stuck in Bakersfield, so I had bigger problems. But I digress...)

These days, I take Fern to our newly-opened Peet's down the street at least two or three times a week. (She doesn't get coffee until she's four, we've agreed. But she likes people-watching.)

Imagine my pride, then, when after all these years, I've been recognized as a dyed-in-the-wool Peet's fanatic. I am proud to announce that Fern and I are this week's... Customers of the Week!

How, you ask, could this have possibly happened? How did they pick me from among all the Peet's regulars who buy expensive coffee mixtures instead of cheap black coffee like I do? Here's what happened, recalled in this snippet from my forthcoming off-Broadway play about the incident:

SCENE:  A San Francisco Peet's store. Enter from stage left GRAHAM, an unshaven but otherwise clean guy pushing one-year old FERN in a stroller. Thunder peals offstage. GRAHAM approaches the counter behind which MICHELLE and ETHAN loll, looking bored but alert. Both have tattoos and look like they might have some hidden piercings and attend art college at night.

GRAHAM: Hey, there. How do you get to be customer of the week?

MICHELLE: Oh, I just take a picture of you. Let me get the Polaroid.

GRAHAM: That's it?

MICHELLE: Well, we already have one for this week, so you have to wait until next week. But I'll take your picture and leave it here.

GRAHAM: Great!

FERN: Hah! Mahmahmahmahmah. Psfffft!

And that's all it took!

*Even those of you from elsewhere have probably heard of Peet's Coffee, the local coffee roaster and chain that started in Berkeley a few years before I went to school there. My coffee addiction came of age drinking Peet's. When I first went to a local cafe for "coffee," I was actually drinking the least coffee-like of espresso drinks: mochas heavy on the chocolate and cream, lattes with almond shots, and similar monstrosities. I was a theater major and did overnight shifts on the college radio station, though, so soon, as I began to spend ever less time sleeping, I dropped the adjectives from my coffee order one by one. No more "decaf," ever. No more "single-shot" or "lowfat" or anything with "-ccino" or "frap-" involved. No, I was down to just one-word orders:

"Coffee." (Okay, I probably said "Please," too... at least, after the first cup.)

By this point, I wasn't even suggesting the size I wanted because I would simply hand over one of my capacious travel mugs. Peet's is pretty strong coffee, and drinking 32 ounces at a go gives one quite a rush. I don't remember too many specifics about college, but in the few memories that come back to me, I'm moving really, really fast.