On 5th March, Jonathan and Corinna Downes, the Director and Administrator of the Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] the world's largest mystery animal research organisation, fly to Texas. Together with their friends and colleagues Richie and Naomi West who very generously financed the expedition, they will spend two weeks continuing the research into the Texas blue dogs, first carried out by Jonathan Downes in November 2004..

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

NAOMI WRITES: Coffee, Sake bombs and dessicants

Among the other small crises we have encountered in the past couple days, one involved my dog Tiberius eating a desiccant – one of those tiny packages filled with beads that absorb moisture. You find them in things like new purses and shoeboxes. Anyway, Tiberius hadn’t acted well all Sunday evening and we concluded it must be from the desiccant. So I googled 'dog ate desiccant' and found the below information on the FAQs of the Desiccare web site. Starbucks

Q: My cat, dog, child, wife, husband or myself just ate the desiccant, should I be worried?

A: No. The desiccants are non-toxic and you should not have any ill-effects. As always if you are having symptoms seek medical attention .

Q: If it's not harmful why do you print “Do not eat” on the package?

A: Because it's not food.

Enough said. Tiberius, by the way, did turn out to have ill-effects, but he recovered and we were never entirely sure of the cause.

Now for a more trivial crisis that nevertheless nearly sent me into a fit of rage and Jon into an attack of laugher: we decided to stop off at Starbucks on our way to church Sunday morning. This has been our routine almost every Sunday and remains pretty uneventful. But I’m starting to think that wherever Jon goes, weirdness follows, because just the night before, we were jolted from our normally pleasant dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant by loud shouts coming from one of the servers and a customer: “Sake…sake…sake BOMB!” This occurred once or twice more and we finally learned it was a ritual involving slamming a glass of beer with a shot of Sake in it. That had never happened in all our times at the restaurant.

Nor had anything so bizarre happened at Starbucks, and the only way I can think to relay is in the following form:

Starbucks drive-thr'u'

Me: “I would like three grandes with cream and one without, please.”

Employee: (hesitant, sounding confused) “Coffee??”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “We can’t make coffee for you today; our grinder is broken.”

I turn to look at everyone in the car in bewilderment. Jon starts to break down laughing.

Employee: “We can make you some Americanos if you like.”

Me: “That would be fine. So we want three with cream and one without. And can we also have a bag of Sumatra beans?” (Jon goes into a fit of laughter over, we learned later, the word 'Sumatra.')

Employee: (in a testy tone.) “We can’t grind those for you."

Me: “We don’t want them ground – we want Sumatra beans."

Employee: “OK.”

We sit in silence, then the employee’s voice is replaced with a new voice, even more girly and youthful: “So you want two with cream and one without?”

Me: “No, we want three with cream and one without.”

Employee: “She has here that you only ordered three coffees.”

Me: “No, we wanted four -- three with cream and one without.”

Employee: “Then how come it says two with cream and one without?”

Me: “I told her three with cream and one without. That’s what we want.”

Employee: “But that makes four coffees. You only ordered three.”

Me: (Trying desperately to keep the rage and sarcasm out of my voice while Jon’s laughter has crossed into hysterics) “She apparently thought we wanted three instead of four. Would it be OK to add that fourth one now?”

Employee: “Sure!”

And that concluded the moment of incredible incompetence. We collected our drinks and beans, Jon got his laugh for the day, and I resolved never to visit that Starbucks again.

I suppose if I am going to focus on this Blue Dog expedition I need to set aside these trivial things but you really can't get around them -- they either make or break your day. The rest is just interval.

1 comment:

  1. Starbucks is where those cakes I mentioned come from! Wheat-free chocolate brownies.

    It's amazing how silly the people in these places can be!