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Suburban Sprawl

This morning, as I was driving to work, I spotted one of the facial hair guys. You know, the guys who seem to want to make some kind of statement with their facial hair? The two bearded guys in ZZTop come to mind. (By the way, there are other members of ZZTop, but for some reason, you always think it’s just those two guys, therefore giving further credence to the facial hair guys’ cause). The guy this morning had a white mustache, waxed so that it would stick out and curl up. I only saw this guy from behind, but I could still tell that he was a facial hair guy.

In case you’re having a hard time understanding that visual, let me make it perfectly clear: The mustache extended out past his face for at least six inches on either side. The mustache was as wide as his body.

I can only imagine that long ago, someone said to him ‘You will grow an eight-inch snowy white mustache, which you will part in the middle of your face and religiously coat with some kind of substance so that it will defy both gravity and logic, or we will shoot your family dead.’ And then they waved a gun around to show that they were not kidding and also maybe his wife cried a little because she really couldn’t decide whether she wanted to be dead or be married to a guy with handlebars on his face. Because I can only imagine that he started growing this atrocity AFTER he got married because there’s no looking at that guy and thinking ‘Hmmm’ I better lock that in and right quick before it grows another inch.’

I don’t know. Maybe the circus is in town.


When Mopie lived here, she often went to a little bagel/coffee shop by her loft and reported with surprise that she had seen not one but TWO transgendered individuals working at that coffee shop. I almost couldn’t believe her, just because that is exactly the kind of diversity in Coldington that would please the hell out of me and man, how did I miss not one but TWO transgender women working at a bagel shop? Granted, I never go to that bagel shop, but you would think that I would have spotted one in the wild, buying yogurt at the grocery store or something. And how does a bagel shop end up with the abnormally high concentration of transgender employees? Mopie’s theory is that Coldington is so sheltered that most people don’t know what they are seeing, as it is out of their realm of comprehension. I agree that the Midwest is a very strange and sheltered place. When Jenfu and I spotted two middle-aged women from Wisconsin at the Fisherman’s Wharf In-N-Out burger last April, she remarked that she didn’t realize that we had lesbians here. We do, but they just blend in. Our middle-aged straight women insist upon dressing like stereotypical lesbians. Or maybe all the stereotypical lesbians insist upon dressing like stereotypical Midwestern middle-aged straight women. It must be difficult to be a lesbian in Wisconsin, because how would you know what to hit?

I’ve been hanging around boys too much. It’s starting to infiltrate my speech patterns.

When I was at the stylist a few weeks ago and noticed a statuesque woman walk in, wearing gigantic Dior glasses. I was impressed, first of all, because no one wears anything designer here, not unless they got it at one of those faux purse parties*. This is the same city where, when I wore a DKNY logo t-shirt, someone asked me if those were my initials. I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP.

And then I wondered, considering her height and incredibly gorgeous blonde hair, if it wasn’t Paris Hilton walking into my salon. She was so tall and tanned and perfectly put together, that’ that’ suddenly Alexis Arquette popped into my head.

Apparently I am guilty of the same blindness that afflicts the rest of this area, because that just never happens around here. I, of course, was giddy. And very sad that my stylist was already blowdrying my hair, because had I just sat down for my highlights, Pseudo-Paris and I might have become fast friends by the end of our appointments. I almost wanted to lean over and say ‘What could you possibly be having done? You’re PERFECT right now.’ And then I would have asked her for make up tips.

I really need a fairy godmother, people. One who will teach me how to catwalk in high heels.


*Those faux purse parties piss me off. My own sister bought a pretty good fake LV (predictable) and didn’t say anything, just handed it to me, but as soon as I touched it, I said ‘Oh, it’s fake’ because my god, it was like digging through a clearance bin at Wal-mart. A coworker had a fake Burberry and actually tried to claim that it was real, but that one was so dismal that I could identify as fake from ten feet away. Some of these are laughable’ who do you people with the fake purses think you’re kidding, anyway? Anyone who has ever seen the real thing close up can spot a fake without even trying. I realize that some people think it’s just the name and while I’ll admit that there are people out there who care only about that, it’s not it. Usually the love of a particular designer comes from the fact that they have an aesthetic that closely matches your own. I’m the first to admit that sometimes my girl Kate Spade is on drugs. And I also wish Target had come out with their version of my Lodis wallet before I sprang for the second one, because I would have much rather paid $14.99 for it.

Counterfeit bags are tacky. You can’t justify the fake with the excuse that the real ones are too much money because that’s not true. If you can afford to spend $50-100 on a faux bag, then the smaller Kate Spade, Kors, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Coach bags are not out of the reach of your budget. If you have higher aims, buy it on sale or on clearance or go through Bag, Borrow and Steal or go to a consignment shop or TJ Maxx or the Nordstrom Rack. Your excuses don’t hold water. And if you don’t think a real designer bag is worth the money, there are purses at Target that are much better than some fake piece of crap that was sewn by a 7-year-old in China. Don’t be tacky. Don’t lie to people. Not only does it make you look like an ass, you also look like you’re so gullible that you don’t even know the difference between the real thing and some pleather piece of crap.


(I now feel the need to qualify that I do have what I call a ‘fake Burberry scarf’ that I bought off a street vendor in London, but I selected it specifically because the pattern isn’t even trying to match Burberry’s classic buff plaid. Its label says some boring name and identifies it as a cashmere/wool blend. It never tried to be anything but what it is. And I call it the ‘fake Burberry scarf’ because I don’t want anyone to think that I’m pretending otherwise. If I really wanted a Burberry scarf, I would buy one.)


With the advent of the new Sbux opening in just three weeks, my local Sbux is training all the newbies, and service has gotten pretty unpredictable recently. Unsurly Girl has already told me that she’ll be managing the new store, and I assume from the gaggle of virgin baristas that are cycling through the shifts, she’ll be taking at least some of the veterans with her. Because we’re like raccoons when a new business opens on the main drag, I doubt I’ll be able to get anywhere near the new Starbucks for the first two months after it opens, even though it is much more convenient to my morning commute. No matter what I do, I’m going to be stuck with some degree of ineptitude with my morning coffee.

Esteban’s truck is in the truck clinic, so this morning, he asked if I wouldn’t mind running through Starbucks with him and then running him back home before I headed to work. As any reader of this page knows, I’ve got a thing about being late, but since it was an hour before I had to be at my desk and he was ready to go, I agreed. In fact, we got to Starbucks before the 7:15-7:45 am rush had started, so I was very happy.

I ordered my iced Venti Vanilla Non Fat No Whip Mocha and Esteban ordered a standard Venti Mocha with no frills or high maintenance requests. There was some fumbling through the intercom and already I knew that we were in for a virgin or two, but I wasn’t prepared for the 100-yard gaze of a barista so green that she didn’t know what the hell was going on. It wasn’t even busy yet, but she was already shell-shocked, relegated to the moderate safety of the register. A BMW ordered immediately after us, which set about too many things happening at once.

We waited patiently at the drive up window and after a few minutes, she wordlessly took my Sbux card. Then she turned and verified ‘You have the grande non-fat latte and the Caffe Americano, right?’ I smiled, cheerfully said ‘Nope!’ and repeated our correct order. She disappeared. Then she came back and said ‘Uh’What did you have’iced’what was it again?’ I repeated my full order again, because experience has told me that if I don’t assert the non fat no whipped part, I’m going to get them, since they’re the default and if I get whipped cream or the whole milk, I won’t be able to breathe for most of the morning (I’m allergic to milk fat). While I’m rattling it off, she started to finish my order for me, inserting the word ‘latte’ instead of mocha.

That always pisses me off. Don’t ask for verification if you’re not going to listen to what I say, especially since you clearly need to listen a little more closely.

Eventually, with some collusion of the other newbies, she handed me my iced venti drink. I took a sip. Iced latte something with whole milk. I put it back on the shelf by the window. She came back and handed me Esteban’s hot drink and I explained that the iced drink was wrong, and repeated my order. Another barista popped up and said that my iced vanilla mocha was still coming, so clearly Shell Shocked gave out the wrong drink.

Then Esteban sipped his and tersely replied ‘Black coffee’, so I add his to the window as well. They handed over another mocha and we waited while they remade mine. Finally, a less-green barista offered a weak ‘Sorry about that’ as she handed over the iced venti.

Esteban sipped his as I pulled away, leaving the BMW to hopefully a fresh Caffe Americano and not the one that Esteban had given back after tasting.

‘Aren’t you going to check it?’ he remarked. ‘No, because if it’s not right, I’ll just make them do it again on my way back after I drop you off.’ It was ok, though, right milk, right stuff in it, so all was well, except that with all of the delays, I barely made it to my desk as the clock was flipping to 8:00 am, so I’m glad that they got it right. It’s not very realistic to get to work late due to a fucked up coffee order.

Slowly but surely, Green Bay is becoming more metropolitan. However, I am starting to suspect that I’m not going to survive the transition.

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