I’m a pretty simple guy. I don’t need much to keep me satisfied. Why does that feel like a line from a Bon Jovi song, circa mid-90s? Like many people, I like to start my day with a nice cup of coffee. Nothing unusual about this. I’m what would be described as a moderate user; one a day is generally enough to keep me going. And if the coffee shop I frequent is any indication, much of Perth is as like-minded as I am.
New coffee emporiums seem to be springing up on a weekly basis in my neck of the woods, ensuring bearded, sleeve-tattooed men and arty, misunderstood women remain gainfully employed. I like to give most of the new enterprises a go, in the name of encouraging burgeoning local business and also seeing if they cut the mustard when it comes to producing a hot beverage of quality.
I’m a Mocha drinker, which basically renders me as an imposter in the bespectacled eyes of your average coffee snob. But I stand in defense of the mocha whenever challenged. It combines two of the greatest gifts known to humanity: coffee and chocolate. Separately, they have their place but together they are positively sublime. Daryl Hall and John Oates were nothing until they combined forces and The Mocha is the beverage equivalent of this uniquely talented musical duo. Forget your long macs topped up, your chai frappuccino latte cup of wank, I am keeping it real with my coffee-going experience. You want sugar in your coffee? Why not have chocolate, which is like sugar mixed with a liberal dose of awesome.
I’m not a cafe lingerer and never have been. Nope. It’s simply a business transaction for me. I make my order, I hand over the cash and I collect my drink. That’s all I want or need from this exchange. I don’t seek conversation. That’s not say I won’t engage with my fellow man (or woman, don’t paint me that brush), I just don’t go looking for it.
The coffee shop I normally go to is frequented by many of this cities utter dicks. They go there to be seen and adored. I go there to get caffeine into my system and go about my day. There’s a guy who gets his coffee, sits down and knits. He fucking knits. Really. He’s probably, at a guess, around 30 or so. He’s got a shaved head and a couple of tattoos. He drives a Japanese sports car. He’s a dick, plain and simple. He wants people to look at him. He begs to be noticed. I’ve indulged him, as much as it pains me to admit. I can’t help it. The staff are no better. I’ve never encountered such an elitist bunch in all my life. They act as if they’re curing some rare disease just by doing their jobs. They’re brewing coffee and steaming milk. There really isn’t much more to it than that. Sorry. It’s cute that you think that there’s some artistry to what you do but I am not seeing it.
And then there’s the method in which you pay for their wares. Instead of handing the cash to another human, you’re forced to put the money into a chute that travels away to some undisclosed location. I made a major faux pas by putting my coins on the counter in front of the barista instead of using the sacred money chute, and you’d of thought I shot a newborn in the face whilst raping a kitten. The staff looked at me like I was Stalin’s ghost or something. Even Knitting Man gave me a judgmental glare, which cut deep, before returning his attention to his burgeoning masterpiece, some Cosby sweater facsimile.
This morning really boiled the blood. There I was, cash in hand and ready to make my order and comply with the whole money chute malarkey, when I noticed a vaguely familiar face before me in the line. It took a while to process the hows and where’s needed to piece together this particular mug, then it hit me: it was everyone’s favorite chair-sniffing, bra-strap pulling politician, primed for his morning ego boost and cup of joe. Apparently, the staff at this coffee-house were only too willing to oblige him on both counts. They fawned over him like a 1950s teen at a taping of the Ed Sullivan Show in which The Beatles performed, if you’ll forgive the obscure reference. Their adulation was over the top and cringeworthy. I waited semi-patiently as the owner stared at him with a starry-eyed adoration, playing the Smithers to his Mr Burns with a sickening realism. They talked of politics, and the city, and how politics could improve the city and so on and so forth until my ears seeped a clear liquid. Finally, it was my turn up at the plate and I barely received a grunt for a greeting as my order was begrudgingly taken.
Our transaction clearly complete, the owner scurried around the counter and over to the chair-sniffing People’s Champion for more banter. She asked if he wanted sugar, to which he snarled “of course!” before she grabbed the cup, opened the plastic lid and poured in a sachet of sweetener. She then replaced the lid and handed him the cup, he failed to thank her and left. My coffee was ready and practically thrust at me, almost scalding my hand as some errant drops spilled from the plastic rim.
I’m considering taking my business to a new cafe. That, or switching to a career in politics. If this place is anything to go by, they’re the new rock stars.