A lot to laugh about

The children woke us up about 7 this morning, by playing with our faces. I vaguely recall hearing them checking whether the sun had come up yet or not, so they knew when to rouse us. We had a car, and we had no plans, so I suggested we head to Leavenworth. With admirable alacrity, we were up, dressed, and out of the house by 8, and heading to the highway.

On the way there, just slightly too late, my wife asked me to pull in to get coffee at Herkimer, but I reacted too slowly (hadn’t had any coffee yet) so we didn’t go there. She still wanted caffeine and wouldn’t do Starbucks, so at Monroe (about halfway to Leavenworth) we pulled over and went to XO Espresso.

There are a lot of places like this in Washington – basically a garden shed in a parking lot, with a barista inside making coffee to people as they drive up. This one was painted bright pink and had ‘FAMILY FRIENDLY’ in a big banner; we drove up behind a couple of pickups and prepared to get coffee.

I was a bit nonplussed when we got to the window of the shed, and discovered that our barista was wearing:

  • two Xs of black tape, one over each nipple
  • some lace panties that had slightly more coverage than if she’d been wearing dental floss
  • lots of tattoos

and nothing else. (Well, I couldn’t see what shoes she had on, but in any workplace you should have OSHA-compliant footwear). What’s the polite thing to do in a situation like this, when you have two small kids in the back, your wife next to you and a buxom barista baring pretty much all to you?

Well, I ordered two lattes, made small talk about the snow in Leavenworth, paid, and we drove off with two surprisingly good coffees, while both my wife and I cracked up. Later research shows this has been a thing for a while (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/just-because-i-work-here-doesnt-mean-i-dont-respect-myself/389760/ ) but it’s odd – you’d expect the coffee would be terrible, because if you’re going to a bikini (or less) barista for the boobage, the quality of the coffee doesn’t matter, and if you are going for the quality of the coffee, nobody will believe you because they’ll suspect it’s the other reason you’re going there. But apparently it’s a going concern, and it’s convenient if you’re on your way to Leavenworth. Doesn’t show up in the tourism board brochure though…

We drove on, and it was still about 70 miles to Leavenworth, including going over Stevens Pass. There are big signs warning you to put chains on your tires as you approach, and although it’s beautifully picturesque, I could see myself in terrible trouble. But at the top of the pass we stopped, as the girls were excited to see snow.

La Serpiente ran up to a big bank of snow, and looked incredibly happy – and then fell over, and all we saw of her was her legs and feet protruding from the snow, so we laughed and laughed until she crawled out again, crying that she hated snow. So that was two ludicrous experiences in one day, and we hadn’t even reached midday yet.

We got the Leavenworth, fed the kids waffles and pretzels and we drank very strong cider and bought some Christmas presents. Leavenworth is this odd little town in Washington that decided to rebrand itself as a patch of Bavaria about 50 years ago, and it’s very Christmassy – we stayed for the switching-on-the-lights ceremony, which was at 4:45, and then drove back, and I realised after 10 miles that was a bad idea, because by then I was exhausted and the car itself was telling me I needed to rest, but there was nowhere safe to stop for 30 miles. So that would have been a less than funny end to the day, except a double shot of espresso and a sandwich works wonders.

On the way back, we saw XO Espresso was still open at 8pm. So I guess there’s a lot of business there. Back to work tomorrow – how can that compare to today’s strangeness?

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