NAUGHTY ESPRESSO ROAD TRIP
Spanaway, Washington "Bikinis," my food-writer friend Candace says. "They serve coffee in bikinis."
Much hysteria ensued. I'm not really sure why, since we live in the homeland of Hooters. But drive-thru cleavage and a cuppa is inherently more funny than hot pants and hamburgers... Plus, we saw a sheriff's car squirreling around one stand.
And, well, Spanaway needs all the joy and joe possible; anything, really, to relieve the pawn shops, payday loan centers, nail parlors and fast-food joints along the Pacific Highway. A US Army and Air Force recruiter stands beside Kolby's Donut House and a sign pimping $12-per-hour jobs. Welcome to the mobius mallstrip of exurban America. Please check your Kerouac at the on-ramp.
We scout three stands: a Chick-a-Latte and two Bikini Bottoms. At the latter, Brittany brews the worst Americano ever. Somehow, she's reliquified the crust from a 50-year-old diner percolator.
For the first time in my life, I throw away coffee untouched. This from a woman who slams vile Nescafe crystals on remote field assignments...
But Chick-a-Latte is not about caffeine, gourmet or otherwise, I realize. Blonde and beaming, Brittany thanks us for "being so interested and cool. A lot of ladies get angry at us."
Around her age, I was a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA. I ran around in Lycra all summer and mocked the rare dad drooling in the bleachers.
Does context make my suit clean and hers sleazy? I can't quite grasp that Moral Majority math...
I know only this: I forgive the (largely) male clientele for percolating fantasies. But Brittany, honey, please; no child drowned on my watch. And you, in turn, should learn not to brew swill. Because, to paraphrase Marilyn the ultimate dreampuff:
Time rolls on,
And youth is gone,
And you can't straighten up when you bend.
But stiff back
Or stiff knees,
You stand straight at Tully's.