Sweet Carolina, Part I

First off, know that I hate coffee.

What’s more, I hate what coffee shops have done to coffee. Say what you will about the stuff, at least coffee has character. A bitter, nasty character, yes. But character nonetheless—character that gets emasculated when it’s turned into some frothy mocha half-caf monstrosity designed to be sucked down by wanna-be writers and real estate agents. I don’t like coffee, but I pity it for what coffee shops have made of it.

So, you ask, if I hate coffee so much, and hate what it’s become even more, why am I waiting in line in a coffee shop, $3.15 in hand for a piccolo-sized Mochatatic Blast? The answer is separated from me by two customers and a register and, I suspect, entire genres of popular music. Her name is Carolina, she’s the coffee barrista, and she hasn’t the slightest idea that she’s the reason I suck down overpriced, humiliated bean water three times a day.

Let me tell you about the first time I saw her, and how this madness all began…

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