Now here is something I do like.
You know what’s awesome? I’ll tell you what’s awesome – that delicious sludge that comes from 7-11′s push-button coffee machines! Sweet, delicious sludge… Don’t let the name fool ya, it’s not actually coffee by any means; not even close. It’s kinda brown, maybe, unless it’s tan. Or black. And there may or may not have been a bean in its past; I’m really not sure. But the one thing it does do is give you a huge buzz — caffeine, sugar, corn syrup, guarana, crack, eye of newt, powdered rhino penis, and artificial “crème” flavoring blend and conspire to get you weirded out of your gourd in three sips flat.
I first fell in love with push-button coffee in — of all places — my hometown’s city bus terminal. For a small town, Fargo was kind of ahead of its time and did this neat thing where they routed all of its city buses the FedEx way – all routes led to a main transfer hub, and therein was the World’s Best Thing Ever. A pushbutton coffee machine.
I’d kill the time between transfers with a piping hot cup of robot-made coffee. No human hands had anything ever at all to do with my brew. Back then, the choices were a bit more pedestrian – you could get your coffee black, white, or with sugar. It didn’t matter which buttons you pushed, it all tasted the same, anyway. Thing is, though, I grew to really like, and actually look forward to, the ultimate system-shock that came from gulping down a cup of that stuff.
For some reason, the cups had poker hands printed on them, and I often imagined people sitting around, sipping hand after hand. I imagined a great vending machine poker game – 5-card draw, Cherry Twizzler ante – winner gets all the Doritos. I never could convince my friends to join me in a game, but I sure as hell tried.
Robot coffee technology has changed a lot over the years – back in the day, brewed coffee, “white with sugar,” was the pinnacle of nifty. When we were young, we didn’t take our coffee with anything fancy – like milk. We also walked to school dressed in potato sacks, with Wonder Bread bags on our feet instead of rain boots. But over the years, black coffee became coffee with cream became a latte which morphed into a flavored latte and now a Cherries Jubilee Cup-o-Chino is pretty much de reguier. I’d not be surprised to walk in to a gas station someday and see White Chocolate Kiwi Mocha up on the flavor board. As much as I’d like to think that my tastes have become more sophisticated and refined, I’d still drink a cup of that shit. You know, for science!
I splurge on 7-11 schmancy coffees from time to time – and when I say splurge, I don’t mean in terms of monetary cost, because it’s pretty much pennies-per gallon for that stuff, but rather in terms of my health. I’m guessing that at best it’s akin to eating dirt over in Love Canal. It’s Salted Caramel Latte-flavored diabetes.
And when I do splurge, the stuff I get now ain’t like that old robot brew at all. But it is the exact same kind of just plain wrong, and that’s all right with me.