Monday, February 28, 2011

You Know You've Left the USA

I stayed in bed a bit longer than I should have, but I had promised a friend that I would walk her daughter to the school bus. Running late, I got myself dressed, re-tucked Jolie into the still-warm bed, and made a cup of coffee to go.

As I entered my friend’s home instead of the usual greeting of kisses and bonjour I got, “What’s that? You say that’s your coffee? Must be American coffee. Oh it’s still warm! Well, I would have made you a coffee if you wanted.”

My little friend and I got to the bus stop and as soon as we sat down she said I should drink my coffee.  And, well, could she have a sip? She didn’t like the taste, but was mesmerized that it was still warm and that the lid had a hole that could be openned and closed. She even tipped it to see if the liquid really would stay in this strange contraption.

As other parents came along there were lots of questions to be answered. “Was that coffee? Was it still hot?” So I had to explain to everyone what travel mugs were.  And how they allow you to drink the coffee in a car. “A car, but it would spill everywhere!” Well, no, cars in the States have cup holders. “Cup holders?”  They are exactly the size of drinks that contain sugar and/or caffeine.  Cars have lots of cup holders, actually one for every seat. Because yes, even children drink in the car-- not hot things, but always something. I could just see them picturing roly-poly little American children with travel mugs full of soda pop and goodness knows what else.
A little plug for a station that I miss a lot!

I’ve told you this before, but I bet you didn’t really believe me. One does not eat or drink on the streets unless seated at a café.  I have to confess that after the first few stares I became quite self-conscious of that mug in my hand. I didn’t finish my coffee until I got back home and could sit down at the breakfast table with a warm croissant I picked up on the way. I even felt a little guilty that the coffee was still somewhat warm.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.

You know you have left the U S of A when a travel mug is the center of attention.


Elizabeth Allen said...

What a hoot!

La Vida Artesania said...

Hi Susan, we recently got a new Toyota Yaris diesel (made in France, 50mpg in city) and it has 6 cup holders but four are in the doors and are more for a can of soda. One is a proper big holder and one is convertible: ash tray or cup holder or just a tray. We've taken to the small doses of really strong Spanish coffee so never have any left to take out.
Do you have an internet connection? We listen every day to Podcasts of All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation and Fresh Air.