While I was in Seattle for Geek Girl Con, I finally went to Monorail Espresso, instead of just running past it on my way to the convention center. It was amazing, even in a city with great coffee everywhere, and the constant long lines finally make sense!
Monorail Espresso is an unassuming coffee window on Pike Street, between 5th and 6th. Even early on a Sunday morning, there were a couple of people in line ahead of me. When I got to the front of the line, ready to order my skim hazelnut cappuccino, the owner completely disarmed me by asking how my morning was going and talking about tango.
In my native Brooklyn, we snap out the order first, and the barista snaps out the total, we nod and go on our ways, mutually prioritizing efficiency. Meanwhile, when Iâ€™m in Chapel Hill, I have to brace myself for stream of inane questions and banal observations on the weather until I am begging the barista to please stop talking and start making a coffee. I don’t know what to do with human warmth AND coffee-making efficiency together.