Bad taste in my mouthGentle readers, I have worked very hard these past few months not to lament our departure from cool urban metropolis to second-rate regional city. And I think, if I may say so, that I have done a damn fine job at NOT comparing the thin, too-sweet broth on my local thai green curry to the delectable stuff we used to get from Right Around the Corner, dammit. I've cheerfully exchanged tasty pub food for tuna melts in restaurants with un-ironic banquettes, and I have embraced the early-bird specials, the aquarium-sized cocktails, and the idea that "broiled" fish means soaked in butter. I make weekly forays to the big discount stores surrounded by parking lots, and, to be honest, we're pretty damn thrilled that there is an outlet of our favorite fast-food spot within a few blocks (there wasn't one that we found, ever, within the city limits of Cool Urban Met (the acronym's not gonna work).
This morning, still high on my determined "I'm gonna love it here" attitude, I dropped my daughter at preschool in the neighboring Soulless Suburb, and decided to treat myself to a caffeine fix at a local (not chain) coffee shop. It was supposed to be a Chai with non-fat milk. I ordered one from the nice woman at the counter, and tried not to flinch when she brought out a large tin canister with a powdery substance in it, which she proceeded to scoop into a paper cup. She added hot water. She steamed the milk. I pondered the kind of body-confidence that allows someone to select a sheer lace tank top (yes, see-thru) first thing in the morning. To go to work in. Gentle reader, I can't face my own gooseflesh first thing in the a.m., let alone imagine anyone else wanting to.
Anyway, what I got when I sipped my drink was god-awful. It tasted like liquefied pumpkin pie filling blended in cream. The texture was nauseatingly smooth and creamy. All in all, it was like drinking hair conditioner. WTF? So now I confess: I am homesick. I miss real bakery products that are not from a giant supermarket, and coffee that isn't served thick with syrup. I want a sandwich that does not involve a shaving-cream can-sized dousing of mayo. I want a used bookstore that isn't owned by a conglomerate. I want a store that has no parking lot out front. I don't want the person in front of me in the grocery line to be buying cases of sugary drinks for her kids. I want hip little Asian teenage guys in lowered cars, not wanna-be confederate rejects from the Marines in jacked up pick-ups. I've hit the geographical wall.