As we are settling in to our life back here in the West, I’m enjoying all the little adjustments that come from having adapted to a different culture. (Yes, New England was definitely a different culture from the West!)
This morning, at O’dark Thirty, as we were getting on the road to head up North for my brother’s wedding, we stopped at a Starbucks to get Mama a coffee. Not wanting anything fancy, I ordered just a regular coffee. And then the man in the coffee shop did an amazing thing – he asked me if I would like cream and sugar in my coffee! And I smiled…and said “yes, please!”.
Now I’m sure all you Westerner’s (or as my friend Mandy would say, all ya’ll Western folk) are wondering how my sweet little brains became so muddled that I find anything astonishing in this story. So let me back up and tell you about New England.
Easterner’s, it seems, have an incomprehensible obsession with Dunkin Donuts. Now, don’t get me wrong,I like Dunkin Donuts. Their donuts and coffee are good. I just never learned to appreciate the coffee quite as much as the average Easterner. Nor have I ever understood the necessity of having multiple Dunkin Donuts on the same city block and a Dunkin Donuts in every grocery store. Anyway…
While in New England, I would occasionally get a coffee from DD. The first time I did so, I accepted my cup of coffee and turned around to look for the sugar bar. No sugar packets or creamer in sight. So, I turned back around and politely asked where the sugar and cream were. And what did I receive for my politeness? Blank stares. I’ve been told I have a western accent, but really. So I asked again. Cream? Sugar? “You mean you want some more?” Now it was my turn to stare blankly. Huh?
Turns out, in New England (or at least in Massachusetts), it’s assumed that they will cream and sugar your coffee for you, unless you specify otherwise when you order. And even though I ended up ordering coffee at DD numerous times in the last three years, I never remembered that my coffee was going to come cream and sugared until after I had already received it.
So yes, I laughed when the polite Starbucks guy asked me how many sugar packets I would like in my coffee and whether I also wanted cream. Yup, I’m back in the West.