SHOT OF INK

So, I was at my Starbucks this morning, dialing myself up for an important meeting that I wanted to be energetic for. Rather than my usual fix of half regular and half decaf with three ice cubes, that I usually get, to stave off too much anxiety… I got a tall regular with a shot of espresso. They call it “a red eye” because it’s common for those that stay up late, to need that shot of speed in the morning. If I was to get two shots, instead of one, they call that “a black guy”… not sure why.

Anyway, I watched them prepare it. They got the tall size cup, they poured in the “Pike” which is the mild roast/high caffeine blend, then they take my $3 and hand the cup off to the Barrista who injects the rocket fuel; the ink of think. I watched as the black adrenalin streamed into my cup, like licorice string. But  there was a second stream dripping out of the espresso machine, just behind the one filling my cup.

After, the mocha momma handed me my “red eye” I asked, “did that machine shoot out two streams of espresso?” She explained that when the machine is set for two shots instead of one, the quality of the shot/espresso is better than if it was set for just one shot; something about the pressure required to shoot it out I suppose. So I continued my stupefied interrogation… “…so, one stream went into my cup… but what happened to the second stream?” She made the thumbs down gesture with her hand and said, ” it went down the drain.”

I was so confused. I didn’t know if I was just gifted with some world class consideration or I just paid $3 for something that they are willing to pour down the drain. I think I should have at least been invited to accept the second shot for free, rather than it going down the drain.

And for that matter, I wonder if next time, when I want to order “a black guy”, if I should just  pay for the “red eye” and negotiate to get the second shot for free. But then, I’d have to wonder if the anxiety from all that extra caffeine is worth the discount.

Such a weird feeling. It’s like going to a hotel and arriving late at night and knowing that the hotel rooms will remain unfilled throughout the remainder of the night because it’s so late. But the person behind the desk wants me to pay for my hotel room. But shouldn’t they give it to me for free, since that room was going to go unfilled had I not checked in?

Furthermore, I walked across the stage a few months ago, as I received my late-in-life Masters Degree diploma for creative writing. They had a photographer there taking pictures of all the graduates. Recently, I got an email from that photographer offering to sell me the pictures he took of me during the graduation. So I asked him what would happen to my pictures if I didn’t buy them? Was he going to sell them to someone else? A flush fan perhaps?

But no, he said he would throw them out. Which made me feel like I shouldn’t pay him in the first place for something he was not only planning to throw out, but admitted he was. Is it me? Or does this make total sense to someone else?

I wonder what else there is in the world, that would get thrown out with zero value, had we not purchased it? I guess it’s all about perceived comparable value… at a specific moment, purchased with urgency. Without that, we’d all wonder whether anything was worth the price we were being charged.

One time, a long time ago, someone was trying to sell me direct mail services. She wanted so much money for some words on a page; as if they were magic words somehow. And that’s when she gave me the greatest sales pitch I’ve ever received. She said, “what’s the difference between Monopoly money and real money? They’re both ink on paper, right? So they should be equal shouldn’t they?”

Ink on paper. It’s just ink on paper, right?

One thought on “SHOT OF INK

  1. nice. provocative too. there’s a line i especially like: “… at a specific moment, purchased with urgency.” it’s very telling that line is. it forces one to think about th moment, and th urgency with which we often seize them. th wording you’ve used, makes th entire act seem grande. thanks for sharing. peace!

G'head. Say it.

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