I need a coffee. I ask one of the airport representatives or guest relations managers or customer care specialists or what-have-you where the nearest place for a cup is. She points to the McDonalds and I cringe. I also cringe as I type this and there is no red squiggly line under the name – McDonalds is programmed into my computer’s memory whereas snarky, dispopulate and cragmeyer elicit error messages – and yet I slide into line behind a mass of people that are channeling toward four registers and this caffeine headache, acid aching, is beginning to go whir-whir and is urging me to choose which worker I think can differentiate the buttons with a cartooned photo of a cow, a chicken, a potato, and rationalize which button produces which edible. I then
remember that I am only ordering coffee and wonder how that would be depicted and I settle on an outline of Columbia only to realize that I am giving far too much credit to the register’s operator to deduce that coffee is the blow state’s largest legal export and then wonder if it could be a button with a brown “C” and realize how easily that would be confused with Coke. I do not have a chance to conclude before the girl in the third register is yelling for “Next in line!” even though I am eight inches from her counter. I am obviously next. And yet, she looks past me, cloudy and unfocused. I order and she punches and I pay and she delivers and I sip. It tastes like beef broth.