I had just finished sharing on a friend’s Facebook post how easy it is to make a smoothie, and I momentarily freaked out. My inner New Englander just smacked me upside the head and demanded to know what the hell I was doing sharing smoothie secrets, when four years ago I didn’t even know they existed.
I moved out here to the East Bay with my husband in 2011. We were three days into wedded bliss, I was 36, and I had no idea what I was in for. Let us breeze past the paralyzing depression I entered after realizing I just moved to a place that I wasn’t familiar with, that had wildly different social norms than the ones I grew up with, and where I knew absolutely NOBODY. That’s a blog for another time. Right now, let’s talk culture clash.
First up (others will be examined in future posts), where are the Dunkin’s? It took three days for me to realize there are none out here. None. Not one. Zero. Every five feet that I walk around here I could trip and fall on a Starbucks, and because of that, I’m guaren-freakin’-teed to find a Peet’s on the opposite street corner, but there are no Dunkin Donuts to be found. After that shock had faded, I thought, That’s fine, I brought $150 worth of gift cards with me (I’m a teacher, and god bless the parents who know what keeps us motivated. Kids? Nah. Caffeine!), so I’ll just order online– NO!! Oh, god, no! What kind of godforsaken land have we moved to where Dunkin’s doesn’t even deliver to California because of some freaking disagreement between the company and the state about their food processing? For god’s sake, I want my DD’s french vanilla coffee!!
I’m not ashamed to admit, my mother smuggles in my DD fix in the form of K-cups when she and my Dad visit, and thankfully the first Dunkins in the Bay Area will open this year, or so I’ve heard. I’ll be their best damned customer ever. Until then….
A small aside: I’m a recovering Catholic. I was brought up in the faith, got as far as Confirmation, and once I was old enough to understand how much of that faith was based on dogma and a patriarchy stretching back thousands of years? I have my own belief system now, and it works just fine for me. However, I do need to honestly fall on bended knee and confess this one massive sin:
I like Starbucks.
Forgive me, it’s true. My fall down this dark hole of frothy, syrupy seduction began with a newfound addiction to Target. My daughter was born, my need of stuff, things, and sundry grew, and the Powers that Be built a Target two minutes from our home, and within that big, beautiful red dot of a store lies a Starbucks. I’ve been a preschool teacher here long enough that I’ve received roughly $30 worth of gift cards for their brand of liquid crack, so I caved. I caved hard. Like a smoke after dinner, I need a medium (yeah, screw you, I will not ever use faux Italian to order a select size of hot beverage, unless I am actually in Italy) caramel macchiato to begin my each trip’s Target shopping experience. With every cardboard-cozied cup of Eden I fall deeper and deeper into West Coast assimilation.
First it was Starbucks, then it was smoothies. If you ever see me eating an avocado and it’s not a smudge of guac I failed to completely scrape off my nacho or burrito plate? Feel free to smack me upside the head. I deserve it.