PUBLISHED: 12:15 PM on Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Fear of coffee shops leads to misunderstanding, embarrassment

  By Amanda Gragert
I have been known to be a rather bold person. If I want something, I tend to do whatever I need to get it.

There is an exception to the rule, however.

Coffee shops.

That's right, I have a fear of coffee shops.

It seems as if there is a coffee shop on every corner. Even in the small Texas Panhandle town I came from, there were a few. I avoid them like the plague.

I would never dare to try something new for fear that I wouldn't like it or couldn't pronounce it. I just could not bring myself to ask the person behind the counter for help.

As nice as the coffee people usually are, I just feel as if they know some secret code for "coolness" that I do not possess.

I had a system worked out just fine in Texas. I knew what I liked and how to order it.

However, the balance was disrupted after my move to Juneau. One afternoon I finally made the leap. I walked in with a smile and ordered a tall caramel macchiato. I didn't order a grande because I wasn't sure how to say it. The woman looked at me with a funny expression and explained to me how she'd make what I had ordered. It didn't sound the same so we agreed that a caramel cappucino might be the way to go.

It was. It tasted just like I was used to having back home.

A sense of accomplishment came over me.

I bravely went back a few days later this time in the morning. I ordered a caramel cappacino, knowing what I was getting. All of a sudden the man making my drink asked, "Do you want this wet or dry?"

A sudden fear came over me. I didn't know the difference but I couldn't bring myself to ask in front of everyone.

I remembered the woman saying something about dry so I went with that.

"Completely dry?" he asked.

"Sure," I said, like I knew what I was talking about.

I was a little disappointed when I got my drink and found that it was mostly foam.

So I guess I have to work up the courage to ask what I'm really getting.

However, the person who writes a book explaining coffee shops, or who simply explains coffee shops to me, will be my hero.