In New York currently. I myself am a ‘Californian’. Went to Dunkin’ Donuts this morning. I walked in and looked at the menu, researching my order options, but the lady kindly asked, ‘What do you want?’ before I really had a chance to decide.
I stepped up to the counter, petrified, and blurted out a word that didn’t exist. She raised an eyebrow, chewed her gum, then said, ‘What?’
So I just ordered a medium cup of coffee. ‘What kind?’ she said. I started responding, ‘Mocha…’ but her eyebrow raised even higher, so I just finished with ‘regular.’
‘Mocha regular?’ She said, as the other employees all snickered and pointed at me.
‘No, just a regular, please.’ I said.
‘Whatever. Anything else?’
‘No, that’s it.’ Said I.
‘That’s it?’ she said, gum clicking loudly.
‘I guess I’ll get a bagel with egg, cheese, and sausage as well.’
‘What kinda bagel?’ she said, tossing her head side to side with a hand on her hip and foot tapping the floor.
‘Ugh… uh.. umm…. regular.’
‘Yeah. Get me one of those regular bagels.’
Her and the employees laughed some more, but eventually I had my coffee and sandwich. No sugar, and there was no barista stand, but I was too afraid to ask. As I walked out I heard them call me an idiot but then tell me to come again soon.
I said I wouldn’t, but they all raised an eyebrow at me and chewed their gum extra assertively. So then I said I’ll be back tomorrow, so now I have to go.
On my walk to my car, I tried to make it up in my mind that New York was not an unfriendly place, it was just a different culture that took some getting accustomed to. Then a bird crapped on my arm.