Observations From The Crossroads of American Civilization, or The Day I Spent Three Hours at Dunkin’ Donuts

I had to get my car inspected and detailed, so the other day I brought it to a gas station near me that does both. (The inside and outside cleaning package is inexplicably called The American Idol. When the guy told me how much it would cost and I reached for my wallet, he knocked the price down $30. Either he’s a really bad negotiator or I intimidate the crap out of people without even trying. I think we all know which one it is. They don’t call me Snake Eyes around these parts for nothin’.)

I knew it would take awhile, so I brought a book, some work, and planted myself at the Dunkin’ Donuts down the street. I also brought a smoothie I’d made at home that morning. Which was, um, in a Starbucks cup. I turned the logo around and hoped for the best. I also texted everyone I know wondering if drinking from a Starbucks cup at Dunkin’ Donuts means that I’m living the American dream or that I’m a coffee shop whore. I think the consensus was mostly for the latter. Incidentally, I still don’t drink coffee. But I think I absorb enough of it through osmosis.

The morning went a little something like this:

A toothless man in a hard hat informs me that he’s getting a cup of coffee. Does he think I work here? I agree that he should. What else could I say? I tend to enthusiastically agree with people if I’m afraid they’ll keep talking to me.

I order a peach iced tea, and the girls behind the counter laugh at the fact that I came in with a Starbucks cup. How did I find the one Dunkin’ in the country with employees that would ever notice this? Also, the iced tea tastes like Strawberry Shortcake’s cat Custard. I don’t know what’s more disturbing, the fact that my drink tastes like scented plastic or that I apparently used to lick my toys.

My mom emails me that my cousin and his fiancee are considering a fog machine for their wedding. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t enjoy my marriage vows as much if I didn’t feel like I was in the middle of a Whitesnake video. What are the odds that there’ll be a foam party at the reception?

I make sure that I have everything lined up for my Tuesday night dinner that night, and ponder the fact that the dinners have been seeming more elaborate of late: basil and blood orange salad, strawberry mousse in waffle cone bowls, limoncello. Then I realize that I really only took the time to make a special salad because somebody else agreed to be grillmaster, I have endless strawberries because my friend’s kids and I picked crates of them the day before, and I didn’t exactly get the idea for limoncello from roaming the Tuscan countryside; there was an article on msn.com about fun cocktails to serve at barbecues.

Actually, after reading the article I got the idea that it would be fun to make limoncello myself, but after a few clicks on Google I learned that you let lemon rinds and vodka sit for a few weeks. So thank you, local liquor store, because when I want my alcohol I want it five minutes ago.

Anyway, this is what my morning at Dunkin’ Donuts taught me about Western culture: Everyone looks at the menu despite knowing what they want when they walk in. Men start their order with, “Uh, yeah, can I get…” and women start with, “Hi, can I have…” Iced coffee is popular (this just in!). No one ordered a donut. I predict that in the next few years, they’ll follow in the footsteps of FedEx and the Devil Rays and just become Dunkin’.

My car is fully rehabilitated. But now I kind of want a cruller.

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1 Response to “Observations From The Crossroads of American Civilization, or The Day I Spent Three Hours at Dunkin’ Donuts”


  1. 1 kate July 7, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Please weigh in: I order my ice coffee without ice because A. It’s too cold for my delicate self otherwise and B. I get more coffee that way.

    Am I the smartest person ever or the saddest? Nevermind. I know the answer.


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