October 2004


Cafe Latte

Yesterday I didn’t go to the office because the friendly folks at the water company wanted to come and read my meters — and typical of German efficiency, they told me what time they were coming rather than asking me what time might actually be best for me.

Since going to the office wasn’t a reasonable idea, I took the oportunity to go down to my favorite cafe in town where I ate lunch, and then, since I had some time before I was to meet a friend from the office, a cafe latte for dessert.

The waitress, who was talking to me in English, asked if I would like a small or a large coffee, and I ordered a large one. I thought to myself that surely a large cafe latte in Germany would be roughly the size of a medium coffee drink in the United States.

Wrong I was.

She dropped a soup bowl off on my table and scurried away before I realized what was on the table — this was not a large cup of coffee, this was an enormous tureen of coffee.

I bravely drank the coffee, somewhat more speedily than I would normally consume a gallon of coffee because I only had 45 minutes before the appointed meeting time.

The only significant consequences of this coffee tureen was an increased number of visits to the loo over the course of the afternoon and evening, and, unfortunately, problems falling asleep. I was going to get up and watch the debate, but since I had just fallen asleep, I turned off the alarm and slept in.

I’ve learned my lesson. From here on out, it’s small coffees.

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