I was in Detroit recently. I had to walk from the Holiday Inn to Cobo (a description of the hotel: One elevator smelled like fish; the other contained a broken Miller High Life bottle. The swimming pool looked like several bathtubs welded together. When I looked out the window, I saw two abandoned 10-story buildings. There was a warning by the TV that said “Do not answer the door, even if they claim to be from housekeeping. Call the front desk immediately”). Since I’ve recently taken up coffee-drinking, I thought this would be a good opportunity to expand my horizons beyond the local gas station’s selection of Chock Full O Nuts brand java.
Right across the street, on the ground floor of the Westin, was WBC Coffee. Once I managed to cross the street (because of the non-existent traffic), I noticed that there is not a front door. So I walked toward Cobo.
Right across the street from Cobo was The Bean Bar. There was no line, no one was sitting at a table. The only person in there was the older woman at the register. Here was my conversation:
Clerk: Can I help you?
Me: Yeah. Can I get a large hot coffee?
Clerk: Did you say large “hot” coffee?
Me, confused: “Yes?”
Clerk, visibly upset: “OK. Just checking.” She then tried three different carafes and they were all empty. So she started making a new pot.
Since I like milk in my coffee, I said, “Since we’re waiting, can you put like an inch of milk in the bottom of the cup?”
Clerk, visibly upset: “Yep.” She then poured the equivalent of a wet sneeze into the bottom of the cup. Then, trying to fill the silence of waiting for a brew, she said, “You know, my father wouldn’t take a cup of coffee unless it was stirred with Pet Milk.”
Me, obviously confused: “Pet milk”?
Clerk, obviously confused at my obvious confusion: Yeah. Pet Milk.
Me: Like milk from a dog?!
Clerk, audibly upset: Did you grow up in Michigan!?
Me: Yeah, up by Flint.
Clerk: “It doesn’t matter – Flint, U.P. – you should know about Pet Milk!”
There was a dull silence. I asked for a little more milk.
It was the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.