POSTCARDS FROM A SANDY PLACE #3 – “Yes, I’d like a half-caf, skim mocha

Dear Readers of TLRG;

While I have it on good authority that TLG would never be caught dead holding an assault rifle and wearing combat boots (in other words, she told me), she would certainly have felt quite at home in our sandy place the other morning. While there are many things that make this deployment a brand new and weird experience, there are some odd things that make me flash deja vu to my days in our nation’s capital. Long lines for everything, constant delays and snarled traffic spring to mind.

Yesterday, as I hiked my less than perky behind from the sleep tent to work at the office tent, my nostrils picked up an odor that shot straight to my brain and sent synapses firing and nerves flaring. It was a wonderful scent that I had not picked up in many weeks, not since the morning I left the relative civilization of Savannah for the sandy place. It was, yes, without a doubt….. COFFEE!

Now fearless readers, I love gourmet coffee. Back home, I will walk from the office to the coffee shop ten minutes away to get Seattle’s Best rather than drink the brew offered down the hall. But here in the sandy place, I have done a very brave thing and de-caffeinated myself. Yes, I have sworn off all caffeine, be it coffee or soda. Much has to do with plumbing, both my own (bladder of a squirrel, according to my husband) and that offered in the desert (ie, none). While we don’t have to squat, my parents will attest that I am certainly not a fan of port-a-potties.

But much like Eve, lured by the fresh scent of a crisp red delicious, I too was lured by the pungent aroma of fresh brewed joe. I followed my nose around the office tents to discover that to my delight, the little coffee café trailer was finally open for business. I lined up behind the dozen or so other soldiers waiting to get in. As the line moved up and I was able to step up into the trailer, to my amazement, I was transported into another world. Yes, I was in what could have passed for a mini version of the Dupont Circle Starbucks on Connecticut Avenue. (My husband can give directions to anyone who has yet to experience that mecca of funky Woodly Park eclectic and yellow Lewinsky power ties)

While this little taste of home made me sigh with pleasure and contentment, it still was rather strange to hear the Private in front of me, with his M249 SAW (a really really big rifle) carefully tucked out of the way behind him, still smelling of gun grease and sand coming out of crevasses I don’t want to know about, order “A vente white chocolate mocha please, extra whipped cream and cinnamon” So far, one of my favorite non-sequitors of the journey.

Well, I did get my café latte, and it certainly soothed my soul for the day. For a few minutes, I was home – happy to smell the ground espresso beans, enjoy the modern art decorations, marble counters and fresh pastries.

And yes, the prices were even just like home – $3.00 for my d@#$ tall latte! I guess some things never change, even in the sandy place:pigtails:

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