Sunday, December 23, 2012

Coffee, With a Side of Perky

So, Mom and I are talking yesterday.  Chit chat, catch-up, nothing big, when suddenly she bursts out laughing.  For a few seconds there she can't stop long enough to tell me what's so funny.  Finally, still breathless, she asks me if I've seen the television commercial about the woman buying her kid a big doll house.  I guffaw.  "The one with the too-perky sales person?"  And we're off, both of us howling, stomachs aching, tears streaming.  I manage to gasp out, "Redwoods, the drive-thru coffee place..." 

Here, let me explain...
A few years ago, when Alan and I first came to America, we stayed at my mother's house for a bit.  One day, we decided to take a road trip, so the three of us piled into the car and drove south to the Redwoods, a place I wanted Alan to see.  It was a beautiful drive, not even two hours from Mom's, through ancient forests and winding mountain roads.  We do the northern section of the Redwoods--it would take more time and involve hiking to see the whole park, something Mom can't do.  In the afternoon, before heading back, we stop in this small town on the California coast to have lunch.  Can't decide where to eat, so I suggest we get some coffee, and we can ask a local where a good place might be.
We pull up to the little drive-thru coffee kiosk and before I've even started to lower my window, this girl bounces forward--literally--and chirps out the most manically cheerful "Hello!!!!!!  What wonderful drink can I get for you today?" that I've ever heard.  It's so over the top, I'm startled for a moment, completely taken aback.
I'm driving, Mom's in the passenger seat, Alan's in the back.  I turn to Mom with a look of horror on my face.  She takes one look at me and bites her lip to keep from laughing.  I try to act like an adult, but it's hard.  Remaining calm, I ask what she and Alan want, then tell the girl, who exuberantly says, "Excellent choices!!!!!!!" and again bounces to the coffee machine like she's got tennis balls glued to her feet.
"Oh god," I mutter to Mom.  She starts to laugh.  I tell her to stop because I'm hanging by a thread.  Right then the girl comes to the window and tries to talk us into having "Yummy whipped cream" on our coffees.  I tell her no thanks.  She does this pout thing that makes my mother snort, and again tries to sell the whipped cream.  Jokingly, I say, "Do you get a commission on the whipped cream?"  Blankly, she looks at me.  Mom is eating the sleeve on her sweater, and I'm trying, so, so hard, to be nice.
I tell her to please forget the extras, we just want coffee because we're going to lunch, then take the segue by asking if she knows a good place to eat.  A very, very big mistake.  Miss Perky totally forgets our coffees, and proceeds to give us a complete menu rundown on each and every restaurant, bar and fast food joint in town.  Thank all the gods in this world and the next it was a small town.  She bounced, she giggled, she dithered, she wandered, and I'm sure there were at least two more blank moments.  At one point I mumbled under my breath that I wanted whatever drugs she was having.

At long last, unable to stand it, I (politely) interrupt, remind her about our drinks, then as I'm pulling away, she shouts after us, "Have a super wonderful day!!!!!!"  When I get onto the highway, Mom commends me for not leaping through the window and strangling the girl, knowing my threshold is extremely low for mindless perkiness.  As we drive away, I start talking all chirpy and goofy, then reiterate that I really should have ordered whatever kind of coffee the employees drink because no one is naturally that cheery.  The three of us lose it at this point and I have to pull the car to the side of the road because I can't see to drive from laughing.
So yesterday...

In the commercial, as the woman leaves with her Christmas doll house, the clerk bounces behind the counter and says soooo cheerfully, "Have a super sparkly day!!!!!!!!!!"  I tell Mom it has to be the coffee girl's sister.  We crack up again.  It was the best laugh I've had in ages.  Mom said every time she sees the ad, she thinks about that road trip.

As we finished our phone call, Mom and I tried to beat each other to the punch, but ended up saying it at the same time.   We were both laughing as we hung up, "Have a super sparkly day!!!!!" echoing in our heads.  

I think it's just become the new goodbye.

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