Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Snuffing the Rooster

About seven years ago, Boston Market closed its doors in our neighborhood and much to our extreme disappointment, the empty building sits on the Ave, slathered in graffiti, with its ever-recognizable brown/white/red Boston Market awning still affixed.

Months after the closure, Payday Loans took the space next door and then a brand-new little shack was built on the northeast corner of the parking lot which soon became "Rooster Espresso".

My husband was furious at the sight of the Rooster...of course, though, not mad enough to take any kind of stand at the Chamber of Commerce when the Rooster's zoning permit was up for approval; but angry at the gaudiness of it espresso stand? It was just what our already caffeine-addicted community needed, what with Starbucks, Seattles Best Coffee and Tully's all only within a two minute walk of the Rooster.

I sided with him at first, given that the name "Rooster" immediately conjured up David Sedaris' redneck kid brother and never thought once about stopping at the Rooster for a quick cupa. I firmly admit I'm a chain freak--always have been. So I was always quite comfortable with my Starbucks fix anyway.

We are both coffee addicts, though we hate to say so. The smell alone has a pheromone-like attraction and it's one of the first things I reach for in the morning.

When we were both self-employed, our daily routine was to walk down to one of our local coffee places (non-chain...and quite possibly the best in our town) for our morning fix. A year later, we discovered that both of us working from home was deadly: first off, we BOTH paid 30% self-employment tax and secondly, over a year's time, our morning fix cost us a whopping $1,500...not to mention our morning fix was giving us midday angst and soon we would have wound up homeless, jobless AND spouseless if we didn't do anything about it.

So we invested in an espresso machine at home...and now, the morning routine is to lie in bed and listen for the other person to finish pulling a shot in the kitchen. We can't wait until our son is old enough for barista training.

Being a mom to a toddler, I've tried almost everything except pure uppers to keep up with my son's energy levels; but by midday, I'm wiped out...feeling like I've done battle with twelve angry elves. Oftentimes, when I know I won't make it through the morning without a second latte, I stop somewhere en-route to the playground or community center so I can get another refueling. It isn't easy, though, to walk into a coffee place with a toddler in tow. Everything sweet-related is strategically-placed at tot-level and so the battle for "GIMMIE" begins the moment we set foot in the store. So naturally when another mom recommended coffee drive-thrus to me, I was all for it.

I racked my brain this morning as I pulled out of my driveway, wondering where the nearest drive thru espresso stand would be...and then it dawned on me...The Rooster!

And you know? It wasn't half bad. I mean sure, paying three bucks for a latte still stings--especially when I could easily pull another double shot at home. But there's something about holding a papercup with a plastic lid that's as comforting as the oral fixation that goes along with smoking, in addition to the social aspect of going and "getting coffee"--even if it's handed to you while you're still in your car.

We often wondered why the Rooster continued to stay in business after so many years and now I know may not be the best coffee in town; nor maybe not the first choice among pedestrians. But to exhausted women who drive multi-passenger vehicles with small children among the multi-passengers, long live the Rooster.

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