I also feel, and I think with some reason, that after one's first day of work, when asked how it went, one really shouldn't be in the position to say, "Well, everything was pretty much fine except for the foam in my pants." Nor should one find oneself trying to very subtly hint that perhaps capuccino shouldn't be served until a priest visits, to cleanse the "you know, bad juju from the burnt coffee."
But honestly, I am telling you, that I have never found myself pitted against a more worthy advisary than I was today. Me and the capuccino maker, staring each other down, eye to nozzle. I pressed the button, and put the cup beneath the dispenser, and it -- craftily -- waited until I became impatient and moved the cup to send forth a pulse of scalding espresso. Maimed by the hot liquid, I bit back my shriek, and shot the perplexed, bored, and vaguely concerned customer a tight smile as patently fake as Milli & Vanilli's singing.
"Just a minute," I said, and threw myself back into the fray. Which, I would like to add I felt was a very courageous thing for me to have done, seeing as how I had already been injured in the fight. (Remember, though, I am intrepid.) This time, I was on to the machine, and managed to finagle the espresso out.
Victory, I truly believed, was mine. That's why I think it's safe to say that in the context of this story, I am a classical tragic hero, and my hamartia is my hubristic pride. Because I believed the espresso was the real uphill battle; I believed the espresso was my Gettysburg, my D-Day, my Battle of Bunker Hill.
In reality, though, the espresso was nothing more than the Battle of Glorietta Pass, and I surged onward, blithely unaware that the foam was to be my Waterloo, if you'll allow me to continue mixing my metaphors with the wanton panache I am prone to use.
Lulled into a false sense of security, I never saw the foam coming, but lo -- through the nozzle and out of the cup, and onto my pants it leapt! Hot milk flew everywhere, into my hair, my face -- momentarily blinding me as it hit my eyes. I thought that perhaps I would be disfigured for life, but I did not drop the cup.
Instead, I turned to the customer, and said, calmly, "I'm sorry. The machine seems to be broken. Would you like just the espresso?" and offered him the cup as hot milk dripped down my neck, and my pant leg.
Naturally, he declined.
That machine, I tell you truly, is cursed. Or, it's waging a jihad of some kind against me. Either way, I have looked into the face of my enemy, and it has shown no fear.
During the quiet hours of the early afternoon, I approached the Diabolical Machine again, this time with the proper respect. Twenty cups of half heated foam and espresso (or not) later, I managed a pretty creditable foam, and I have never been prouder of myself. I felt like an alchemist! I felt like I had rendered iron into gold! I turned milk into foam, real foam, and I even managed to get it into the cup. Genius is clearly the only way to describe that accomplishment.
Now, granted. I have yet to duplicate that when, oh, say, a paying customer was waiting patiently beside the cash register, but it was only my first day.
Lastly, I'd like to say the following things, just for the benefit of the advertisors out there who are clearly confused on the following points:
1. A vagina is not a flower. I like Georgia O'Keefe, too, but please, get over it.
2. A man's facial razor is not a car. Sure, you want to make it masculine, but let's stop being ridiculous, shall we? A close shave isn't going to turn anyone into a qualified street racer. Honest.