Coffee snobery is something I never would have thought I’d suffer from, but alas it is true. The pacific NW has done a number on me. The land of Starbucks, Tullys, and the one and only Espresso Roma has shown me the light and I cannot go back. While out to dinner in Atlantic City this weekend (overpriced and gaudy, but high quality), we had the opportunity to order some drinks after the meal. “Espresso, cappuccino, coffee anyone?” asks the waiter. I thought about it for a second and wondered if it would come like everything else here: trimmed with neon lights and smelling like an ashtray. But I decided I’d give it a shot. “I’ll have a latte, thanks.” I cannot begin to explain the blankness of the waiters face. “Do I have a squirrell on my head,” I thought. “No lattes here. Only esspressos and cappuccinos.” Whatever. Then we go to a dessert place and get three course desserts. Same thing. “No lattes. Only esspresso or cappuccino.” You’ve got to be kidding. If you can make an esspresso and a cappuccino but not a latte, I don’t even want to risk it. I’ll have wudder, thanks.

I had a lab mate fill in for me while I was gone. He said he was amazed at how trained I’ve got my students. They walk in (on time) with finished lab reports in hand, ready to go. No excuses about broken printers, or sleeping late. They know I’ll have none of it. He said he asked them how I was as a TA. The unanimous decision: “He’s a hardass.” Maybe. But at least they’re learning to get work done, in proper form, and on time. And this lab mate of mine has actually beaten me. Yes, he has made a student cry already. My class average is usually at least half of his. But my little troopers have learned to grin and bear it. Maybe I am actually teaching them something while getting my kicks.

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