Monday, June 22, 2009

The Art of Importing Coffee

True Story: While walking to work, I notice a cute cop blocking the entrance to the Hoboken PATH station. We lock eyes; I blush. Gesturing to my large iced coffee*, he says, "You can't take that in there, miss." My jaw drops when I realize that no, Cute Cop is not flirting with me. The man is serious. "Are you serious?" I ask, panic rising in my voice. "You can't be serious. It's Monday. This is my morning coffee." His curt reply: "Yes. You have to toss it out."

It is then that I notice four other cops standing around, regulating coffee imports into New York. There are also about 10 pissed-off commuters sucking down their coffees. I make puppy dog eyes at the officer (I've gotten out of speeding tickets this way, surely he will make an exception for me and my beloved beverage?) He snarls, "Don't look so sad. I've been up since 3:30am..." I block him out, sip suck down my coffee and seriously consider sprinting across the street to the unguarded, unused PATH station entrance, coffee in hand. I debate running home, switching outfits and returning with coffee securely hidden in handbag, foiling their plan...

After about 10 minutes plotting an escape route, I realize that I am even later to work than normal. I toss my half empty coffee into the trash with all the other half-empty Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts cups. I snarl back, "Thanks for ruining my Monday," and take my seat on the train. It is now that I notice three people on the train with coffee. I long to shout, " HOW DID YOU GET YOUR COFFEE ON THE TRAIN?" But I don't, for fear of looking crazy. Heart racing (coffee withdrawal?), I am furious and am honestly thisclose to tears. I feel frustrated and hopeless, as if I've been stripped of my rights as an American citizen.

Oh, and the kicker? For the past year, these same cops have been periodically snooping in various carry-on bags, due to heightened PATH security. I'm not hoarding explosives in my knock-off Balenciaga, but that's cool. I get it. But you are crossing the line when you target morning coffee-drinkers. I'm not a toddler. I'm not gonna spill it all over your precious PATH train. And I am NOT giving you my hard-earned tax dollars so you can tell me otherwise.

* My coffee routine is The Highlight of my weekday. Hoboken's Empire Coffee is my personal Cheers. The lovable baristas know my name and how I take my coffee. (Maybe because I bake them cookies, but whatever.) Their coffee is also recession-friendly and happens to be the best-tasting damn coffee I've ever had.

** Yes, I am fully aware of the regulations that state "No eating and drinking on the PATH trains." But seriously? This has been a rule since 1962 and NO ONE'S ENFORCED IT! Until now.

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