There are certain things in life one should know. Like, where do babies come from and when does the 25 mph sign REALLY mean 25? (Millican road, Waterville, Oregon! Take my word for it! Just do!)

coffee and empanadas

Latte and empanada. Duh.

But there are also useful facts that you may not be aware of such as just how much liquid can those cool molded cup and change holders in a Toyota Rav 4 really hold? Are they waterproof? Could you keep a goldfish in one? Or are they like an iPhone in a cheap Otter-knockoff case…they APPEAR to be water resistant but if one were to really put it to the test you’d have to tow the car into a pit full of rice and leave it there for 24 -36 hours and hope it all dries out and will live to see another Starbucks drive thru someday?

i didn’t set out to test these marvels of engineering when i stopped by the Mexican coffee shop in sunny east San Jose (lattes and empanadas!! Is this heaven? Why have i not put these two things together before now? It’s like Sonny and Cher or Captain and Tennille! Before the divorces when it was still all I Got U Babe and Muskrat Love..) i ordered my favorite vanilla almond milk latte in my very best Spanglish  (it’s a lactard thing! Not a philosophical choice..although i love cows. i do! Have you ever fed a cow an apple? Their tongues are like’s weird. i thought they would be softer, like a dog’s. And yes, i kiss my dog. Don’t judge!) and hit the road in my beloved Toyota.

And then…i don’t know what happened. Two days later and i’m still not sure i could recreate the happy catastrophe, or HapCap as i like to call them (cuz i’m COOL like that) but somehow when i picked up the cup it just flipped out of my grip. Kinda like Greg Louganis back in the day when he was still an awesome super-hero Olympic medal diver and not the “Greg Louganis…isn’t he gay?” guy. (DUDES! Get over it! That guy could DIVE! Maybe it was because he WAS gay… Like he had some kinda gay magic power that turned him into a magnificent Olympian, gracefully soaring through the sky, turning this way and that, and swan-diving almost silently through the surface of the water with nary a splash. The guy was unbelievable.) Well my almost-full medium vanilla almond milk latte did just that. One minute i had a grip on it, and the was gone…soaring through the air and gracefully flipping a 180 and landing perfectly in the molded plastic change container of my beloved Toyota Rav 4. Upside down.

Well..what do i do now? The lid is still in my hand. Yet the cup…it is not. i chance a look down to see what happened (i am on a freeway by now..a SAN JOSE freeway. 55 mph it is not..) i can see that damn cup, butt side up, staring at me from the change container. There were some splashes of coffee on the steering wheel, console, me…but it didn’t look too bad. Where did all that coffee go?

i reached down to pick up the cup and as i dislodged it from the molded plastic hole, i realized to my horror that the entire contents had been emptied into the hole where once i kept my change. (and by “change”, i mean emergency Starbucks fund) OMG! There is NO way sticky sweet latte love is good for the inner workings of a Toyota Rav 4! As soon as this stuff seeps into whatever is under this molded plastic (the seat mechanisms? The engine? A hamster in a wheel?) something very BAD is going to happen, i just know it. i panic. i am on a Bay Area interstate going 65 (ok, ok! 70! Don’t judge!) and there is nowhere i can pull over.

Then i look again. And i realize that the level of latte in that 4 inch deep well is not going down. It’s just sitting there, quietly steaming and jiggling with the bouncing of the car. It’s NOT seeping in….that dang change container is waterproof! Which leads immediately to the next logical conclusion..if the latte isn’t going anywhere, i could still DRINK it. All i need is some way to scoop it out and get it to my mouth. While driving 70. (ok, ok! 75! And c’mon..i know i’m not the only one who thought it!)

So i proceeded to chew on that to-go paper coffee cup until i whittled it down to about 3 inches tall…just small enough to use as a ladle. Then, one handed and with one eye on the road, i scooped up the latte, held it over (kind of) the well while it dripped, then quickly brought it to my mouth and slurped it down. i did that again and again until i had drank as much of the sweet, quickly-cooling elixir of life as i could. By then, i had arrived at the condo (oh yeah…did i say that i was on my way home? Looking back, i guess i could have just waited until i was home to clean it up but….it was a vanilla LATTE! K? ‘nuf said. ) i unloaded Annie, (oh yeah. i had a witness. But she’s my dog and she’s not talking) and as sticky as Winnie the Pooh raiding a honeycomb, i went into the house.

It took several towels, a lot of soap and a little “F” bomb-interspersed prayer followed by a long hot shower until both my beloved Rav 4 and me were latte free. Maybe i should think twice about buying coffee on the run and drinking it in the car.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! ohhh…that’s funny…..


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