The Electric Grapevine | I Smell Sex and Coffee | 11.13.09
To thwart the onset of winter borne depression I often escape town and head for the warmer, wetter climate of the west coast to take in shows and conventions. The past three trips have included stops at the epic U2 360 concert, a visit to the National Barista Championships and Coffee Expo and the far more enjoyable Taboo – Naughty But Nice Show.
The latter two provided contrasting experiences on the surface but after some thought I realized how much of ones time is spent thinking or partaking in these two vices. You have the start to your day and the end. One wakes you up and one puts you to sleep. Okay it puts men to sleep. If the average man thinks about sex every 1.5 seconds then surely the average coffee addicted man is twice that, so you can imagine what alarming percentage of my valuable mental resources these two account for.
Before entering the Vancouver Convention Centre my naivety had me expecting the scope of the Taboo Show to be on par with that of the coffee expo. Far from it, I would soon find out after being greeted by a mostly naked model. Why weren’t the coffee pitch people on to this marketing tool? I’d have bought over extracted instant Sanka from this girl. Taboo turned out to use more than twice the amount of space inside Canada Place than the national coffee show.
Much like the coffee show, I was pushed into a world of color and flavour with an alarming amount of products I simply did not know existed, and some that may have come a little too close for comfort. A guy about my age ushered me into a booth using two illuminated sex toys as if I were a taxiing plane on a foggy runway. I see the destination buddy, just stay where I can see you.
That’s not to say the coffee show didn’t have eccentric characters of its own. For the uninitiated, the Barista competition is basically like a high end dog show for coffee and if you don’t know what a Barista is close this window and head to Tim Hortons. These “baristas” come in from all over the country to compete for Canada’s top prize and a chance to represent the country in London, England next year.
Entrants go so far as to import their own beans, milk blends and garnishes in an attempt to one up each other. Their exploits are documented via headsets as they outline the flavour profiles the judges can expect to experience in real-time like some kind of caffeinated tech support operator. The same communication tool was used by a young man at Taboo as he outlined exactly how he would treat a young volunteer should they be intimate with one another despite the presence of her boyfriend only feet away.
After a brief seminar on how better to be like him I suppose, this gregarious demonstrator must have given me a false sense of pride as I came back to town and somehow managed to declare I’m a more knowledgeable man from it whilst in line at a grocery store. This pride was short lived as the next customer in line declared she teaches a course called Clitoral Revelations, which I guess is kind of like learning mini golf and telling the cashier you’re a golfer while Tiger Woods bags his Wheaties next to you.