Fear and Loathing in Blue Bottle Coffee, Part I

I woke up in a heavy daze, unable to string together the whereabouts of how or when I arrived here. My surrounding looked like an Airbnb, “quaint” and “cozy” just like the four-paragraph description I remembered loosely reading. A line of coke was slithering away on the West Elm coffee table next to me, tempting me to snort the remainder of its powdered residue.

Because, really, when will an opportunity to snort blow off a fucking West Elm coffee table ever present itself again?

Empty cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, gluten-free beer, and Kombucha are passed out on the living room.

San Francisco. Now I remember.

I bust out Google Calendar, and it’s smeared in different colors like a Jackson Pollock, except it’s actually organized, distinguished by squares of wide-ranging colors with barely any empty space wedged between them.

“Coffee chats,” “1:1s,” and “sync-ups” fill it to the brim. No mercy.

What the fuck is a sync-up?

I scroll to today. “Work on Pitch Deck: 12:00pm — 3:50pm.”

I start panicking, suddenly remembering that I’m presenting the next generation of our product with my co-founder tomorrow on Sand Hill Road. We’ve been bleeding money ever since we pivoted to a free model, a rather unsurprising fact given that it’s free, and needed to raise a gigantic heap of money.

Series K, motherfucker.

If we didn’t secure this dough, everything goes to shit, just like this quaint and cozy Airbnb. There goes my 5-star rating.

I jump into my cargo pants and throw on the nearest t-shirt I could scavenge: a medium fit American Apparel cotton crew-neck signed with Dropbox’s logo. Whatever. I was too preoccupied with my throbbing headache to care.

I needed coffee, and I needed it fast. The only question that assaulted me was pour over or aeropress?

First, I had to wake up my co-founder, Dr. Ponzo. There were specks of Mescaline on his Patagonia fleece and four half-smoked joints by his drooling mouth.

God, how much did he smoke?

He’s limp as a rubber chicken, and I eventually resign in a fit of anger, putting on my Bose headphones and launching Headspace. Fuck Dr. Ponzo.

After twenty minutes of listening to the soothing voice of Andy Puddicombe telling me to listen to my body, I throw off my QuietComfort 15s and slap Dr. Ponzo in the face, a tactic I remembered from some psychology book.

Malcolm Gladwell? No, can’t be.

I brief him on the impending doom knocking on our startup’s door if we don’t finish that pitch deck. I couldn’t tell if he was laughing or crying, and it becomes obvious that the LSD I ingested last night had not yet worn off. At that moment, a three-foot shark sporting a red t-shirt waltzes into our Airbnb and drops off food. I could barely catch the insignia on its t-shirt, but with the blazing speed of which it entered and exited, it was likely DoorDash.

When did we order food?

It doesn’t matter, I couldn’t have eaten it anyway. The sheer amount of carbohydrates was enough to break me out of ketosis.

We had to hurry — only ten minutes to get to the nearest coffee shop to make our 12 o’clock. This was something that was of the utmost importance, and Dr. Ponzo should know since he’s also on the calendar invite. Plus, I needed that coffee, and at this point, I was indifferent to my pour over versus aeropress internal dialogue.

We toss on our Timbuktu messenger bags and scurry out onto Divisadero St, almost colliding with two young ladies carrying yoga mats and non-fat soy vanilla lattes.

The world is a dangerous place. Better watch your step.

As the LSD was wearing off, I managed to collect myself and pull out Yelp in search of the nearest Blue Bottle Coffee. It was our Promised Land, and we had to get there at all costs. Our reputation and Business Insider profiles were at stake.

4.5 stars. Open. Perfect. 66 Mint St.

“Dr. Ponzo, we have to hurry,” I said. “Our meeting with ourselves is in eight minutes.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he mumbled, “I got the fucking calendar invite, asshole.”

Cyclists with curly handle-bar mustaches glide past us. “Nice backpacks,” they shout.

Dr. Ponzo was stumbling around like a mad-man. Perhaps we should call an Uber, but they’re embroiled in seven hundred and forty-eight lawsuits. Have to go with Lyft. Ethics. But they’re slower. Fuck.

I call an Uber.


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