I treat grading like a trip to the gynecologist. Both are so traumatizing that I feel the need to reward myself with food.
Today I'm taking my next batch of freshman composition essays to Brews Bros. on Sprague Avenue. I've never been there, so I'm taking a risk by lugging all my things across town without knowing I'll actually want to sit down once I get there. But if it is somehow too appalling to patronize, I'm sure I can just walk a block over and find another option.
The first thing I notice are the pretty flowers growing in front of the house next to our apartment building.
I walk down Riverside, because it has some good architecture. Across from the post office, a retro clock tells me what time is it. Thanks, retro clock, for reminding me that I've wasted my morning on the internet.
I pass by the Peacock Room, which I hear has the best martinis in town. I consider stopping in for a birthday drink next week, as I will have been paid by then! Two more days!
Down one more block, I find Brew's Bros. and wonder what's with all the people lurking outside. I think maybe it's a protest and I'll have to try to squeeze my way through the crowd just for a cup of coffee. I think maybe I just won't cross the street, I'll keep walking.
Then I think, maybe it's just really busy. Maybe there is a line going out the door and coffee-drinkers are spilling out onto the sidewalk. I consider moving on. Then I see the buses, and realize I'm right next to the Spokane Transit Authority.
I cross the street and do that creepy window-peeker thing, when I try to see the inside of a place without actually going in. That way, if it's terrible, I don't have to walk out without buying anything. By lingering outside and pre-approving the place, I can avoid that awkward moment when the person at the counter sees me come in and then watches me slowly back out. I don't have to pretend that I walked in the wrong building, or that, looking at my watch, I've suddenly realized need to be somewhere.
It looks bright and friendly, so I go in (through the door).
The girl at the counter is really nice and seems to know everyone that comes in. "Oh hey Stan! Double espresso?" Yup, double espresso. "Mike! Here for a cookie?" He takes the no-bake. A couple people playing scrabble near the window even ask her if she wants to meet their mom. "I already know Mom," she sings from behind the counter.
I order a pumpkin struesel muffin and an iced coffee. Both are delicious, and the yellow walls make me happy. This will be a good grading spot--if I ever get to it. At the moment, I've been here for an hour and the essays haven't even left my backpack.
I have a nice window seat, but the sun is trying to melt me through the glass:
Time to move. Maybe the next table will be more conducive to grading. Ooh, Joe just rode up! He's got 15 minutes to visit before going to a two-hour orientation and a five-hour night class.