It was the illustrious local musician (and fellow Frederick News-Post employee) Katie Powderly who once sang, “We drink iced coffee in the street.”
Yeah, well, not me.
That is, until I took a stroll down Carroll Creek to check out the latest installment of Tuesdays at the Trellis ... on Wednesday.
Now, hold on. Before you go all, “these people don’t know what they’re talking about,” you should know that this was the last Wednesday installment of the event, according to Cecylia Morrison, promotion and events manager for the Downtown Frederick Partnership.
The hope is to begin what will be known as “Tuesdays at the Trellis” in earnest next week. The timing of the gathering week-to-week is still being worked out. It might run from 1:30 to 3 p.m. like it was on Wednesday. It could also move from 2 to 4 p.m. or even 3 to 5 p.m., Morrison said.
In other words, it’s a work in progress. Yet even without the particulars set in stone, the cause is certainly noble.
“We want to provide a single, easy place for people to interact,” Cecylia said. “And we want to provide people somewhere to sit, hang out and connect.”
The “we” in that equation is the Downtown Frederick Partnership, and they did just that on Wednesday for anyone who stopped by. Games were set up. Music played from speakers. Tables and chairs were available for people to sit down and talk.
And, of course, coffee was offered to anyone who wanted it.
This was particularly noteworthy to me because I had never tasted coffee in my life. That changed when I walked up to the table central to the event and Danielle Doll, associate director of the partnership, offered me a coffee. She then asked me if I wanted ice. Considering the heat, my clothes and my lack of fitness, I obliged, hoping to cool down.
Yet while it definitely helped me cool down, my first-ever cup of Joe also made me feel ... strange? Giddy? Drunk? Shaky? Nauseated? You could use any of those words and you wouldn’t be wrong.
At one point, while catching up with Keith Marcoux and Nick Wilson, co-owners of Olde Mother Brewing, I placed my cup of coffee on a nearby table, where my friend Shelley, who also works at the brewery, was sitting. And while I’m not 100 percent sure she couldn’t see my heart pounding frantically out of my chest and through my shirt, she had the most reasonable response possible when I went to grab the cup to polish off the drink.
She slapped my hand.
Ignoring her accidental advice, I eventually got hold of the coffee and downed the rest of it. The problem? While I was there, the effect of the hard stuff left me even more insecure than usual, deeming my already bad social skills nearly impossible to overcome.
The mayor was there, but I wasn’t sure if he would be able to see through my life-changing first-coffee experience, so I kept my distance.
The great Greg Davis, who works as the technical manager at the Weinberg Center, stopped by, and as he approached me to say hello, my mind couldn’t process what was going on and I wound up getting lost in the space between hugging him and giving him a handshake before he ultimately ran for the hills.
There was a fancy real estate guy in attendance, to whom Keith offered to introduce me, but it felt so weird that all I could muster to Keith was some form of “wow, he has great hair.”
To each of them, I noted how I had never sipped coffee before, hoping to justify the oddness of my demeanor, and because I have yet to find a person in this universe who can accurately decipher when I’m joking and when I’m telling the truth, they all offered some form of “Yeah, right.”
But it was the truth. Despite the niceness of the event and the vision behind offering those working downtown a “brain break,” as Cecylia explained, my brain had kicked into the opposite direction of whatever a break means. And it wasn’t just my brain. It was my stomach, my heart and my hands — hands that naturally shake anyway.
It wasn’t long before I reached my coffee limit and knew it was time to leave.
Still, not even walking away could make me snap back to reality. I was so nervous before calling my editor on my walk home, I had to practice what I was going to say.
“IIIIII ttttthinkkkk … I hhhhaavvvve aaa colllumnnn,” I kept saying, hoping not to sound drunk or incapacitated when I finally made the call.
And so it goes: If I ever drink iced coffee again, it most definitely won’t be anywhere near a street. In fact, the last thing I or Tuesdays at the Trellis needs is an arrest during its first summer of existence.
The charge? Public intoxication. The vice of choice for the suspect? Three iced coffees and one life-sized game of Connect Four. The punishment? Alive @ Five cleanup for the next 10 years.
Somebody get me a lawyer before August ends.