This morning, at a coffee stand inside the Terminal del Norte bus station in Mexico City:
Me: I’d like a cafe americano with milk, please.
Young woman: We don’t sell an americano with milk. You can get a black coffee or a cappuccino.
Me: Can’t I just get a small amount of milk in my coffee?
Me: What if I paid extra? It’s only a very small amount of milk that I want.
YW: We don’t sell americanos with milk.
Me: What if I paid for a cappuccino? And you could give me an americano with just a little milk in it? Then I would be paying for extra milk, because I want less than you put in a cappuccino.
*She looks at me doubtfully.*
Me: So I would be paying you more money. You would win.
YW: That’ll be 21 pesos. *(Yelling to her compañera)* She wants an americano with milk.
A few minutes later, I watch as the barista adds exactly one-half cup of milk to my coffee, the same amount she used in other customers’ cappuccinos.
So much for wanting, as I told the girl in Spanish, “un chorrito de leche, nada más.”