A troubling thing has been happening since I published my historical fiction novel, Tripio. I have been getting asked quite a bit the question: “What is a tripio?” This question was first asked me at a class on memoir writing at the Indiana Writers Center. No one in the class with me knew what a tripio was. It hadn’t even occurred to me. I knew what a tripio was since the fall of 1990 when I started at Starbucks. I had worked at a couple independent, hippy coffee houses even before that, so the word was part of my personal vocabulary so long I assumed everyone knew what one was. Also creating my false sense of security was the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of Starbucks on this earth. Surely, everyone who’s visited a Starbucks has ordered a tripio…right?
one definition of a tripio
I’ll take that as a “no.” In Tripio, the book, Jay describes his tripio, the drink, as “my crutch, my momentum and my solace”. I’m sure that helped clear things up. If it didn’t, I will define a tripio as three shots of espresso which is usually consumed immediately after it is brewed into pre-warmed cup. It is then often consumed with sugar or whatever one wants to add. In Tripio, the book, Jay always drinks his tripios over lots of ice in a plastic cup.
Jay needs the caffeine from the three shots and the ice keeps the drink alive and refreshing as he goes about his work day. He needs the caffeine for opening shifts at Starbucks. He needs the caffeine for the closing shifts at Starbucks. Starbucks was unknown then and in the process of becoming the global entity we all know today. That didn’t happen by having the baristas and managers in the trenches stand around. Jay needed lots of tripios.
a second definition of a tripio
In the end, I did not choose to title the book Tripio based solely on the fact that the main character drank lots of triple espressos over ice. There are three plot lines that intertwine and collaborate as the novel goes along. Jay has three life options facing him as he goes about his increasingly complicated days. After reading Tripio, you will be asked to decide if the option he chose was the correct one for him. Or better yet, you have put yourself in Jay’s place. Even better you recognize a situation in your life that you can compare to Jay’s and consider that situation in new context.
In order to read the novel you will first have to buy it. Before you do that, you will examine the cover and see that subtitle includes a partial definition of the word tripio. Which brings me back around to the class I mentioned above. The instructor of that class helped me in crafting the subtitle. Thankfully, he was one other person in the room that day who knew what a tripio was. And now, I hope you do as well.
“May I help who’s next?”