Thursday, November 07, 2013

Dear Charlie:

What, me? Sheepish?

Okay, so today was one of those days where you just can't get home fast enough. While we did manage to make plans for a weenie roast this weekend, the rest of the day pretty much left me wanting to throat-punch someone. A couple of someones, actually.

Then I had errands to run, which exposed me to traffic, and oh. Throat-punches all around. I mean, seriously. You're on a 35 mph road. If you want to go 25 mph, there is a 25 mph road literally a block away on either side of the 35 mph road. PICK A SIDE. And please, get out of the way of the normals.

Sorry. I digress.

Anyway, needless to say, I was a wee bit cranky by the time I could head for home, so I decided that a venti Earl Grey tea latte from Starbucks (you gotta get the venti or they only use one teabag, and that's just appalling) was a reward for my lack of throat-punching. I don't get them very often. They're expensive. Plus, Dad bought me an espresso machine so I could use the milk steamer and make them myself if I have milk (I don't, currently, but milk is soooo cheaper than Starbucks). But sometimes, you just gotta have the real deal, and this was one of those times.

So I get in line at the drive thru and wait. And wait. And wait. Even at the window, the lady in the SUV in front of me was just taking forever. It's too dark to read the book I always have in the car. I kinda need to go to the bathroom. My patience has stretched so thin I could probably read braille through it. In my mind, I'm thinking, "Geez, lady! What the hell did you order?"

Then, the barista hands out her drink and... they chitchat for a bit. She holds her phone out the window and the barista scans it. They chitchat some more. Really?? Move it move it move it, lady, I gotta pee!

Finally... FINALLY... she inches forward to leave. I already have my five dollar bill and a penny handy (it's always $4.26 - like I said, I don't get them often, but that's ALL I get, so I have the expense down to a nicety), so I pull up to the window and smile (because, hey, I'm never the only person who's had a bad day, so why make anyone else's worse?), and the barista smiles and says the words that make me feel like a real jerk.

"Oh, the person in front of you already paid for yours, so you're good to go!"

I'm. A. Jerk.

Not missing a beat, I ask how much the next person's order is. She says it's $10.91. I hand her my five and say, "Well, tell 'em they're halfway done." She smiles and takes the money and I drive away. Yes, I spent 75 cents more than I expected to, but I figure that's the jerk-tax I have to pay for being a jerk.

Oi.

So... was it someone I knew? I didn't recognize the SUV, but hey, people change vehicles all the time. Totally could've been someone I know that I was blaming for being the cause of all traffic everywhere (even though we were just in line at a drive thru). Was it a random nice person who routinely pays for other people's orders? Could've been. Had the person before them bought theirs so they did what I did and kept the pay-it-forward thing going? Who knows.

All I know is that I shut my mouth, smiled ruefully, and drove home determined to not get road-ragey at every single bad driver I encountered. And there were many. But I didn't mentally cuss at any of them.

Okay, most of them. There were two people who shouldn't have been allowed driver's licenses. Just sayin.

Anyway, to whoever bought my Starbucks, thank you very much. Not just for the Earl Grey, which is greatly appreciated, but for the lesson in patience. I needed it.

Because I'm a jerk.

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