On Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to redeem myself.
I’m sure this comes as a huge shock, but I may or may not have squandered said opportunity.
I was spending the day working Small Town so that Scott and I could check out the peacock basement of broken dreams after work, which I am delighted to say we will not be renting.
Although I can’t seem to get that majestic creature in the window out of my brain. I may need to have a custom one installed in our bathroom or something.
But back to my workday. Scott invited me to set up shop at his dermatology clinic and use the internet in the back room. None of the nurses would mind and I’d have total and complete privacy.
But I wouldn’t have scones. Clearly a deal breaker. Caribou Coffee was the only logical choice.
I was happy to see that Mary, the barista I had offended the week prior was working. Now was my chance to make it up to her.
Mary actually remembered me from my first visit. Although this probably wasn’t a good thing, I interpreted it as a positive omen and went out of my way to be chatty and polite. Things were going swimmingly, until my debit card was declined.
The stupid thing has been touchy for the last few weeks. There’s plenty of money in the account, and Scott’s card, which links to the same account, works perfectly fine. This leads me to believe the card has been demagnetized.
I’m not exactly sure what demagnetized means, but it makes me sound less like someone with a debt problem, and more like someone with a magnet problem.
Which is way more socially acceptable than a debt problem, I’m assuming.
Anyway, instead of swallowing my pride and simply handing her a second card without commentary, I felt the need to explain myself.
“Oh…here, Mary…try my Amex. I’m so sorry about that! It’s been doing this to me for a couple of weeks, and I don’t know what the problem is. I need to bring it into a Bank of America and get it fixed, but there are no Bank of Americas in the entire state of Minnesota! Can you believe that?! I thought Bank of America was everywhere. I guess this really is the middle of nowhere.”
Mary was gracious enough to pretend she didn’t hear that last part and quickly changed the subject.
“There, that card worked just fine. Here’s you’re receipt. Ooh, and you got the randomized survey receipt! If you go online and enter this code you can fill out our customer satisfaction questionnaire and get a dollar off your next drink.”
You would think a dollar off coupon would have been sufficient.
You would think.
At this point, instead of thanking Mary for the coupon, I made the not-so-tactful decision to inquire about a Caribou Coffee Rewards Card.
You know, like the Starbucks Gold Card?
That piece of plastic is the single them I would rescue from my wallet if I were to suddenly catch fire.
Because, you know, wallets spontaneously combust all the time. It’s a phenomenon. Kind of like debit cards magically becoming “demagnetized”.
Me offending the barista? Also a phenomenon.
I believe Mary’s exact words were “Sorry, we don’t have a fancy card like Starbucks does. Most people think these coupons are pretty cool.”
And by “most people” she meant “nice people”.
Despite all of this, Mary smiled, handed me my drink, and introduced me to her manager and the rest of the morning staff. I think I’m slowly winning her over…in a one step forward two steps back kind of way.
Either that or she just wanted her fellow employees to actually see the snobby Seattle girl in all of her obnoxious glory.
Even if I am inching my way over to Mary’s good side, I’ll probably do something stupid and mess it up next time. You know, like mistakenly demagnetizing her cash register or, worse, accidentally setting fire to her wallet.
I decided to not worry about it and snag a comfy chair by the fire where I might set up my work station before digging into breakfast.
I got a ton of work done at the coffee shop. The minutes flew by, and a little over four hours later, it was time for my lunch break.
After running a quick errand over lunch, (yes, driving around town laughing at the names of various gas stations is totally an errand) it was time to get back to work.
I didn’t know if Mary was quite ready for a second visit from her favorite Washingtonian. Luckily, Small Town has a second Caribou location where I have a clean track record.
But only because I’ve never been there.
I’m proud to say that I ordered without incident, and was lucky enough to receive a second survey receipt. Caribou must really want me to like them. I even got to rest my feet on a black bear while I worked.
I was blasting through projects and feeling great until the last half hour of the day.
It hit me like a ton of bricks — my head felt funny, my hands were shaking and my vision was definitely no longer 20/20.
Those darn Minnesotans had poisoned my coffee.
I had overdosed.
Naturally, waking up at the crack of dawn to make the drive had required a twenty-ounce travel mug of drip coffee from home.
I wouldn’t dream of eating my scone at breakfast without a Caramel High Rise to accompany it.
And there was no way I was going to show up at the second location and use the Wi-Fi for four hours without ordering a raspberry latte.
This is how I accidentally found myself tripping on coffee beans at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon.
Which means what happened next is definitely not my fault.
A group of women in turtlenecks and sweater vests sat down at the table next to me and started talking about politics.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not easily offended. You don’t share my political views? That’s fine. I’m a big girl, and I can handle the idea that not everyone sees the world my way.
In fact, I don’t even discuss politics all that much. Why? Because I don’t know what the hazay-schnay I’m talking about.
As a general rule, anyone with the word “hazay-schnay” in their vocabulary probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about. In politics, or any other topic.
While most people are reading articles from CNN.com or watching Brian Williams on TV, I’m Googling pictures of cupcakes and dressing my dog in unitards. I’m not proud of it, but at least I’m smart enough to keep my mouth shut during discussions when I’m not smart enough.
So basically, you can disagree with me until you’re blue in the face — so long as you know what you’re talking about. Or use the phrase hazay-schnay.
I heard some pretty hateful things coming out of the mouths of the women sitting next to me.
But I chose to mind my own business.
And then I heard some more hateful things.
And chose to sip my latte and pretend I was someplace far, far away.
And then I heard a woman back up her argument by saying “Well…I didn’t actually read it anywhere. It’s from an email forward my husband was telling me about.”
This is when I started passive-aggresively kicking the bear footrest.
Then another woman added, “Oh I get all my news from those emails. I don’t watch the news at all. It raises my blood pressure.”
At which point she smugly picked up her mocha and took a big long gulp.
And then I couldn’t take it any more.
“Excuse me,” I chirped with the sugary-sweet tone that only comes out when I’m trying to be polite against my will.
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and thought I might be able to help. I’m not sure if you’re aware of the fact that caffeinated beverages are directly linked to hypertension. So, if you’re trying to keep your blood pressure down, maybe you should stay away from those mochas. It would probably make more of a difference than not watching the news.”
I swear — the caffeine made me do it.
So now I’ve got violations at both of the Caribou Coffees in town.
Plus, there’s a pretty good chance that if I show my face at the second one, I’ll get shanked by a mom gang.
I think this is the world telling me that I’m the one who needs to lay off the coffee.