There comes a time when all of us need to recognize that we are either certifiably insane or completely overwhelmed by life. My moment of recognition came yesterday when I pulled up to the Coffee Bean drive-up window to order a cup of Genmaicha green tea and found the window shut tight. I thought it odd. It was 4:00 in the afternoon. I knew they were open. I saw people entering and exiting as I sat, somewhat impatiently, and waited in my car for some tattooed teen to get back from his or her break and take my order. After several minutes I started to get really annoyed. Aren’t these people running a business? How thoughtless and irresponsible of them to leave a customer sitting outside all alone at the drive-thru window. I suddenly felt that my life depended on getting that cup of tea immediately. Yet forces beyond my control seemed to be conspiring to keep me from achieving my goal.
I honked. Quietly at first. Two short beeps. Just a gentle reminder that customers do drive up to order tea during business hours. Nothing. Then I honked a bit more persistently. They are deliberately ignoring me, I surmised with frustration. I pulled my keys out of the ignition and loudly clinked the metal key ring against the closed window. Still no one came. In total disbelief, I leaned back, took several deep cleansing breaths and gazed into the rear-view mirror to see how many other forlorn consumers would soon be sitting in my disappointed seat. Surprisingly there was no one in line behind me. All I saw in my wake was the giant menu board. You know, the one with the oversized microphone in it, the microphone through which a normal person would actually order their drink before continuing on to the pick-up window.
I was horrified. I had just sped right past the menu board. As if I’d expected some incredibly insightful barrista to simply intuit my presence and serve me the tea I had so neglectfully forgotten to order. I quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen me. How embarrassing. I wondered if they had a camera inside and were watching me, clutching their sides and gasping from laughter. I knew I should leave quietly and pretend none of it had happened. But I still really wanted that tea.
So I pulled around to the drive up menu board and stopped in front of it this time. A voice immediately welcomed me to the Coffee Bean and asked to take my order. The instantaneous greeting cemented my theory that they had seen me all along and were merely toying with me by not opening the pick-up window. But I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of acknowledging my foolish gaffe. “I’ll have a large Genmaicha green tea, please,” I announced with aplomb. “Anything else?” he cordially querried. “No, that’ll be all.” I concluded. And with that, I drove on to the window to pay and collect my tea.
I wondered if anyone else had ever done anything as embarrassing as this. Maybe I was making too much of it. Maybe they hadn’t even noticed my silly mistake. Maybe I was just one more slightly stressed mom on the run who had simply forgotten how to drive thru a coffee house cue. I pondered the event as I raced towards school. Then suddenly I was struck with a horrible realization. I had forgotten the tea altogether. I remembered paying, smiling at the attendant, waving goodbye with good cheer. But I had never collected my tea.
OMG, something is seriously wrong with me.