There's this magnet...it's bigger than me...it's connected to both my brain and my palette, and by extension, my wallet...and it draws me close earlier in the day rather than later. It's sometimes my motivation for getting up as soon as my alarm rings instead of hitting snooze for the sixth time (even when an extra few minutes of sleep would be fantastically refreshing) or making a not-so-great choice (even when I know I shouldn't).
I left at my new two-kid departure time -- 7:20 a.m. -- to embark on my half-hour trek to school. As an aside, along with the new house came an uber-convenient Starbucks stealthily located on the right side of the road as I head south to get on the interstate. Just like always, I played the contingency game as my car gently veered into the right lane in anticipation of the drive-thru turn about two miles up the road.
"Will the line be short or long?
If it is, what will I do?
How many cars are tolerable in the line...?
Do I have extra time to wait if it's packed?
If I don't wait, can I stop somewhere else?
No, the next store isn't as convenient as this one; I'd have to get off the interstate and then get back on. "
The car keeps moving and the conversation progresses until I pass the bank, and the fitness club, and the car wash....until, finally, the skinniest view of Starbucks' parking lot becomes available.
It's Friday and it's busy with all those self-regulating, disciplined people who save a trip to the coffee shop for an end-of-the-week treat. A quick gander tells me the long line doesn't hold much promise for my travel time window which diminishes by the second. The small voice in my mind confirms what my eyes behold.
"Skip it today, b. You don't need it..."
But, do I listen? Goodness, no.
I go ahead and make the right turn, idling behind the other 15 drivers jockeying in the same small space for their caffeine fix.
Five minutes pass; no movement at my normally efficient shop. Impatience steals a few cars ahead of me and the situation improves.
"You should get out too."
But do I listen? Goodness, no.
A couple minutes later, I order my standard beverage in barista speak: a tall, nonfat, no-water five-pump chai; however, I watch the clock like a child in time-out. Its reprimand stings more with each passing minute.
At the window, I offer enough cash to cover the random 20-cent price increase and make polite conversation with Jessi, my daily drink giver. "Here's your nonfat, no-water chai tea latte," she announces as it's thrusted out the swing-and-shut window.
"I'm sure she just didn't read the entire drink description," I rationalized; albeit one sip a mile down the road spilled the beans.
"UH. No spicyness...no sweetness...no gusto; only the faintness of milk. I shouldn't have stopped, but I'm pretty sure I already knew that. The line was long; the price was higher; this drink was a paler version of itself."
For a second, the magnet lost its power.