You know the saying that spilling your coffee is like the adult version of losing your balloon, or dropping your ice-cream cone? I think that is especially true if a) it’s your first of the day, b) it’s purchased from elsewhere, but now you’re home, and especially c) it splatters in extra-dramatic fashion after you try to avoid tripping over your kamikaze cat who likes to blend into the brown carpet at the bottom of the steps.
That’s what happened to Josh this morning and to add insult to injury, I was taking the car to work so he couldn’t go back to McDonald’s for a new coffee. Such a travesty could not remain and McDonald’s isn’t that far, so I decided to just swing by and grab a new one.
It was a gorgeous Fall morning and things started out super Zen, even as I realized I wasn’t sure how to get to McDonald’s without making a U-turn on the always-terrifying Nevada Avenue. So I had to pull over and use Maps. But eventually I managed to arrive at the McDonald’s via my traditional roundabout manner, and there was only one car ahead of me, so it should only take a minute more!
Fate and the lady in said car had other plans. Her order made me wonder if I was on a hidden camera show. It was basically everything on the menu, filled with lots of “ums” and “Wait no, sorry, that should be…” When I heard “20 sugars,” my heart sank.
Things like that tend to stress me out, even though rationally I know it’s just the luck of the draw. She obviously was ordering for a big group and I envy no one that task. But it’s like being behind someone on the only line at the supermarket and they have a ton of produce and food for the week and you have one sad little frozen dinner. Only at a drive-thru, the person in front can’t be like, “Oh go ahead!”
I decided that this car was not a roadblock (although technically I guess it kind of was); it was a way for me to exercise patience. Also the lady seemed nice, just a bit confused. So instead of letting my blood pressure rise for no good reason, I enjoyed the humor of it all and the beautiful day, even if it was just via Nevada Avenue.
And then, it was like a scene out of a MUSICAL! I got to pull up and the woman who took my order was super friendly. Whether it was relief at my easy order after a tough one, or whether she was just awesome — maybe both! — it was appreciated. I settled in for a long winter’s night waiting for the order ahead of me to be completed, but this McDonald’s was on point, zipping through it all, and in the end I waited for an insanely short amount of time that felt like a fast-food hyperloop.
As I drove away, I thought about how grateful I was to still be feeling chill. What a waste it would have been to get stressed out over waiting, especially when that worry was for naught! Now I’d be home in just a second.
Fate once again had other plans, this time joined by the longest row of cyclists I’ve ever seen. I don’t think the other drivers on the narrow road were thrilled, but after the lesson I just learned in the McDonald’s drive-thru, how was I going to get annoyed by this group of people? They were getting physical fitness when I haven’t even mustered the courage to go back to the gym in three months! Carry on, cyclists! Also they reminded me of ducklings, which made me think of John Mulaney’s comedy, and that lifted my spirits even further.
Finally I turned left, nearly home, and appreciated the sky as I drove up the hill, a view I don’t normally get to see in the morning, since I’m usually driving away from it.
Then I passed a grandmother with two little kids. She was beaming away and waved at me. I waved back and started crying, knowing that if it weren’t for the duckling cyclists, our paths wouldn’t have crossed, and if it weren’t for Lady 20 Sugars reminding me to not freak out over dumb stuff, I’d not have appreciated that moment quite so much, if at all.
Though I was just a block away, the moments weren’t over. First I got to see the astonishing mountains behind the cul de sac, a view that NEVER gets old. As I got out of the car, catalyst coffee in hand, the grand finale arrived when I heard a noise, looked up, and saw a big V of birds, flying together, calling out to each other and moving in perfect unison.
I had to get a picture, but my phone was on the passenger seat. I reached down to put the coffee in the cupholder, annnnnd…it spilled all over.
Jk! I treated that cup like Carla Gugino treated the glass of water in Gerald’s Game. But it still would have been kind of hilarious if it had.
Have a good day!