Saturday, June 19, 2010
Judging a book
It's part of my daily routine. Starbucks, ideally the one that is two miles from my home, receives the visit which generally includes using the drive-through and, on many days, seeing Carol, the ever friendly attendant who serves me up a venti iced coffee, milk no sugar. A full day of to dos and errands and a hop over to see Carol were in order on this day. As I pulled into the corner lot where the storefront stands, I was relieved to see only one car at the order box. No lines. Quick in an out.
Sitting behind the black Chevy Cobalt, I observed its driver speaking into the order kiosk. She was laughing. Chatting. Taking her time. How long does it take to order a coffee? I looked at my blackberry and saw there was a message there from a co-worker. I read it, responded. Still the Chevy Cobalt impeded my progress. How rude. I'm in a hurry. If she wanted to chit chat, why do so in the drive through? By now I'm curious. I look into the side mirror and see her face. She is smiling. Giggling even. Unflattering expressions such as valley girl and bubbly and perky pop into my head. I'm not proud to say it, but it's what I thought and the impatience welled. I thought of honking my horn. It seemed like an hour, though probably it was three or four minutes.
My turn. Finally. Venti iced coffee, milk no sugar. So there.
Again, Cobalt picking up her coffee. Chatter. Giggling. I'm going to beep the horn now. Really I am.
As I approached, Carol was waiting there for me. Coffee in hand. "What was the deal with her?" was my best opener, but Carol beat me to it. She said: "I"m so sorry about that. That was a regular customer of mine. She's leaving tomorrow to go to boot camp. She's going to be a Marine."
I don't know the woman in the car in front of me. I don't know what motivates her or why she is departing for, probably, Parris Island in 24 hours. I do know that if she is successful, she will join those who protect all of us. She may be called upon to leave home, to endure sacrifices and to perhaps even lay down her life for us.... and even for me, the impatient patron behind her car at Starbucks this morning.