Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not off to a great start...

Today is the first day of December. Noveling is done, Thanksgiving is over, and there are limited hours of sunlight. Truth be told, this is not my favorite month of the year. Too busy, both in my professional and personal life. The weather is getting colder, but I'm too stubborn to get my winter coat out of the closet. There are vacations, holidays, and parties, which should all be exciting to me, but lately it's getting a bit much to handle.

So the burden of December is upon us. I woke up late, had to rush through my shower (when I prefer a nice, relaxing shower) and throw on some clothes in order to get to the bus stop on time.

It should be noted that I am a creature of habit. I follow mostly the same routine every week day. Every morning I take the same pills in the same order, for example. I also like to sit in the same seat every morning on the bus - the way home is less important because there are a lot more people in the way. Lately, there's been a guy who always sits in "my" seat, but he would get off the bus a block after I got on, so it wasn't a problem - I was able to sit there without a problem.

This morning, the seat was open. I smiled to myself, convinced it would be a good day. I sit down in the seat (on the new hybrid busses, "my" seat is up the stairs just behind the back door of the bus). I sit down, put my bus pass away, and close my eyes to start my morning nap.

... but I am interrupted. The lady sitting behind me - the one holding a clipboard - taps me on the shoulder. "Would you mind moving to that seat over there?" she asks, pointing to the empty seat on the other side of the aisle. "I need to see who is getting on and off the bus, and you're kind of broad... you're blocking my view."

I was speechless for a few seconds. Broad? Really? That's the word you choose? Because that's not insulting at all. But then I think to myself, "who is this lady, and why couldn't she move? I came in, sat in an open seat - if I was in her way, why wasn't she sitting in this seat to begin with? And what is she doing that she needs to see who is getting on and off the bus? Does she work for Metro Transit? She's not wearing a uniform or name tag or anything? Is it a project for a class? Does she have any idea how full this bus will get by the time we hit downtown? It's rush hour on a busy bus line!"

I moved, because I didn't know what else to do. And once I sat in the other seat, I remembered why I liked my seat. My seat is all window - no window edges or anything taking up valuable elbow space. And that side of the bus, the right side when you're sitting there, doesn't have lights on - the left side (the side behind the driver) has a long row of lights that are always illuminated, making the whole morning-nap thing a lot more difficult. And the seat behind the door doesn't have anyone sitting directly in front of me, so I feel like it's easier to hold on to my purse without worrying about whacking someone in the shoulder or head or something when I move. Most of it's petty, but I like my seat. And it was early. I can't be expected to be rational when it's so early.

Nobody got on or off the bus for a good 15 blocks. The next person who got on the bus sat in "my" seat. The lady with the clipboard didn't say anything, she just shifted in her seat a little. I guess that person wasn't too "broad." And just as I predicted, the bus got really full. Clipboard Lady had to stand up to see who was getting on and off the bus. She seemed quite flustered, and I have to admit, I found joy in that.

That was the bus ride. But that wasn't the end of it. One of the good things about December is the holiday-themed coffee drinks at Caribou Coffee. My personal favorite is the Ho Ho Mint Mocha. It's chocolatey and minty and delicious. It's wonderful. Yesterday I ordered one, and as I patiently waited for the guy to make my coffee, I realized that all the other customers were gone - even the ones who arrived after I did. The guy was cleaning up his fancy espresso machine when he saw me standing there. "Were you waiting for something?" he asked. They had somehow missed my order, so he made me one. I didn't want to say anything, but I was hoping they would throw in an extra espresso shot or bump me up to a large. No dice. But the Ho Ho Mocha was fantastic, as usual.

Today, I used my $1 off coupon that I got from the Turkey Day 5k. I got a large Ho Ho Mocha today. I was excited. It was a girl making the drinks this time. She put it up on the counter, and said "here's your mocha." Just to be sure, I said, "Is that a Ho Ho Mocha?"

"No, it's just a mocha."

"I ordered a Ho Ho Mocha."

Turns out the person who rang me up rang it in wrong. The girl takes the mocha off the counter, throws away the chocolate covered espresso bean, and adds some peppermint crunchies to the top of the drink, then hands it back to me.

Let me tell you, folks: peppermint crunchies do not a Ho Ho Mocha make. There needs to be mint flavoring in the drink itself. I tasted it, and it is NOT a Ho Ho Mocha. It's still tasty, sure, but it's not a Ho Ho Mocha.

I should have said something, but I was too fed up at that point. Really? 2 days in a row that Caribou messes up with me? And no apology today, either. At least yesterday the guy apologized for not making my drink. Today, nothing. What happened to customer service? Is this no longer something that is valued in our society?

December, you're not off to a good start. But I say, bring it on. Give me your worst, December. Just don't give me a blizzard on the 10th. I really don't want my flight to Mexico to be canceled.

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