You know those morons in line in front of you at Starbucks, or the fast food restaurant, that hold up the whole line because they are ill-prepared to order, can't decide what they want, or they're talking on their phone instead of paying attention--or they have other issues? Yeah, you know who they are! They really push my patience at times. I have many words I use to describe them, usually muttered under my breath these days with a little girl in the backseat that repeats everything I say, but I'm not beyond using my horn at times. But I had a humbling experience this morning--I was the moron. I was in the moron category of other issues.
It was brutally cold this morning. We were snowed in Sunday. As usual, it snowed Saturday, and it was no big deal. We got out Saturday. But then the wind began to blow Sunday, and out there in the country, our driveway drifted in as it always does, and was covered in over a foot of snow--which is minimal for us, we've seen three and four feet and more over the years. Last year we had to have a guy come with a bucket tractor--we had more than five feet over the driveway in places. We knew it was coming, so we parked at the very end of the driveway--snow position we call that. It's less to shovel to get out the first time after the snow plows come by, and then later we have a guy that plows us out and clears the drive, but I still started the day out Monday stuck in my own driveway three feet from the cleared road. Valerie just pulls her Chevy Impala right out through it, but my Ford Focus . . . well, Valerie's laughing this morning didn't help me that much with my Monday cheerful mood.
I was chilled to the bone by the time I got to town, and my socks were wet. I can still hear Valerie laughing as she's pushing my Ford out of the driveway. "Just get out of the car, Todd, and I'll pick up your Focus and set it on the road and you'll be off. I can't lift it with you in it." She's hilarious. Yeah, I get it, I'm a fat guy now, in a tiny car. I was thinking a hot cup of coffee on the way to work was a great idea, and I guess I wasn't the only one, because it was busy in the Starbucks drive thru this morning.
I wait in line, and finally get to the speaker, and I go to roll down the window to order, and discover my window is frozen shut. I can hear the muffled voice asking for my order, but I can't get the damned window down. I'm trying to shout through the glass, VENTI PIKE'S PLACE! But they can't hear me. I think, I'll just open my door and order, but I'm way too close, and I can't open my door--and I couldn't back up, or pull forward because it was locked in line. Car ahead of me pulls forward, and I decide just to stay in line and order at the window. That was a big mistake. I get to the window, open my door and order. Well I confused everybody. I created chaos apparently because I didn't order at the speaker. You're supposed to order at the speaker! You didn't order at the speaker? Why didn't you order at the speaker? OMG! What do we do? This guy didn't order at the speaker. Customers are supposed to order at the speaker, but he didn't! Why didn't you order at the speaker, sir?
They're trying to give me two mochas and some scones and I'm explaining I didn't order at the speaker, and they just can't believe it's not my order. This situation must not be covered in the employee handbook or the training videos. Those registers keep track of the orders in order as it was explained to me, so when you don't order in order, it creates havoc, and there were discussions about how it needed to be handled, and they finally find a solution--ring it up on one of the internal registers. I'm glad they figured it out finally--I even offered to pull around, park, and come inside and order. But they were determined to figure it out. I was afraid for a moment they were going to have to call the headquarters hotline in Seattle to find out the emergency procedure for what to do when a customer doesn't order at the stupid speaker! There might not have even been an emergency procedure, because customers are supposed to order at the speaker in the drive thru--there's even a big sign that says "Order Here." This whole time I'm hanging half in, and half out of my car. It takes a long time to sort it out procedurally, and then to finally get my coffee and pay, and the cars behind me are honking and I can see the guy behind me mouthing many of the names I've used over the years as his mochas are getting cold. At least I'm guessing he was the guy with the mochas and scones because he ordered at the speaker. I wonder if he got them? It takes forever, but I finally get my coffee and pull around, and you have to drive right along the drive thru line on the way out--the drive of shame as it turns out. I know all those people are looking me and thinking "There goes the moron that made me late for work. Thanks alot, buddy!"
So just remember when you're behind a moron, he may not actually be a moron--it might just be his turn that day. You may find yourself in his shoes one day. I learned a lesson in patience today. And another lesson you might take from this, is when it's frigid cold outside, and you decide to go through the drive thru, before you pull into line and get blocked in, give that electric window a little check first and make sure it isn't frozen shut.
Of course the simple solution to the problem occurred to me on the way to work with my coffee, and I considered not testing the theory--sometimes it's better not to know. But I couldn't help myself. I pushed the button for the back window. The back window on the driver's side wasn't frozen. I could have put the seat back and ordered through it. And as Monday law dictates, when I got to work, I was walking around the corner of our building, and skidded on the ice and nearly fell down. I didn't fall, but I dropped my damned coffee, and it exploded on the ground like a Venti egg. I never got even one sip of it. Pretty much the beginning of a perfect Monday.