I’m on my way home from Pullman, which is something that I think I’ve come to terms with – part of me wants to go home to my parents and my dog and my running trail and my job, so I’m driving. And I’m getting pretty tired because Tara’s couch is not my bed and we stayed up late with the med students and I had to be up to see her off to school, partly because I wanted to give her a hug goodbye and thank her for letting me stay and partly because I wanted the boys in the van to see me in my boxer shorts and tank top, so I’m getting tired. So I get off at Ellensburg (“Historical Ellensburg” – give me a break, right?) because I need to get some coffee. I should have gone to a gas station but I didn’t. I really wish I had, you’ll see. I went to Starbucks, even though it’s expensive and I can no longer afford even sixteen ounces of drip. But I want to treat myself, because I know that I won’t be able to do that anymore once I get to the other side of these mountains. So I pull into a parking spot and gather all my books and my notebook and go in, just in case I want to sit and write for a bit. I think I did write something but I don’t remember now because of what happened next, you’ll see.
I’m in line and I finally decide to indulge and get exactly what I want because I’ve been such a big girl all weekend and it’s about time somebody celebrated me, and what’s 3 bucks, anyway? So I order:
“I’ll have a double-tall, hazelnut, soy latté,” I say, and then I add, hastily – not because I almost forgot it but because I know from experience that I have to save this part for last and let it really sit with the barista, “and can I get that with no foam?”
“Sure we can do that without the foam, no problem”
“Oh great. Thaaaaanks.” I am all ready to join the PTA; I have the voice down.
I go sit in one of the comfy chairs. Like I said I was writing but I can’t remember what. And then my latte shows up on the bar so I take it and leave. I think there was a good looking boy holding the door open and I think I felt pretty good about the way he looked at me, but whatever. I got in the car, took a teeny sip and thought, “Humph. That extra shot really changed things a bit. And there’s foam, but I can deal, I suppose.” So I got back on the freeway heading west. I feel ok about my little indulgence. I take another sip.
WHAT? This tastes kind of, I don’t know, I guess it’s been a while since I’ve gotten the extra shot— Oh my word she gave me whole milk are you KIDDING me? That stupid girl. Fine, I don’t know her, personally, but that only makes it all the more puzzling that she would try to kill me. I ordered soy milk. I paid forty cents extra. What’s hard about that? No wonder she goes to freaking Central!
I wanted to go back. I didn’t really have time to go back, but I wanted to go back there and scream at her. “What’s wrong, honey? Didn’t you get my extra forty cents? Did I not speak slow-ly e-nough for you to un-der-STAND ME? Because you gave me whole milk. The DAIRY kind. Even though I ordered soy milk. Soy. Milk. Do you realize – I’m sure you don’t – that I will have apocalyptic diarrhea now, because you have poisoned me?”
But here’s the thing: I am not lactose-intolerant. Just the opposite, in fact. If you think you know someone who puts away more cheese or yogurt or ice cream or delicious 1% milk than I do, I’ll fight you, because you don’t. I love dairy products. And, I always say, “now’s the time.” Because I’m 22 and female and my bones will stop absorbing calcium any day now. Oh, nobody loves dairy more than I do. But I always, steadily, consistently order my lattes with soy milk because the regular milk tastes bad. It tastes so bad. I hate it. A soy latte is one of my most favorite treasures in all the world, but I’m telling you: I would rather wash someone else’s dirty underwear than drink a latte made with regular whole milk. Disgusting. Oh I hate it. It makes my teeth all fuzzy and it’s kind of mealy, if I can use that word to describe a liquid.
The point is: it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted exactly what I wanted and I paid forty cents extra on top of the ridiculous prices they have at that place even for the basics, even for this piece-of-crap whole milk business. I wanted to buy a shot gun. Other drivers must have noticed me fuming and groaning and yelling, a little, out loud, to myself, as they drove past.
I didn’t even notice my favorite part of the drive.