No Subsitute for a Good Thing

Sometimes when you know what you want, you just can’t take chances with the unknown. I learned that this morning.

I’m on vacation this week since Sophie’s daycare is closed (supposedly daycare providers need a vacation too). So I cleverly scheduled Sophie to attend her preschool summer camp for two days this week so I can have some “me” time to read, write, relax, and the not. I’ve been looking forward to this day all week. I packed my bag with my laptop, book, and calendar, and I have my list of things to accomplish.

So this morning I dropped Sophie off at preschool at 9 a.m. I knew this was a good thing when she dismissed me from the classroom by saying “good bye, mommy” before I was ready to leave. So I took my cue and quickly walked to my car where I excitedly drove off to my relaxation destination.

I’m a Starbucks patron, always ordering a venti cinnamon dolce latte. I love it and I never venture from what I love (unless it’s the holiday season where I switch to a gingerbread latte). But this morning, I decided to try something new. I drove a few miles north to Del Mar to sample the Pannikin coffee shop that’s connected to a local independent bookstore, The Bookworks. Pannikin had organic coffee with pastries baked on site. They also offered free Wi-Fi. What more could I ask for?

I get to Pannikin and I was shocked — it was so crowded! And loud! Take a chance, I thought. So I ordered myself a vanilla latte and a homemade raspberry muffin, and found a place to sit down amongst the crowd. I pull out my laptop and notice the battery is quite low. But alas, no place to plug in the laptop. Okay… Well, let me check e-mail and see what’s going on in the world before I log off and read. I start up the computer and attempt to take advantage of the free wireless. But for some reason, the wireless was just not connecting. At all. I’m led to believe it has something to do with Pannikin’s free connection because I was able to use it just fine at home, at work, and now while I write this from another location. After attempting this for 15 minutes, I decide not to waste the battery any longer and instead, I’ll write.

So start looking for Word so I can start writing. It’s nowhere to be found. Hmmm … Maybe it’s just not on the desktop. Nope! The idiot computer tech at work who reconfigured this machine for me neglected to install the most basic of computer functions — MS Office. I’m not surprised given who this tech is, but come on! Really?!

Okay, so I’m destined not to use the computer. Well I can always read and sip my coffee. I take a few sips and it is REALLY strong. I can’t even taste the vanilla. So I add a packet of sweetener and still no relief. The muffin is okay. But this coffee is just not doing it. And the shop is SO DAMN LOUD that I’m getting more and more anxious, rather than relaxed and happy. It’s like the universe is testing me if I can achieve my plans today.

After having an internal debate with myself about whether to stick it out or walk, I decided to leave. Why should I waste what precious time I have being irritated. I gathered my stuff and drove off. But where to go? I could go home and use my own Internet connection, but no. I could do that anytime. I don’t have to pick Sophie up until 1 p.m. so I decide to try something else. I pull up to a small coffee shop close to Sophie’s preschool where the green-black-white logo looks familiar. That’s right, people, I went to Starbucks. If nothing else, at least I could get a cinnamon dolce latte.

I order my trusty stand-by drink and begin looking around for a place to sit. Lo and behold, there’s a space at a table right next to an outlet! So I plop myself there and begin pulling out the equipment. If I can’t log into the Internet, that’s okay, I thought. I still have my book and I can use the “notepad” feature to type. I turn on the computer and what do you know? The Starbucks Wi-Fi connection worked!

So here I am now — sitting in a quiet Starbucks with Ella Fitgerald and Frank Sinatra music playing above me. I’m typing onto my blog site via the Starbucks Wi-Fi and sipping my venti cinnamon dolce latte with a smile on my face. I do feel a little guilt for wasting $4 on the nasty Pannikin latte. But hey, I learned a lesson and know I’m happy. I still have about two hours until I pick up Sophie. Life is good!

I do believe in trying new things and looking for new experiences. But the lesson I learned today is that if you really want something to go a certain way, stick with what you know in order to assure it happening. Save the adventures for when you really want an challenge and new experience. And sometimes, there’s just no substitute for Starbucks.

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