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Random Act of Kindness… sure feels good…

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Well, well, well. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Talk about an interesting turn of events today.

This little story is directly related to one I blogged about back on April 5th (link is posted below the video). If you haven’t read it, you need to read it before you read this post. (just sayin’) (This would be the part where there would be a musical interlude playing softly in the background while you revert to my other post to see what it was about…. so here it is… go ahead and hit play while you read the other post….)

And here is the post from April 5th.

All done reading it? You may continue…

Since that experience I haven’t gone back to that location. I was just too disgusted. And then today happened.

I was early for work and decided to drive around a few of the blocks close to my work to pass some time. Lo and behold, I got the hankering for a donut (not a big stretch because I love donuts, and crave them all the time, but anyway).

Soooo… I was craving this…

Yes, all of them…

But settled for this…

Except it would be a large hot chocolate and if I have to settle for one donut I’d prefer it to be as big as my head (like the one I had at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece… I mean who knew there’d be a lemonade/donut stand perched there serving up enormous chocolate dipped donuts???) But I digress, and this is pretty much what I had.

Even though I should be eating this….

yeah, yeah… whole grains and veggies.

Soooooo… I come across the Tim Horton’s that I’d gone to back in April and decided to hit the drive thru. Hey, it sure beat driving even more out of my way to hit another one. Sooo… I enter the lot, and as I’m approaching the line of cars ahead of me I see a woman in her car in exactly the same spot that I was last time – that is, entering from the side street. Now, I’d like to point out that I think I’m a pretty fair person. Clearly, that woman had entered the lot before I did and therefore she should go ahead of me. So, I paused when there was an opening in the line and allowed her to go ahead of me.

She pulled in and I couldn’t help but notice she didn’t give a wave of thanks, no head nod, no mouthed out word of “thanks”, no nothing. I rolled my eyes. That irks me when people don’t acknowledge a nice gesture with a “thank you”. But whatever.

It was then I started reminiscing about the last time I was in this same drive thru. Should I try to do another random act of kindness? Should I even bother?

I ordered my hot chocolate and (albeit, regular sized) donut and arrived at the window to pay. The cheerful cashier says, “There’s no charge for you. The lady ahead of you already paid for your stuff.”

I was shocked. I looked at the cashier like this…

Yes, this is pretty much the same stare I had.

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was on the receiving end of someone’s random act of kindness in the exact same drive thru, and the exact same situation that I was in back in April – only our roles were reversed. Wow! It felt AMAZING! What a lovely surprise on a grey, cloudy morning.

And as she passed me my stuff I said, “Well, let’s keep it going then. Let me pay for something the lady behind me ordered.” The cashier looked it up and said, “She only ordered a large coffee.” So I gave the cashier the money and she said, “Cool! I wonder how many people will keep this going. It will be interesting to see.”  I smiled, feeling pretty good and I pulled away.

It was at that very moment that I replayed in my mind what happened the last time. If you’ve read my post from April 5th, you realize that I was all up in arms because my “pay it forward” didn’t work at all, or so I thought. Back on that day, I watched in disgust as the woman who I’d treated to coffee still paid for her drink! Or did she? I bet that she herself, after discovering that I treated her, maybe decided to treat the person behind her as well, just like I did today. And the act of her paying for the next person looked to me like she was paying for her own drink. Wow. Never saw that coming.

While I think I’m a fair person, I can also admit that I almost always jump to conclusions in almost every situation. (shocking, I know) And I’d almost bet a million dollars that this is exactly what happened the last time.  Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. This wouldn’t be the first time my moments of jumping to conclusions nearly started a widespread revolt amongst people… like the time my stapler went missing from my desk and I wanted to call the Police/FBI because I was sure there was a theif in our midst and I wanted him/her to be punished to the highest degree of the law. Turned out the stapler was under a stack of papers that I’d put on top of it and wasn’t stolen at all. … but that’s another story… and obviously a mistake that any rational person could make. (I have to believe that, or else I’m just a crazy person.. hahahah)

So, while I’m still on my high from the “random act of kindness”, I’m gonna go enjoy my lunch hour and see to whom else I can pay it foward today.

😀

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Hot chocolate, some strangers, and complete embarrassment.

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Well, this moment must take the cake on embarrassing moments for me. It’s been a while since I’ve had an embarrassing moment so I guess I was due.

On Thursday evening I found myself hankering for a hot chocolate from my favorite place – Second Cup. Nobody does hot chocolate like them, except the French, and right now, I’m nowhere near France, so poo-poo for me.

One of my true loves, and one of many of my guilty pleasures. Only about a million calories and a zillion grams of fat. But who’s counting?

I park the car, go inside and see there are about 8 or 10 people inside. I pass a table of two men, another with one woman, three older men have taken the seats at the back by the fireplace, and there were a few other stragglers that could have been men or women – I wasn’t particularly paying attention at that point because now I had my nose pressed up against the glass of the display case and was oogling the various delectables housed within.

The girl behind the counter gives me a strange look and asks what I’d like to have. I tell her a large hot chocolate and a chocolate dipped peanut butter oat cake. Go big, or go home, I say. (Evidently, at this pace, I’M the one who’s gonna be big and going home, but anyway….)

She rings in my purchase and tells me my drink will be ready at the end of the counter (as if I don’t know this). I moved down to the end of the counter and I heard the girls snickering and whispering behind the counter. I couldn’t see them as the big brewing machines where in my way. I assumed they were giggling about what they were doing.

A different girl hands me my hot chocolate which I fancy up with a dash of cinnamon and about 2 whole minutes of shaking the chocolate shavings on top.

I get the same odd stares as I leave that I had coming in… but over the years I’ve just accepted the fact that I am kinda weird looking and that’s why people stare. Either that, or I’ve got something on my face like misplaced makeup or lettuce in my teeth. Whatever.

It’s not until I get back in the car and discover – in horror – as I pull the seatbelt across that I just walked around a coffee shop for about 5 whole minutes with half of my shirt unbuttoned. Yes, that’s right, my shirt was wide open, bra showing, and the first “done up” button was about mid-stomach.

Image

This is pretty much me, except I didn’t have a sweater. “Could I have a large hot chocolate please? And since I’m busy texting my friends I’ll just hold it between my boobs that are clearly visible through my open shirt right now.”  Grrrrreat.

I guess it could have been worse, I could have walked around Wal-Mart for a whole hour. Regardless, I’d like to say a “thanks a lot” to all the customers and staff of Second Cup who allowed me to walk around like that and not tell me. Men I wouldn’t expect to say anything simply because I think most men love even the remote glimpse of boobs and wouldn’t want to stop it, even my mom told me that my father used to say he’d love to run barefoot through a field of boobs, so there you go, but I’d expect a fellow woman to say something. They didn’t, I made a fool of myself and I hope they all spilled their drinks – preferably in their laps.

I mean really. If I were purposely doing that, don’t you think I would have worn a better bra, and NOT my slightly older, flesh/beige colored one? Beige bras aren’t attractive on anyone – they are functional, not sexy. Not even on Victoria Secret models. Beige bras are equivalent to compression socks – functional, but not sexy.

I just might have to start going to a new Second Cup now… one where the staff and customers haven’t seen my wares.

An artist, of sorts.

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My travel bud, Erin, and I were reminiscing about some of our many adventures and one in particular got us laughing. Well, it was more so her laughing at it since it was at my expense and well, I’m still reeling from the whole experience.

Picture it… the Montmartre district of Paris where all the artists come out at night like crickets on a Mississippi river bank. One of the women in our group was looking forward to visiting this area as she’d been there before many years ago. Not having heard of this area, I asked her what it was all about. She told me it was where the famous Sacre Coeur church was and it was the area where all the local artists hung out and many sold their pieces. Big woop, I thought. At this point, if I saw another boring church I was going to scream. I didn’t want to see any more churches… seen one, seen ’em all, and I had zero interest in seeing starving artists peddling their wares. I was more interested in sipping hot chocolate somewhere in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, or hitting the shops on the Champs. Our group was heading to Montmartre and therefore, so was I.

Looky, looky, an artist doing a beautiful portrait of a girl. Imagine that. (courtesy of vigoenfotos.com)

We had wandered around the lovely cobblestone streets visiting the various little shops before coming across the “square” where many artists were roaming around with canvases in hand, offering to do sketches of random people. I sauntered around and watched several of the artists as they did sketches of various tourists who now dotted the area. Some weren’t bad, some were awful and some did pure magic.

I stood and watched one guy do beautiful portraits of a number of individual teenaged girls. I befriended the school group who turned out to be on a class trip from Alabama. I should point out at this moment that these kids were really outgoing and friendly, but certainly weren’t first in line when God was handing out good looks if you know what I mean. What amazed me was that the artist I’d been watching was turning out incredibly beautiful sketches of these not so great looking girls. Each one would see her finished product and just delight in the portrait. This guy was good! I stayed and spoke with several of the kids about their trip and where they’d been, and where they were going and school life back in Alabama compared to school in Eastern Canada. After the last girl was finished a number of the girls told me that I should get this guy to do my portrait. I didn’t want to. I saw that Erin had found a great table in front of one of the cafes and I was in the mood for hot chocolate, not a portrait. But then the artist started his selling technique and tried to talk me into getting my portrait done. I hesitated, but then finally gave in.

I’m stupid.

I stood still for about 10 minutes while this numskull sketched my portrait. I admit, I was actually starting to get excited and was looking forward to seeing the finished product. Several of the kids I’d spoken to were now watching the artist do my picture. They’d “ooh and ahh” as he finished one part, and they’d whisper to each other “it’s beautiful”, or “wow, he’s captured her eyes perfectly.” On and on it went. I watched him work under the stress of so many pairs of eyes watching his every move. The anticipation was killing me.

He finally announced it was finished, signed his name and ripped the sheet from his book. He turned it around for me to see.

This is what I was expecting….

I don’t look like this either, but at least he could have embellished a little!

This is similar to what I got….

This artwork itself is very good with great techniques/shadows/etc, however, no offense to the artist of this drawing, but if this were the finished product of my portrait I’d be screaming at this one too. (artist: Tom Richmond)

I nearly screamed.

It was awful.

Horrible.

My heart sank.

I was crushed.

I was hideous… like some sort of monster from a horror movie… some god-awful creature from the underworld. Okay, I’m getting carried away here, but it was a terrible drawing.

I knew it was awful when I went over to where Erin and some of the others were sitting. I rolled up the portrait like an old scroll. Erin was polishing off her creme brulee and said, “Oh, did you get one done? Let’s see it.”

I shifted my stance and decided to change the subject. “I think I’ll get a hot chocolate.”

“Let’s seeeeee it.” Erin urged.

I advised the others that it was awful and they sang out, “Ohhh commmmmme onnnn, it can’t be that bad.”

I opened the rolled up paper and showed them. They said nothing. Finally Erin, being as politically correct as she is, says “It’s… it’s really nice.”

“Its’ awful.” I said flatly.

“What’s wrong with it?” one of the women in our group said.

“If I look like this, I shouldn’t be allowed in public.” I advised. (Yes, I’m this vain.)  I was starting to get angry at the thought of the portrait. Afterall, why were all the other sketches of those other girls so beautiful? Why wasn’t mine as nice as theirs? I had no answers but I did have an awful portrait. This was terrible. What could have been a lovely moment to remember quickly turned into an event to forget. Ugh.

I was utterly disgusted and sour faced as we descended down the hill with the group…. wondering if I should take up residence as the Quasi Modo of the century at Notre Dame. (I wasn’t being serious, but hey, I was sour.)

Now, all this being said, I should mention that I shouldn’t really be criticizing anyone’s artwork because I cannot draw worth a lick. In fact, this is my own self-portrait….

’nuff said, right?

Once I got back home to Canada, I unpacked the hideous portrait and while contemplating keeping it, I just couldn’t bear the thought of seeing it again. I ripped it up… never to be seen again.

I should point out that two years after this incident, Erin and I visited Paris again, and even went to Montmartre.  Remembering the ordeal I suffered the last time, she smiled when we got to the artist area and said slyly, “Getting your portrait done again?”

I hate her.

Just kidding. We did have a good chuckle over it … although I think she was laughing slightly harder than I was.

Beating the rush in London…

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When taking my second trip to Paris, I decided to take the leap and hook in a couple days to jolly ole’ England and hit London. I hadn’t been there and with all the hype of the (then) Royal nuptuals taking place in only a few months, I thought it would be the perfect time to swindle a side trip to this great city.

With the itinerary already set in place for activities in Paris, it left me and Erin a short amount of time for London. After deciding our best option was to fly there we realized we’d be hitting the ground running since it worked out to be that we would have less than 48 hours in London. That’s not much time to see anything, but we were glad to take the option.

Now, not being familiar with European airlines, we booked Easy Jet, a discount airline with incredibly reasonable rates. And that’s just what we were looking for…  a cheap flight for a rediculously quick trip. This is where the motto “You get what you pay for” comes into play.

Yah, there’s a reason these people are running to the plane…

We hopped the train in Paris to the airport, checked in, and were seated in the lounge area waiting for the boarding call. The announcement comes, and immediately about 80 people started lining up. We thought they were nuts.

The people who line up for any flight as soon as the gate agent calls for pre-boarding always baffled me. Suuuure, get the in the lineup so you are the first one on the plane and you can sit down for 30 minutes while the rest of us get on. It’s not like the first ones on the plane get better food (or any food in most cases), a better seat or get to the destination any faster, right?

Erin looked at me and said, “What seat are you?”

I looked at my ticket, ” Hmmmm… oh… 35 I think. I guess each seat is numbered individually, not the row itself.”

The people in the line start moving and after the majority were gone, we joined the last of the passengers and went to the plane. Imagine the shock when we got there and realized it was sheer chaos. I wasn’t in seat number 35…. that must’ve been my ticket number. The seats on this plane had no numbers, they were on a first come, first served basis. It was a freakin’ free-for-all. People were pushing and shoving and getting angry with one another, it was like we were all kids and someone had broken a pinata full of airplane seats and everyone was scrambling trying to get one. It was nuts. No damn wonder people were lining up inside the airport. Erin and I somehow managed to find two seats together and sat down. My nerves were shot and I was frazzled. How on earth did this whole rediculous  no-assigned-seat idea come together? All my life we’ve heard how refined, how well mannered, how socially proper the English were, so what the hell was this???

We arrived to a foggy day in London, took another train and were on way to the city centre. We were smart enough to book the London Pass which gave us admittance to many London attractions for one low price – that is, for as many as we could squeeze in during our stay. We also bought tickets for the London double decker bus hop on – hop off tour. I couldn’t very well go to London and not get on the double decker bus.

I made it to London!

Travelling with Erin is like travelling with Rand McNally in human version. She maps out cities in her mind weeks, if not months, before we ever arrive. It helped that Erin had previously been to London once already and she never forgot a detail. Nope. Not one.

Imagine my delight when while strolling through Picadilly Circus I stumbled upon one of the greatest places on earth — Whittard of Chelsea. A freakin’ tea/coffee/hot chocolate store. I’d hit my hot-choco-holic shangrila. This place was too good to be true. Tins of hot chocolate in all sorts of heavenly flavours… cinnamon, rocky road, coconut, orange, and others. It was unreal. I loaded up with three cannisters, one each of Luxury Dark, Cinnamon and of course the Coconut. After all, I had no idea if the rest of our tour of the city would bring us to another one of these amazing stores. Turned out, Whittard of Chelsea is to London what Tim Horton’s is to Canada. They were just about on every street corner.

My Hot Chocolate Shangrila….

We made our way through the city on our double decker bus, wind in our hair, fog in our eyes, and we blew past famous landmarks and highlights…. Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Parliament buildings.

We took a ride on the London Eye (that did wonders for my fear of heights anxiety), the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels, and of course Covent Garden. Erin waited all day to get to Covent Garden. While I was in heaven over my hot chocolate purchases, she was eagerly awaiting her arrival at the Thornton’s store – a popular chocolatier. No damn wonder. It was unreal. Somewhere around £45 later, we were armed with sufficient confectionaries for the night (yes, that’s right, she loves chocolate like I do…).

It was getting late and we still had to hit Harrod’s. There was no way I was going to London and not going to Harrod’s. It was just as I’d dreamed…. it was over the top in every way, but over the top in a really really good way. I loaded up on Harrod’s memoriabilia… loving every bit of it… bags, keychains, passport holders, chocolate bars, coasters, jams, mugs, etc.

We awoke in our hotel the next day and made our way back to the airport for the return flight on “cattle airlines”. It was then, as we stood in the line for boarding that we realized we could only take ONE carry-on onto the plane. One. We had three each. If we had more than one, we’d have to return to the check-in counter at the front of the aiport, pay the fee for checked baggage, then check the surplus bags, and potentially miss the entire flight. So we had a really big problem.

We’d already positioned ourselves to be near the head of the line when they opened the gates and allowed everyone out to the mad scramble to the plane, so now we just had to figure a way to combine our three bags into one each. It was no easy feat. I’d be prepared to leave behind clothes, but there was no way I was leaving behind my new London stuff. No way. I already felt a loyal committment to my purchases and if they couldn’t go, then neither could I. We could hear the gate agents as they approached people with more than one bag, advising them to return to check-in. They were getting closer to us… we were getting panicky… could we do it? Could we stuff things so much as to get down to the limit? The guy in front of us was told to go back to the check-in.

The lady looked at me and Erin. Then I too, looked at Erin. She looked “puffy”. Little wonder, she was wearing all her clothes, all at once. I wanted to laugh, but didn’t dare as we were being given the “once over” by the lady. I’d managed to stuff most of my contents into the large Harrod’s bag I’d bought the night before. It wasn’t easy to do. I was wearing everything else… my jacket pockets were stuffed with individually wrapped truffles and packets of fudge, I’d also managed to put on two sweaters, and if I had access to a couple of paperclips I would have transformed two of my big hot chocolate cannisters into a pair of earrings. I was desperate, what can I say. We passed the inspection and got ready for the “running of the bulls” to the plane. I wondered if the airport authority knew the charades that happened with this airline, I mean, people nearly being trampled to death to get a seat.. surely there must be liability issues here. And hey, I was willing to do the trampling if it was necessary… come hell or high water, we were getting seats together.

It’s surprising how quickly Erin and I moved despite being weighed down with clothes, Harrod’s items and chocolate. We managed to get two seats together…. and our third seat-mate appeared to be a young British businessman who sucked back quite a few drinks during the short flight. Hey, can’t blame him, if it was his first time on this airline his nerves were likely shot like mine were.

Regardless of the whole airline escapade, the trip to London was spectacular. Can’t wait to go back… and maybe have more than 48 hours the next time.

Okay fellow readers… my enquiring mind wants to know….What’s YOUR favorite thing about London?

Starbucks… for the socially elite, apparently.

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Starbucks, or rather, the patrons that use Starbucks drive me crazy. Earlier this week, I popped into Chapters bookstore which has a Starbucks inside. I had no intention of getting anything from Starbucks, mainly because I’ve had their hot chocolate a couple of times before and don’t find it overly good. That being said, I will buy it if the mood strikes me and I’m too lazy to drive to a Second Cup location to buy theirs. (by the way, I do consider myself a hot chocolate aficionado) As for Starbucks, I also find them disgustingly overpriced for a product that is just “okay”. I often wonder if they should change the name from Starbucks to FiveBucks because no matter what you buy, you aren’t getting out of there for less than five bucks. But I digress.

A couple of dedicated authors working on their next best seller. hahaha

After wandering the bookshelves in Chapters I got the hankering for an uber fattening hot chocolate treat. As I approach the Starbucks section of the store, it is as if people stop their private conversations and watch me approaching, some of them with looks of disapproval. The many “once-overs” from the women sitting in groups of two or three, the glances over their designer eyeglasses from a few of the metro-sexual men sitting reading their Wall Street Journals, the mid-sip-pause from the snooty table of two 20-somethings, and my favorite the full-typing-stop from the bozos who bring their laptops to Starbucks to sit and write their next New York Times bestselling novel or their next Hollywood screenplay blockbuster. Do they think the other patrons wonder if they are sitting amongst the next John Grisham or J.K. Rowling? “Oh wowwww… look… those guys are writing what appears to be a book… I wonder what chapter they are on… they are obviously big time writers on a time crunch to meet their publisher’s next deadline and they’re creatively inspired sitting here amongst the every day people.”  Gimme a break. Meanwhile, they are probably parked on a random page of Wikipedia and their Facebook is minimized until you pass by. Regardless of why they bring their laptops, here I was being stared at like I was a lone zebra along the river bank surrounded by crocodiles… obviously a very poorly dressed zebra in my non-designer clothes and driving my domestic car at that.

The whole staring scenario instantly reminded me of a trip to South Beach, Miami, a number of years back. It was New Year’s Eve and the various South Beach hotels where just party-central. Me and my friends finally got in, that is, after one of the guys we were with had given the oversized, bulldog-looking doorman something like $600 just to gain admittance. As we walked alongside the infinity pool, my cool sort of yes-I-belong-here demeanor had been scratched for a “holyyyyyy cowwwwwww” open-mouthed gaze once I realized how much money was “walking” around in there… I must’ve had the same facial expression of an Amish farmer visiting Manhattan for the first time. I felt like it was obvious I didn’t belong there with the likes of such high society. As we passed one of the pool-side cabanas, one of the guys inside looked at us and said, “Uhhhh… time to go back to your highway motel, isn’t it?”  Niiiiice. I hope that someone spilled a drink on his couture dress shirt during the night, or had some potential hook up slap him across the face, or the Fat Albert looking, oversized doorman threw him into the pool before midnight. Not that it mattered, I had a great time that night anyway.

And so here I was in Starbucks and feeling the same way. I approach the counter and the slim guy with no smile and a bad attitude asks me what I want. I look up at the menu, then at him and say quietly, “A medium hot chocolate please. Oh, I mean a Grand hot chocolate, please.” Then I chuckled and said, “Not hard to tell I don’t come here often, huh?” He didn’t crack a smile, rather he looked incredibly insulted. He enters my order on his little register and corrects me by saying , “So one Grahhhn-dayyyyy hot chocolate? Is that all?” I think I blushed at my own stupidity at this point. How “uneducated” of me to mispronounce the size of the drink I wanted. Faux pas or what? I imagined the gasps from the people sitting at their tiny tables when I didn’t even pass the ordering test.

I proceed to the end of the counter to await my mediocre tasting beverage that I just paid nearly five bucks for, got insulted by the male barista, and got odd looking stares from the other customers. If I wanted to be treated like this and pay for it, I’d sit in the front row of Yuk-Yuks on amateur night. But anyway…

A tall, espresso with half this-quarter this-quarter that, double shot, whip of this.

As I said, I humbly wait for my order but watch as other high-feeling show offs confidently place their orders. This woman steps up and says her order so fast that it sounded like she was one of those professional speed-talkers at an auction at Christy’s. The male jerk behind the counter rhymes it off back to her, “So that’s a venti half-skinny half-1 % extra hot split quad shot latte with vanilla cinnamon cayenne and whip?” I rolled my eyes as she hauled out her (undoubtedly a knock-off) Louis Vuitton wallet and adjusted her equally fake Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. She nodded and continued her overly loud conversation with her (who I assume) international business partner on their third quarter earnings and humongous earning projections for 2012. That was followed by the next customer who also spoke in a loud voice so everyone could hear her conundrum of having to get a silver BMW for her daughter because her daughter didn’t like the black one she had. Oh the injustice in this world. It seems like Starbucks attracts people who feel it’s a status symbol to buy the Starbucks brand of coffee and who want to flaunt their finances so everyone can hear.

 Can someone please tell me how did a coffee shop become high society??? They sell coffee, tea, hot chocolate and what looks like 10 day old baked goods for crying out loud. (The lemon pound cake and muffins looked like they were for “display” only… like the bakeries I saw in Germany and Italy that had replicas of their delicacies in their window made from either styrofoam or plastic so they wouldn’t spoil or need to be replaced.) The “goodies” from this Starbucks looked the same. The lemon loaf looked like a little rectangle of particle board with white, cracked paint for icing. But I digress…

One of the female baristas puts my cup on the counter and announces it as “One grahhhhn-day hot chocolate.” I get looks from the customers who were behind me as if this were a fancy restaurant and while they ordered the escargot and filet mignon I just ordered a glass of tap water.  My hot chocolate is suddenly ordinary and boring … apparently not even fancy enough to be sold at such a place… like this was the drink that homeless people, or people without luxury cars or designer clothes would buy. You aren’t anyone in this world until you order a European sounding beverage with four kinds of milk, half this – half that, several pumps of flavour shots and spiced with items only found in indo-asian markets that are hand-ground with tiny mortar and pestles by direct descendants of Ghandi himself.

I think Starbucks and the snooty people who go there need to seriously get over themselves. It’s a coffee shop, not an Aston Martin dealership. Not to mention, Starbucks are located in every po-dunk town, strip mall and airport around the world — not just solely on Rodeo Drive or at the Louvre in Paris.

Now this is heaven...

I think I’ll stick to my incredibly delicious, not-quite-so-expensive, large hot chocolate at Second Cup and only go to Starbucks when I want to feel like an outsider… a sort of nobody who just enjoys a good ole hot chocolate.  ;o)