I had a rare experience a couple weeks ago. It happened as I was pulling up to the Starbucks drive-thru. I aimed Luna (my car) into the narrow lane and was thrilled to see there wasn’t a line. The sun was shining, a light breeze was ruffling the trees. A wonderful day.
And then I realized — I had no idea what I wanted.
I always know what I want. I consider it before I leave the apartment. I know whether it’s an iced coffee or hot coffee kind of day. After I decide that, I cycle through my favorite options and find the right one to fit the day. And then I rehearse it in my mind because it usually has over four words. (What can I say? I’m complicated, and so is my coffee.)
Except that day. I kept going through my favorites, like the wheel of a bicycle going downhill. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t decide. I stared at the menu board with my mouth hanging open, hoping my order would speak itself.
It ended up sounding something like this: “Um.. hi… Could I get.. a… nonfat caramel macchiato? Um, iced, I mean. And half-caf? Please.”
What a mess! I have great respect for those baristas because they actually got it right. They didn’t even look at me like I was nuts when I rolled up to the window for my overly complicated drink.
I’m not that girl! I wanted to say. I do know how to order. Usually.
But sometimes I am that girl, the one who isn’t sure what she wants, who has to consider all the options before she decides. I’m great at planning, but sometimes all the planning in the world fades away when you’re sitting there, staring at the menu board, full of possibilities you hadn’t considered.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to reconsider. It’s okay to not know exactly what’s going to happen. Because isn’t that when life happens—when we let go of control?
Who knows. Maybe next time, I won’t even try to think of what I want. Maybe I’ll look at the menu board and order the first thing that pops into my head.
Here’s hoping it’ll come out a little more coherent. For the barista’s sake.