Yesterday morning, running late for a 9am meeting, I figure I can squeeze in a Starbucks drive-thru stop (since it’s conveniently located on the corner of the only way in and out of our neighbourhood). I pull in and the chipper voice asks what she can get started for me.

I begin to anticipate the feel of the warm liquid in my throat. I possibly even involuntarily smile imagining the subtle vanilla and coffee smell that will permeate the car. The morning sun shines just a little brighter, the fall colours seem a little more vibrant. The Current is on and I could be mistaken, but I think I notice a barely imperceptible shift of tone in Anna Maria Tremonti’s voice at that exact moment. Is she enjoying a morning latte too, I wonder? The car in front of me inches forward and without glancing down I dig my hand into my purse, looking for my wallet. Last spring I received a really beautiful Starbucks gift card as a thank you gift and it broke down my long-held stand against reloading coffee cards…it’s just so pretty, and I feel a special kinship with the chipper drive-thru people when they comment on it.

I search for the familiar worn leather beneath my fingertips but to no avail. No wallet. Anywhere. Not on the console, passenger seat, floor. Oh dear. Awkward. I pull up to the window and the chipper blond barista. “I seem to have forgotten my wallet…I could come back later and pay for my drink, or I could just keep driving…it’s up to you”. She smiles, “Oh, don’t worry about it. You’re in here every day anyway.” I take the drink from her outstretched hand and thank her. Perfect! A free latte!

But wait…did she say that I’m in every day? I am NOT in every day. Three times a week at most. But not every day. Because if I spent five dollars each day on coffee I would be a Scotiabank poster child…”Look at how much money you could save if you gave up your morning latte?” And it would insinuate that I lacked the time-management skills and environmental commitment to make my own latte and throw it in a to-go cup. And it would most likely mean that I had a physiological dependence on caffeine. I can drink herbal rooibos tea anytime I want…I just don’t choose to very often. So thanks for the free latte and accompanying guilt trip Miss-Cute-and-Chipper-Blond-Barista. Have a lovely day.  See you tomorrow morning.