Erik Estrada, Lime Green and a Hobo…
What do those three things and Wards Road have in common? Starbucks.
This happens to be a regular destination spot for me in the mornings, and today was no exception. After hitting “snooze” on my 7am alarm until 7:30, I had enough time to roll out of bed, take Joey out, and determine the best approach to the next 4 hours of my life. Today, it happened to be dressing up my “workout clothes” to look like “work clothes,” which amounted to black capris, a white dress shirt and a long lime green jacket over top.
If you’ve ever been to Wards Road Starbucks, you’ll know that in the AM’s it is high traffic. There are two doors, and if you walk through the right one, you can almost always beat anyone coming in the other door to your daily injection of caffeine. Today, I flew in the “right” door because I was two minutes from needing to be sitting in my cube on campus and nearly cut a lady off trying to secure my place in line. The good Samaritan in me overruled, and I stepped back allowing her to take the lead; but she insisted I move in front. No problem! I’m late! And then I noticed it…black capris, white shirt, blond hair, lime green jacket…
I was looking in a freaking mirror! To make the irony even more impossible, we were both carrying black and grey coach purses; if she’d only had an iPhone. I have no clue what her name is, but I might have fallen over if she’d said “Renee.” Seriously, who wears lime green? In SEPTEMBER? In LYNCHBURG!?!
This also happens to be the Starbucks where a year ago, I was standing in that very same line waiting to get my favorite fall drink – Pumpkin Spice Latte. I placed my order and was looking through my wallet and realized I’d left my credit card in my workout pants at home. I started to negotiate a deal with the barista, pleading my case and promising to return for my afternoon fix with money when I hear the guy behind me pipe up and say, “It’s okay, I’ve got her drink.”
What you must know about me is that I don’t take handouts. I do not like having people pay for things for me, largely because I always have a sense that I now “owe” them. I glanced at the man and politely said, “Thank you, but it’s okay, I can pay them later,” but he insisted, “I’ll have a grande coffee and her drink” as he passed them a 20 dollar bill.
Resigned, I actually turned and looked at him and as I am saying “Thank you,” I notice this man looks vaguely familiar…but who is he?…so I do what anyone else would do with a complete stranger: “By the way, my name is Renee Peckham (sticks out hand) what’s yours?” The stranger takes my hand, “Erik Estrada, nice to meet you.” Haha…Erik Estrada just bought me my tall pumpkin spice latte! How nice. (I have a picture for this but Pelle still needs to get it to me!)
We end up talking at the end of the bar, because if you haven’t gathered from my rants on here; that’s what I do. Minutes later, I am getting a picture with Erik to show my dad who may or may not have watched him in the 70’s when he played Ponch, helped him spell “vein” for the note he left on the Starbucks bulletin board (which is still there) and then gave him my cell number so he could come to Bullbranch next time he was in town.
Wait. I just gave my cell phone number to Erik Estrada?
Yes, yes I did.
Let’s just say I did get a few text messages, but it wasn’t to meet up at Bullbranch…and effectively ended all CMC between me and the married-to-a-beautiful-woman-with-a-seven-year-old-daughter-‘you’re old enough to be my dad’- “Ponch.”
So, what happened with the hobo? Well, last week I was fighting the flu, not swine to my knowledge, but I was sick. Starbucks always makes me happy, so I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, threw on black sweats, a black t-shirt and a black wrap around hoodie, a po-boy black hat and made my way with Joey to the ‘Bux. When I got there, I usually take Joey out to the bathroom and so I walked him down the parking lot to some grass for a minute and came back. I cracked the windows, left Joey in the car and walked inside to hear a familiar voice say: “Renee?” I turn around and there is Pelle, a standard fixture at one of the window seats every morning. “Renee, oh my gosh, I was about to ask you if I could buy you a donut because you looked like a homeless person walking their dog outside.”
Should I be insulted, embarrassed, or amused? Amused of course. ☺ I always opt for amused when it comes to life, and I just busted out laughing. I have been mistaken for quite a few things in my life, but “homeless” was a new one. Then I smiled, how great is it that there are still people like Pelle in the world who would see someone that apparently did not have a lot in life and would be willing to take the time to consider that plight and subsequently consider what they could do to better that person’s life, even for a moment.
Sometimes I am left wondering when I am going to get my “donut” in this life…maybe one day.