I sat in an upscale coffee bar on Fifth Avenue, drinking a cup of coffee, killing some time before my therapy appointment. I noticed on my iPhone that the establishment had wi-fi, but it required a password. I looked up towards the front counter, where the bearded barista was creating a little foam heart in a latte, and saw a little sign tacked onto the front counter that read “password on receipt.” Ten minutes earlier, when I went to add some milk to my coffee, I tossed my receipt into the swinging door of the metallic garbage receptacle.
The hipster barista had a friendly face, even a nicely-trimmed beard, and he was only a few feet away. The cafe wasn’t crowded, with only two giggly private school girls on line, probably playing hooky during the afternoon. All I had to do was stand up from my plastic chair, go over to the barista at the front counter, smile at him, and say, “Oh, I threw away my receipt. Can I have the password?”
But my mind started playing tricks on me. In quick succession, these are my actual thoughts, “Oh, he seems busy. Nah, why bother. I can just use data rather than wi-fi. I have unlimited data so it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to bother him. Maybe he will have to print out another receipt, and then everyone will have to wait longer for their orders. Maybe the password WASN’T on my receipt, and only given to those who order a pastry or a sandwich, and the barista will have to say — in front of everyone — “I’m sorry, Sir. You only had a cup of coffee. And not even a fancy cup of coffee, just a regular American cup of coffee. You don’t DESERVE the password to the wi-fi.”
I never asked for the password, and I got so pissed at myself for how my thoughts took something incredibly unimportant and escalated it into a battle of wills.
I will be posting something on this blog each day, for the entire month of March.