I had the freakiest, scariest experience this morning.

I woke and prepared for my day. My partner and I discussed plans and schedules, and I headed out the door for my commute.  It was a fairly smooth drive, and I earned points on Waze for updating gas prices and adding a marker for active police.  (I have my shield now! Yay!)

I exited the interstate at my typical off-ramp, noticing that the “faster” route was actually blocked due to a crash and being glad that I had established this routine. I yawned and confirmed an earlier decision: I needed coffee.  I turned on my blinker and moved into the left lane.

I checked the time.  7:48.  Plenty of time to get through the crowded drive-through before my 8:30 meeting.

I turned left at the stoplight, and decided I would pick up a cup of coffee for my boss as well.  Pike Place. Black, no room. Venti.

I turned right into the shopping center. The time was 7:49. As I crossed through the parking lot, I took a deep breath. It’s the 1st of the month: payday. This drive-through is almost always full and slow. I prepared myself to drive around the parking lot so that I could establish The Line in a way that doesn’t block the entrance.

I approached the stop sign.  Something was wrong.  The view ahead looked awfully sparse. I wasn’t sure what this meant. I wouldn’t have to drive around the parking lot, so that was good.

I crossed the street, into the parking lot. I looked to my right and saw…


Not a single car.

There was not a car at the menu board.

There were not any cars behind the menu board

There were not any cars between the menu board and the window.

There was not even a car at the drive-through window.

What. The. Fuck.

It’s the first of the month: military payday. Paydays and Fridays always have hordes of people waiting in the drive-through line, darting through the line to park and go inside.

What is happening?

I began to panic.

Was there a water main break?

Was there an electrical outage?

Did the POS system not work?

Oh dear sweet eight-pound baby Jesus on a pogo stick, WHAT IS HAPPENING AT STARBUCKS?!?!

Take a breath, hedwyg.

That’s good. Now take another.

Your fears may be unfounded.

Just drive up to the menu board.

Thank you for choosing the Battlefield Starbucks. What can we get started for you today?

Oh Jesus. Oh Mary, Mother of God.

It is a miracle! You have cleared the Starbucks drive-through line at 7:49am on a Wednesday, military payday, two days before a holiday weekend!  Oh thank you, Lord, for this demonstration of  your grace! I know I do not deserve your favor.  I will drink my venti skinny caramel latte to your everlasting glory!

You know, O God, that I’m not completely joking there.  I mean, you know I’m a smartass, and you know I indulge in hyperbole occasionally, to heighten the sense of drama.  I learned it from Jesus, because pluck out  your eye? Really?!

So yeah, I am totally thankful for the miracle of coffee, for whatever weird geniuses were involved in picking beans, roasting them, grinding them up, and pouring boiling water through them. And I am thankful for the empty drive-through line. You know, because you were watching, that I really was anxious when I saw such emptiness in the parking lot. Thank you for this little gift today, this love note from you, tangible and helpful and real.