I can’t say I really wanted to see the top of a mountain during our anniversary trip to New Mexico. Winding roads and hairpin turns at exceeding altitude makes me nauseous. Plus, I know I should enjoy the view from the top. Believe me, I know. I’ve spent years feeling guilty, like maybe there’s something wrong with me for the apathy I feel for the view. But I am married to an adventurer, and the man loves to conquer. If there’s a higher elevation and it’s available to him, he wants to see it. So I gave him the gift of yes.
It’s like I have a personal policy against dressing appropriately. The cream colored sleeveless sundress left me ill-quipped for the 45 degrees and windy walk from the car to the summit. Add to that good decision the leather flip flops I bought from Cracker Barrel, whose gift shop should never be understated. But the flips are head shoes, not feet shoes. I wear them for my soul, not my soles.
We had missed our breakfast opportunity, so Peter was especially delighted when the mountain top café opened just as we arrived. He has introduced me to a breakfast of eggs, sunny side up with a side of toast and crispy bacon, and I can’t get enough of that goodness. Add a side of hash browns, and I’ll be your best friend.
So, Peter ordered “two eggs up” with a side of bacon, even though they weren’t on the menu. “Can you make them anyway?”
“Well, yes, sir. I believe we could.”
I swear that man can make anything happen. It’s the wink and a smile.
As we were paying for our breakfast, two men came down the stairs and into the café. (Let’s be honest. It was really more like a summer camp snack bar and a gift shop. A gift shop that’s willing to make eggs for a man whose charm could sell ice to a penguin.) Of the two men, one seemed to be a guide, and he was caring for a man with pretty severe special needs. The guide was probably in his thirties, and the other man was probably in his fifties, though it can be hard to determine age in those situations.
The older man wanted coffee. Needed coffee. He didn’t have the verbal skills to ask for what he needed, he didn’t have the occupational skills to stand in line, and he didn’t have the social skills to be patient. He went right behind the counter to get a cup, and he tried to dispense coffee out of the espresso machine. His guide tried to talk him out of it, create a diversion, convince him to stand in line. But no dice. The man needed coffee.
The café manager appeared, a tall man in a sharp tweed suit. “Bro! Bro!” he said. He was kind and patient, but he wanted to get both men to the right side of the counter before somebody got hurt.
The guide became suddenly frantic. “Please, can we get his coffee? Here is my credit card. Please. I can’t control him until he’s had his coffee. Please, sir. He’s going to start attacking people.”
“Attacking people?” said Tweed. We later learned that his name was Darren. But Tweed is more fun.
A moment before, Peter had just told me he needed to find a restroom. I’m not one to tell him no, but no. I was going to need you to stay exactly right here.
Tweed ran up the stairs and outside for help. It turns out the volatile guy had escaped from the safe supervision of his group. It was his guide’s first day on the job, and he was alone with a person who required the presence of two guides at all times. And now there was no coffee. It was a perfect storm.
Tweed brought help, though what he really needed was a magic coffee wand. The whole scene de-escalated as the coffee finally brewed and they escorted the man outside. (To the top of a mountain. The whole scene raised so many questions and all of my eyebrows.)
All of that to say, ever since that memorable encounter, Peter begins his day with a new strategy. “If I don’t get my coffee soon, I may start attacking people.”
I feel like our meet-cute at Starbucks may have gone differently if he had known this approach back then. Just saying.