Today was one of those days where I was sensitive about everything and it started when I woke up. I was in a rest area in Washington. Their rest areas serve free coffee and treats, it is normally non profit volunteers that sit and man these stations. My “weed” smoking friend from yesterday explained all this to me. I used the facilities and decided to get a coffee and a cookie, I was going to donate a couple of bucks and be on my way. I approached the area (think elementary school store), I asked for a coffee and spotted the cookie I wanted. It was buried under a peanut butter one that I reluctantly ate the night before. I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I reached for the one I wanted, grabbed it, kinda bobbled it and recovered. As all this was going on one silver-haired women, who was manning the cookie plate, with brow furrowed, scolded me. “You are not to grab your own cookie.” she stated with authority. This firmness in speech caught me off guard. Another silver-haired lady, who was manning the coffee pot, stop pouring my free cup. I was bewildered and then got slightly miffed. I then decided to deposit the cookie into the trash, apologize over my error in judgment and walk away as the coffee ‘lady’ tried to hand me my coffee.
As I drove down the highway, I thought how a stupid little thing like that got me upset and how foolish I must have looked walking away from, not one but two, old women who were just trying to raise money by dispensing “free” cookies and coffee, at least they got a couple of bucks, I did envision them high fiving each other, with one saying to the other, “that guy is an a$$hole.” I stopped at the nearest Starbucks drive-thru, and my payback was swift. I had to wait about ten minutes to get a coffee since they were just brewing a fresh pot. They did give me a coupon for a free drink of my choice next time I stopped since I had to wait so long. I was very kind and kept thinking positive thoughts. I wanted to be rid of the bad juju I created twenty minutes before.
I had gone to a college summer baseball game in Bellingham last night and had a great time with another Ashland Oredocker that has lived out in Washington for the past 25 years. Linnea (Mackey) Nielsen along with her daughter, Jillian, met me at the game. Linnea and I caught up on all things Ashland. We discussed a wide variety of subjects; I loved it. Her daughter didn’t so much, but hung in there until the end of the game with bribes of hot dogs and ice cream. Jillian didn’t understand how a guy like me who was “a little bit” famous was living in a car and not in a house. I assured her that my “fame” was fleeting and that I hope that I would be able to afford a small apartment when I was done with driving my car around. As I left Bellingham last night and headed towards Tacoma I was feeling a lot of gratitude. I was also thinking of my daughter. We had gotten into a heated disagreement over something. Something I felt strongly about. I was going to text her and apologize for being so stern in my responses to her. When I pulled into the rest area, my daughter had already texted me about something else. I felt needed and content. Then I woke up to the coffee and cookies…
I went to a Tacoma Rainiers game today which they won in 14 innings, 4-3, over Sacramento. I was flustered and annoyed from the moment I arrived at the stadium. I loved the look and feel of the place that had recently been remodeled. You could see Mount Rainier from the outfield seating; however, I was told that the grass area was sold out. I needed to purchase a ticket that was twice as much. The lady said that I got a “free” drink with that ticket. I wanted to tell her that there is nothing “free”, but she was too young to understand. I was told that the area was in the new “R” deck in left field. I went to the area and was expecting smiles and maybe an “enjoy the game”, but I didn’t get any of that. I have begun to expect all that kind of stuff at baseball games and when it doesn’t happen, I notice and get a little upset.
Martie Cordero, of the Omaha Storm Chasers, has set the bar high. I measure all places against him and the Reno Aces. Tacoma is in dire need of Martie’s expertise! I got out to the left field area and was told I could only stay in a little area in the corner of the “R” deck. I was miffed that I wasn’t informed of this earlier. I went to get my “free” drink and ordered a burger. I was impressed that the burgers were made to order. In my head I thought that was a great idea since it would be probably be fresh meat and not the premade patties, I was wrong. The kid that gave me the “free” drink wasn’t very helpful and he actually rolled his eyes at an elderly couple that were ordering burgers, also. The kid that was preparing the burgers was sitting on the food prep table, I took a picture and tweeted to the Rainiers. The stadium seemed messy, the table I was sitting at had this oily film on it. I asked the elderly couple to check it just to have someone else’s opinion.
I left the “R” deck after a few innings, the ushers in the area were more interested in talking to each other and texting friends than actually helping patrons. Security seemed a little overzealous; but, I was thinking that I was now on high alert and needed to remove myself, since I kept looking at the grass area which only looked 20% full. I wandered around the stadium. I kept thinking, the Rainiers have so many positives and they just needed someone who understood hospitality. The first thing I would do would be to explain that a smile and a “thank you” goes a long way. Not all the staff were rude and one usher seemed to know a lot of the fans. I love seeing that; however, they have a long way to go to get to the level of the Storm Chasers. I left when the game ended in the 14th inning. My positive for the moment, the game was exciting to watch. The Rainiers acknowledged my Tweet, but their response felt like an empty acknowledgment.
I stopped at a Starbucks to get a Sweet Green Juice and a coffee for my drive to Portland, Oregon. Thankfully, I was in a better mood. Starbucks knows hospitality. I went through the drive thru, ordered my drinks and remembered I had a free one coming. I gave the coupon to the Barista manning the window and she promptly took the $2 off the bill. I asked why she deducted the least expensive of the two drinks. She asked if I would like the most expensive one deducted, I looked at her incredulously. I said that I would, she gave me a little attitude, I said thank you. I told her that her attitude was “noted”. I got on I-5 towards Portland and had one of those belly laughs, saying to myself, “it is definitely me!” “Happiness is a choice”, I told myself, and everyone is entitled to an ‘off day’. I had one, as did everyone else I came across today.
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