So I'm driving along in south Salem, after taking our recycling stuff to the D & O Garbage drop off site, and I find myself behind a 40-something woman on a scooter. We're both waiting for the light to change so we can turn onto Commercial Street.
Being a scooter rider myself -- albeit a much larger one than this lady was riding -- I'm always interested in how people are outfitted, especially in 32 degree weather like it was today.
The first thing I noticed were her bare hands, one of which, her left, was holding a cigarette. She'd take a puff, then return her hand to the handlebar grip, with the cig protruding between a couple of fingers.
That was a first for me, the sight of a motorcycle or scooter rider smoking while on the road. I also had never seen anyone riding around in (literal) freezing weather barehanded.
And the last "never before" was her helmet. It clearly was a bicycle helmet. The shape was bicycle'ish, and the grooves/vents running front to back were bicycle'ish.
As the light turned green, she went right and I went left at the "T" intersection.
I thought, Wow, that woman was defying discomfort and death in so many ways: smoking, riding a scooter without gloves when it's 32 degrees, protected (minimally) by a bicycle helmet.
That seemed both cool, in the non-climate sense, and stupid. Well, at least she made an impression on me.
A few blocks further on, I decided to get a non-fat vanilla latte at a drive-up coffee stand. The place was under new management, and apparently new baristas, because the latte was way hotter and less milky than my previous purchases.
My next stop was grocery shopping at Fred Meyer. I pictured the Starbucks within the store, especially the containers of cool milk sitting on the counter, conveniently mostly hidden from view of the Starbucks staff.
I pondered the ethics of the situation. I considered how often I buy coffee at Starbucks, the one in Fred Meyer and elsewhere, along with the special perks of my oft-used Starbucks Gold Card.
Did this include pouring Starbucks milk into an overly hot latte bought at a competing coffee stand? Probably not, legalistically. But I wondered, What would the woman on the scooter do?
Why, she'd do just what I did: choose a grocery cart with one of those drink holders, put the latte into it after removing the black "obviously not from Starbucks" lid, park the cart as much out of sight of the Starbucks baristas as possible, and confidently pick up the nonfat container, take it over to the cart, and pour some cool milk into my still steaming latte.
Afterwards I felt deliciously like a rebel, an outlaw, a marcher to the beat of my own drummer. Like that woman. Sort of. Well, just a little.
(Note to the Starbucks Blog-Post-Watching Security Force: when I order my usual grande Pike Place after Tai Chi class tomorrow, I shall put thirty-five cents into the tip jar rather than my usual quarter. This should even up our karmic milk account.)