Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How To Make a Woman Pay 2.50 For a Cupcake at Panera

"I mean, it's nice. But will it wash my car?"
Morning Readers,

I'm a hermit. I can admit it.

Contrary to popular opinion, my social life died a long time before I had kids (although, they do aggravate the condition to the point my interaction with other adults boils down to offering them a sippy cup of juice.) It takes a lot to extract me from the Split level and make sure I have shoes on.

The house is warm.

Going outside requires putting on a bra.

Driving the car and hoping the bumper doesn't fall off takes more effort than sitting on the couch and drinking coffee.

All are good reasons to just stay put. However, after the last two weeks of solid cabin fever, head colds, and watching the kids vote on whether or not they should kick me out, an invitation for coffee, from an old college friend, was just the motivation I needed to grab some leggings, find my coat, and get the hell out of Dodge.

As a kind of structured accident, I arrived earlier than the two people I was meeting, and decided to be proactive by using the time alone to sit in the front of the local Panera and stare into space, look at a daily paper that had been left out, and exclaim to passersby, "Can you believe they have eggs for ninety-nine cents until Wednesday?" Luckily, the rest of the patrons were saved from me cutting and handing out oil change coupons by my friend walking through the door.

"Coffee?"

"Coffee."

While I waited to get my credit card back, I perused the pastries under the glass case.

Three dollars for a muffin?
Three-fifty for a bear claw?
Two-fifty for a cupcake?

Perplexed, I walked back to the table and sat down. Who was buying baked goods that cost as much as a value pack of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? At least with those, you knew you were getting some mileage out of the purchase. Surely, the people buying those overpriced muffin tops and tarts were sad and didn't know the value of a dollar. And their counter tops didn't know the shine melamine foam brings.

For the next two hours, I put bakery resentment out of my mind and caught up on my friend's lives. We'd graduated, parted ways, been disillusioned by the world, and reunited just in time to realize we had children and no social lives. It was a thing of beauty.

"And you're feeling overworked?"
"Yep."
"Husband isn't reading your mind yet?"
"Nope."
"Get the urge to leave town without a note?"
"Absolutely."

Feeling a sort of euphoria from human interaction and mutual complaining, I bounced over to get more coffee for the ride home and, afterwards, jogged back up to the glass case by the register. "Gimme three of those exorabantly-priced cupcakes with the hearts on them."

"All three?"

I nodded. "Yeah, we'll just pay the mortgage next month."

You know who buys 2.50$ from Panera? Happy people. People who escape the house and find their zest for life again. And also probably people who really, really love cupcakes. Granted, that little trip cut into our grocery budget for the week, but that's what ninety-nine cent eggs are for.

Until Next Time, Readers!