When I was 18 years old, I moved to Ottawa to attend University. For me, the city of Ottawa was a big scary world; I was new to the city leaving behind my family and friends, racking up debt in order to pursue an education in the hopes it would provide me with some sort of amazing career. (At the time, I had no idea what career I really wanted. Well, that’s not quite true – I did, even back then. But, I decided to work towards something that would say I was serious about life, and began a slow trek towards Law School. A slow trek, where I got stuck.) Only later in life, did I start the quest to do the thing, writing, that I really wanted to do.
Nonetheless, I lived in residence at University and I learned how to take the bus – and only one bus – the #7 that would carry me from University to the heart of Ottawa. The downtown core of Ottawa became my beacon of light; the lighthouse that overlooked black water and navigated me home. It was the place where I found time to relax, breathe, and enjoy life – while taking in all the things the downtown area offered such as shopping, eating, or going to museums such as the National Art Gallery.
To this day, this is what the core of Ottawa with it’s malls and smaller shops, the ByWard Market, the Rideau Center, and the National Art Gallery means to me. It is a place to recharge, to breathe and to take in all that life has to offer.
Today was the day, I would go downtown after work, go shopping for green clothes (St. Patty’s Day is just around the corner!), maybe pay extra and workout at one of the downtown gyms, and top it off with a trip to Starbucks for some sort of different drink. I would go, and make time for me!
By the end of the day though, something had happened. I felt a baby cough that plagued me all day that was a small annoyance. As a person that suffers 6 months of the year from various allergies, I assumed that was the reason for my discomfort. But by the time 4 PM arrived, the sniffles had joined the party. I was on the edge of a cold I was certain, and as I dragged my tremendously heavy grey hiking shoes across the parking lot at the end of the workday, I began to reconsider my decision to do any of the things that I planned at the start of the day.
The question I asked myself was: how angry are you going to be tomorrow, if you don’t go downtown tonight? The answer I knew was: ROYALLY.
I decided against the quest for the green ensemble tonight. I have a full week till St.Patty’s Day, after all. But I felt the pressure of trying something different mounting as my sabbatical continued longer than anticipated after my vegan change.
This was the challenge: try the Blonde Espresso at Starbucks. As I contemplated whether I was indeed getting a cold or not, I balked at the Espresso drink. If I needed to take drugs in order to combat the cold and get some sleep before tomorrow’s workday, I didn’t want to send my body into convulsions with a caffeinated beverage followed swiftly by a cold depressant (most likely) that would force me to sleep.
Besides The London Fog has been under consideration since October of last year when I first saw it. Tonight, I decided was the night.
As I strolled up to the barista standing at the counter, my eyes danced on the menu board in search of the drink. But the drink was not listed. Was I too late? Would it be one of those drinks that only arrives in the fall, and it is forbidden from being consumed until the season is upon us again?
I braced myself in preparation for disappointment as the barista asked if she could help me. I decided I would be brave and in spite of the missing item on the menu, I asked with already a hint of disappointment in my voice, “Do you happen to have the London Fog?”
“We do.” She answered as she reached for a tall cup.
I was happy to be able to try it, but I was certain there was coffee in the London Fog and still fearing the mixture of caffeine/cold depressants I sniffled and said, “Is it possible to have a short?” (Yeah, it’s the baby, baby size.)
She said it was. As I struggled to get my Starbucks App to load I sniffled and babbled that I didn’t know what was in it. The staff always helpful, answered my question that I didn’t directly ask and said, “It’s earl grey tea, vanilla, and milk.”
I looked up in shock. I WAS AFRAID OF NOTHING.
I settled into my small round table with a view of people running and walking along Metcalfe Street. In the background of my favorite coffee shop, gentle music played at the perfect decibel. As my lips went over the smooth, soft, creamy foam my London Fog felt like a dessert on my perfect tea. It was the perfect way to end a long week. Cold be damned.
The only problem? As my London Fog was cooler in temperature, I drank it in about 5 minutes flat. So much for savouring something delicious.
It seems to have disappeared.
Dare I say it?
Dare I write it?
So far in the last year, I have been cold and flu free. It must be all the black tea I drink.
I may have just tempted fate with that last written part.