Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The price of a Christmas coffee

It's midafternoon on Christmas day. The boys have been up since 5:25, after having stayed up many hours past their bedtime on Christmas Eve. Presents have been played with, DVDs have been watched, and no healthy food has been consumed. They are, in a word, done.

And yet, they are refusing to nap. I wouldn't ordinarily expect Tristan to nap, except he outlasted his brother the night before by a solid hour or two, and has been sneezing all over the house, shooting snotrockets onto toys, books, DVDs, and his unappreciative family. The boys desperately need a nap. So, for that matter, do I. Since I'm unlikely to get one in any circumstance, I figure I'd rather they nap than none of us nap and I bundle them up for a ride in the car.

I hope that by the time they are old enough to drive they overcome their car-triggered narcolepsy, but for now I am grateful that in the five minutes it takes me to drive through the nearest Tim Hortons and head for the country roads south of Barrhaven, they are inevitably fast asleep.

I head to the nearest Tim's, already yawning myself, and am shocked when I arrive. They are closed. Tim Hortons is closed. I take this for an abberation, and drive to one that is attached to a convenience store, reasoning they must be open.

They are not. Neither are the other three Tim Hortons to which I drive in an increasingly agitated state. I am not impressed. There should be some sort of national ordinance compelling Tim's to be open every day. Don't get me wrong, I'm no scrooge. I know it's Christmas Day, and the minimum wage workers deserve to be home with their families as much as the next guy. But the boys are by now asleep, I have at least an hour to kill in the car, and I've had about half my required sleep the last couple of nights. This is no minor inconvenience. I NEED A COFFEE.

I briefly debate the merits of running in to a gas station for what will inevitably be a really terrible cup of coffee, but guiltily remember what happened the last time I left the boys sleeping in the car and decide against it. No cup of coffee is worth that kind of anxiety.

Then, it occurs to me that Tim Horton isn't the only game in town. In fact, just this past summer, a Starbucks drivethrough opened - the first one in Barrhaven.

The Canadian coffee drinking world falls into one of two camps - the Starbucks crowd, and the Tim Hortons crowd. And ne'er the two shall meet. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I am almost praying as I pull off Woodroffe and peer into the windows of the Starbucks - and sure enough, they are open.

I really can't stomach their regular coffee, but I'm a fan of the occassional skinny latte. I order myself a grande, and tip the barrista half the price of the (already ridiculously overpriced) latte in gratitude.

For close to 90 minutes, I make my usual contented loops through the countryside south of Ottawa, from Manotick to Kars to North Gower to Richmond to Stittsville and back. I sip my Christmas latte contentedly and consider switching teams. If it weren't four times the price, I could get used to this.