Tag Archives: Starbucks

Well connected

This was my first full week at home in a while. In the last month or so, I’ve spent 15 days in airports, some 20 airports in all, counting connections. You might say I’ve been going at terminal velocity.

Or you might say I’ve been on an extended hub crawl. (Okay, I stole that pun from a recent issue of the US Airways in-flight magazine; being that they graciously plugged my blog last year, I owe them attribution.)

This last wave didn’t yield epic tales, as previous trips almost always have. Thankfully, this time I’m left with just a few bits of footage, which remain stored in my mental DVR:

  • There was a medical emergency mid-flight. The crew called for a doctor to tend to an ailing passenger. The woman beside me—who had noticed the clinical trial data I was reviewing in preparation for moderating a medical program—tried  to volunteer me. “Aren’t you a doctor? Can’t you do something?” I wanted to tell her that if a doctor emerged, I’d be happy to introduce him, but that’s all I was qualified to do. Instead, I said nothing.
  • Before an early flight, I watched as a woman poured Starbucks coffee into a child’s sippy cup. I was horrified, but didn’t say anything.
  • One morning I stopped for breakfast at an airport restaurant called Real Food. I ordered a pancake and bacon. When I went to cut into the pancake with a knife and fork, it was so hard that it snapped my fork in two. I couldn’t even get my teeth through the bacon. I was tempted to accuse the manager of serving Pretend Food but instead I threw my breakfast Frisbee in the trash without saying a word.
  • At what I assume was a pet-friendly hotel, I watched a dog drop his business in a carpeted corridor and walk away nonchalantly with its owner. Not a peep out of me.

No, I’m just a frequent flyer who sits quietly in the gate area listening to the Bluetoothed blowhard (there’s one at every gate) loudly putting together the big corporate deal. And I shake my head at the Smartphone Sallies who fight over the last available outlet, scrounging for electricity as if it were crack cocaine.

My personal addiction? Airport jewelry kiosks. This credit card bill’s going to be a doozy. I already know these impulse buys are irresponsible, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything.


Filed under Travel

Not the end of the world

You may have noticed that Word Nymph didn’t post yesterday.

Following 100 consecutive daily posts (except Sundays), the streak was broken yesterday by a series of outages here in the Washington, D.C., area.  The irony is that yesterday I had planned to send out a hello-world-I’m-here notice about the 100th post.  The one person who asked me yesterday, “hey, where’s my blog?” pointed out that one never says a word when one is on any kind of a streak.  Like a pitcher headed toward a perfect game, I learned that I was about to speak too soon about Word Nymph‘s streak.

I don’t know if our power and cable outages made national news–because I have no TV service.  Internet comes and goes, and it was reported this morning that it could be some time before power is restored to the region.  The Washington area takes enough heat about its drivers.  You can only imagine what happens at a dark intersection.  Most of us are aware that, by law, intersections without working traffic lights are to be treated as four-way stops but, in typical Washington fashion, there is wide interpretation.

Please accept my apologies for yesterday’s lapse.  Most readers are now thinking, there was a lapse?

I know I don’t owe anyone an explanation, but it’s just too good not to share. 

I’ll first say that my neighborhood didn’t lose power; we seldom do.  We’re a little unexplained oasis.  But we lost cable Sunday afternoon.  Around the region, trees snapped like matchsticks all over our county, taking power lines and, tragically, the life of a young boy who could not get out of the way in time.

Yesterday morning, determined to not break the Word Nymph streak, I set out to find Internet.  I first drove to the home of my aunt and uncle, to use their Internet and also pick up a bee removal suit my husband wanted to borrow.  I arrived at their house to find a note taped to their door: No power, no phone service, no cell service, back later.  I decided to try and find them to make sure they were all right.  Given the downed trees and power lines and dark intersections, driving was a challenge.  I drove to five places I thought they might be riding out the crisis–my aunt’s nail salon, her health club, Macy’s, the movie theater and Starbucks.  I planned Starbucks for last so I could settle in and use the wireless.  Everything was closed–including Starbucks. 

I went home, resigned to the unavailability of Internet and worried about my aunt and uncle, and went out back to clean up the storm debris.  As I was filling a large bag with broken limbs, I looked up to see another large bag being hurled toward me from over the six-foot fence.  I approached it cautiously, as I had been feeling all day that this might just be the end of the world.  I peeked inside and saw something wrapped in netting.  It was a bee removal suit.

I opened the gate to find my aunt and uncle.  I told them I had been worried sick and had looked everywhere I could think they might be.  I scolded them, “Where have you been?!” 

“Holy Cross Hospital,” my aunt said.  I hadn’t thought to try the hospital. 

“Are you all right?  What were you doing at the hospital?”

“Getting coffee.”


Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas

Chain-free zone

Good morning and greetings from Boone, North Carolina.

My husband and I are here for our son’s graduation from Appalachian State University.  I just couldn’t let the festivities begin without telling you a little about this charming place, where we’ve been coming a couple of times a year for the past four years.

Not everyone knows about Boone or Appalachian State.  App State entered the national consciousness in 2007 when its then-two-time Division I-AA national championship football team beat the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the season opener.  It was the largest upset in college football history and landed the Mountaineers on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  Later in the season, they won the championship for the third year in a row.

Appalachian State sits high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, in what’s known as the Ski Capital of the South.  The student population is about 15,000.  One of the institution’s most famous alumni is Steven J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics.

Boone itself is artsy and bohemian.  It’s surrounded by a number of elite resorts, so there’s a cultural dichotomy that sometimes causes friction on the local political scene.

I think what stands out most about downtown Boone is the absence of chain stores and restaurants.  Up and down King Street, Boone’s main avenue, you’ll find one character-filled small business after another.

On King Street, you’ll find no Gap; just The Jean Pool.  There’s no Abercrombie; there’s the Mast General Store.   I was sad to see that the second-hand store, Love Me Two Times, has closed its doors.  There’s no CVS; just Boone Drug, which still has a lunch counter.  There’s no Panera; it’s Our Daily Bread.  There’s no Hair Cuttery; there’s Split Endz.  No Starbucks, only Higher Grounds and The Beanstalk.  No Chipotle; only Black Cat Burrito. The closest Chili’s is an hour away, which is fine because there’s the The Boone Saloon.   And if are you are looking for a cheap place to stay on King Street, you’ll find no Days Inn; only a nondescript  motel with a sign that reads:  2 people 1 bed $29.

What more can I say?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Travel