Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cool…but weird…

Almost two years ago, I lost a Starbucks card in my van. I literally lost it while I was sitting in the drive-thru – one moment it was sitting on the console, the next it was gone.

I searched everywhere. All over the floor. In every conceivable nook and cranny. I even popped the doghouse (which is what they call that irritating jutting-out-thingee in a full-sized van which ensures that you do not have nearly as much leg room as honestly you should in a vehicle that size) off to see if it had somehow ended up falling through the cracks I there.

Nothing. Double nothing.

I’ve never quite gotten over the loss. Innumerable washings, professional and otherwise, have happened since. I’ve often wondered if perhaps one of the underpaid folks who scrubbed my van once a quarter or so had scored a $10 coffee-break-bonus. It’s just one of those things that occasionally floats up into my forebrain: Huh…where DID that card get to, anyway?

And on those occasions when the thought has percolated up, I have searched yet again. And it was as though aliens had beamed it right up to their ship. Vaporized.

Gone. Forever.

So this morning, I filled up the van. And as is my custom on such occasions, I started scrambling around gathering the trash from inside the van. The deceased French fries, old homework papers, and the other detritus that invariably builds up in there.

There, on the floor, in plain sight, right where a passenger’s foot would be if I had one tall enough to sit in the front seat, was a vaguely familiar Starbucks card.

“Where did THIS come from?” I muttered, picking it up. “Wait…waitasecond…this can’t be…this isn’t…you don’t suppose…is this…?”

Yes. Yes it is. The prodigal card has returned, its $10.35 intact.

{Twilight Zone Music here}

Oddly enough, it has mildly freaked me out. For two years, that card has been floating somewhere in that van. I’ve taken the doghouse off to search. I’ve lain on the floor and peered up under the seats, on the off-chance that it somehow had bounced up and lodged there. I’ve done the same thing under the dashboard, and in all the pockets on all the doors and seats.

And then suddenly - !pop! There it is!

I guess the aliens were done with their testing and decided to return it. But now I’m afraid that if I use the card, I’ll somehow be assisting them in their world-conquering and will end up having to learn their language. I couldn’t even manage to mangle French back in high school well enough to be understood by someone who spoke same. My chances of learning to speak AGhsklghSPgpk are slim to nil. I’ll be unable to hold down a job other than, say, as a drive-thru attendant saying, “What? You want a what?” while the nine-armed critter in the car I can no longer afford yells, “GHSGHK! GHSGHK, y zitirim! Achka txhcka zzibim AGhsklghSPgpk trek?!?!?” (which means “Hamburger! Hamburger, you moron! GOD, why do they put people who can’t speaking frickin’ AGhsklghSPgpk in the frickin’ drive-thru?!?!?”)

Oh the horror. Maybe I ought to just put that card through the shredder right now.

On the other hand…we are talking about coffee here…prepaid…which is almost if not quite the same as ‘free’…at the very least it is a sunk cost…the world conquered by AGhsklghSPgpk-speaking aliens, or free coffee…hmm…how bad could it be, being conquered by coffee-providing aliens…?


wrnglrjan said...


My freshman college roommate had a similar thing happen with a contact that she lost in, oh, October? She couldn't find it anywhere and finally had to get new ones.

It showed up in May when we were moving out. All curled up in its little contact-fetal-position on the same 30" x 30" bit on countertop she lost it on.

Didn't you ever read the story about The Borrowers? That's my theory -- something along those lines.

Enjoy your coffee!


PipneyJane said...

I agree with Jan. There is a special place these things go to hide - no human logic in it; maybe they just need some alone time. :o)

- Pam (who bought a book for her sister 2 years ago, put it on the hall table and hasn't seen it since)