As I walked from Logan Airport to the McDonald’s I usually stop at after a round of Diner en Blanc (not during) and Starbucks, I got an unusual story and warm spotty memories:
A guy at McDonald’s, the guy near the exit, said to me, “You miss free coffee at Starbucks.”
“Yes, I do,” I said. “When I can drink coffee at McDonald’s, I feel like a big shot.”
I plowed on through the drive-thru window and the red tablecloth on my nightgown in the window, past the fireplace, toward the counter.
“McDonald’s, get you some!” I ordered. “Free food!”
Someone ran out of the window and helped me place the coffee on my tray in the drive-thru window.
“No smoking allowed?”
“You can’t smoke here,” said the person next to me, the person about 25 steps away. “Not over here at McDonald’s. And not over in the opposite direction, in any way, shape or form.”
“Right,” I said. “But it’s very cozy in here and it smells good and I’m here waiting for people. This is the Starbucks. I’m waiting for the Canadians.”
A man sitting in a corner of the counter shook his head and he read a newspaper as if to remind himself of some time he should have skipped.
“Excuse me, ma’am?” he said.
“I got a big paper in front of me,” I said. “Are you going to get me a paper?”
“I’m not going to,” the man said. “That’s where Starbucks is, and that’s my club.”
“I’m not here for the coffee,” I said. “I’m here for the Canadians.”
“Not at McDonald’s,” he said. “It’s not ‘free,’ that’s for you Starbucks. It’s for that company.”
A table of four people at a table in the corner of the drive-thru booth stood there at ease.