Day 178: What A Mess

Is the universe trying to tell me that I should stop going to cafés whenever I’m bored to tears or have no plans but stay at home binging on sitcoms and reality TV? What else am I supposed to do but indulge in a chai latte while reading, blogging, reading articles, and/or eavesdropping on conversations?

Getting to a café today proved to be a sh*t show. A frustratingly hilarious mess—from backing out of the driveway only to realize that no, I can’t navigate my car around my sister’s without hitting mine or hers, forcing me to get her keys to move her car a bit, to not being able to find where a popular local café moved to, from driving 15 minutes to another café I found via Yelp only to realize it was closed…

At that point, I should have learned not to trust Yelp or even Google Maps. But since I told you earlier that my journey was a mess, I of course used both battery-killing apps to navigate to another one that was about three minutes away. Right at where I needed to take a right turn on a street to the next café, a large police van blocked the turn. Not really knowing the area, I assumed that the GPS would be rerouting me to another way to access this street—but wait, 8-minute detour? Um, okay. I started to get angry. Ironically, just a few minutes ago, I had been thinking about how I, unlike many, actually appreciate driving. Of course, these thoughts went out the damn door as I sped down the winding backroads wondering if the universe was really attempting to tell me something.

A few minutes later, I thought, Wow, this road looks familiar. Wait, did I just drive on th—holy crap. The GPS just took me on a circuitous route right back to where I literally just couldn’t take a right turn.

PAUSE. I just was kicked out of the café I ended up “settling in” for less than an hour. Man, this is just getting better, but I’ll get to that later.

Anyway, I decided to park at a free parking lot down the street, even though I knew there was a closer parking lot to the café but just couldn’t risk getting rerouted again. Hey, I need to walk more anyway. I make my way down the street, and I am not kidding you when I say that despite the slight traffic, the street I needed to turn at was cleared. What is my life.

I continued to walk into a large parking lot surrounded by a restaurant, furniture store, and something called Matcha Time Café, instead of the French one I was looking for. Whatever, I’m not searching anymore. Maybe this one replaced the old one.

I walked in to find a small Japanese-themed café attached to a gift shop full of Japan-imported goods. I took a look at the menu, scanning the drinks and finally finding chai latte—but it cost $5.50 for a small cup?! I ended up being charged $4.75, but that’s still one expensive cup of what turned out to be subpar chai.

Matcha Time Café
Matcha Time Café ain’t got time for you.

It took a while to get my steaming cup of chai because of one other customer who ordered a lunch. (They have sushi at this strange café with boxes still strewn on tables.) No one else occupied the tables, so I took one right in front of the gift shop next to a window. Soon, two Asian college students walked in and took the only table across from mine and thus interrupted my plans to read. And that was when I began blogging about this crazy experience—that is, until the lunchtime rush. As soon as that hit, one of the employees kindly asked me if I would be staying for long because two people were waiting. I couldn’t help but laugh cynically inside. I just can’t win today.

Now, I’m seated at some cute café down the street, having enjoyed some disappointing cookie dough ice cream with no WiFi. I plan to continue exploring the boutiques here just because I’m here.

Main St. boutique in Ellicott City
The third floor of a quaint boutique on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD.

UPDATE: Why have I only just discovered the wonders of a damn public library? Maybe it’s because the one closest to my house is nowhere near as amazing as the one I just found. It seems so obvious. I don’t need to pay for something. Free WiFi. Quiet. And I don’t feel weird just camping out here on my laptop or, if I ever get to it, reading a book! Now that I think about it, it has been a really long time since I’ve actually worked at a library. I never even stepped into Fudan’s libraries because of the rule of not bringing any bags in (so I hear) and because of the convenience of Guanghua Tower’s plentiful study space. It’s nice to be reminded of something as great and simple as a library. Really, Sonia?

Alright, enough of this ridiculous story. Hopefully this long narrative of what ended up being interesting parts of my uninteresting life entertained one of you.