So, this is what happened:
It was a gloomy, dreary day in the city. It was misting and drizzling and I was soggy and cold. I decided to have lunch by myself at a coffee place I often see but have never been inside. I go in the door. I wait in line. The woman behind me asks me if I am waiting in line. I say yes. She then points to the cashiers and says "they're ready for you."
There are two cash registers. One has a girl behind it who is busily serving customers. She has been saying "I can help the next person" as soon as she completes each transaction. The other one, the one closer to me, has two ladies behind it who are counting money. They haven't been taking anyone's order, and neither of them have made eye contact with me or offered to take my order. I turn around and say, "Are you sure? I don't think this one is open."
The woman behind me then proceeded to push me forward, putting her hands on my shoulders, and say, "go ahead, what do you want to order?"
I don't answer her, because I'm waiting for the cashier who is actually open and taking orders to finish with the person she's waiting on, because I'm next, so the sooner I can get to her, the sooner I can get away from this woman, but she leans over my shoulder, so her face is right next to my face, points up and the menu, and starts reading the different choices to me. "Do you want a hot chocolate? They have chai lattes. There are some flavored sodas, did you want a soda?"
And then comes my first mistake. I answer her. "No, I'm going to get a cappuccino."
She then says to the two (not open) cashiers, "she's getting a cappuccino."
The taller one says, okay, what kind of milk? (She stopped counting money to talk to this woman) The woman leans down to me and asks me if I know what kind of milk I want, and again, I make a mistake in answering her. I prefer whole milk, if they have it. She assures me they do. The cashier informs her they don't. I tell the cashier 2% is fine. The not-open cashier then walks over to the cashier who is actually open, points at us, and tells her to ring up a cappuccino with 2%, then asks the woman behind me what she wants for herself, and tells the cashier that we are together.
I go to the cashier who is actually open, the one who just rung up both our drinks, and say, "don't put mine with hers, we are not together, she just took it upon herself to order for me." The cashier shrugs and says, "well, she wants to treat you then," and looks over my head to tell the total to the woman behind me.
"No," I say. "I don't know her. We didn't come together. She just insisted on ordering my drink for me."
This is now a problem, because the cashier either can't cancel what she just rung up, or doesn't know how to, or isn't allowed to, or something.
"It's okay," says the woman behind me, who again leans down over my shoulder, so her face is next to my face, and points up at the menu again. "Yours is $3.60, do you have $3.60?"
I am now absolutely furious. She is way too close to me, and I can't get away from her because I'm between the counter and, well, her, and backing up into her won't get me farther away from her. She's answering for me, she's talking for me, she's leaning over me, and she's now peering into my purse at my money and I swear she's about to reach into it to "help" me pay. I close my hand over the top of my purse and turn around. "EXCUSE ME," I say, loudly, and as rudely as I can. And I do back up into her, a little bit.
"It's okay," she tells me, as if I said, "I'm sorry," rather than "EXCUSE ME." "Take your time. Do you have three ones? It's three dollars. Go ahead. Take your time." Over my head, she tells the cashier she'll pay for the change. And do I have exactly the amount? No, of course I don't. I have two ones, and a five. I try to give the cashier the five. The woman takes it out of my hand and hands the cashier a twenty, keeps my five, and begins counting out change for me, explaining, as she counts, why it's my change from my five, twenty five and ten and five is forty cents, one dollar, $3.60 and $1.40 makes five dollars, etc etc.
The cashier hands my drink to the woman and says "this is hers." I reach up for it. "I'll take it," I snap. The woman is reaching over my head for it. "DO NOT GIVE HER MY DRINK!" I yell. "She is NOT with me. I do NOT know her."
Aaaandddd... she has my drink. The cashier actually did give it to her. And I am looking wildly around at everyone else in the shop. Is nobody going to rescue me? Is nobody going to say, hey, back off, lady?
And then I realize. They think I'm acting this way because something is wrong with me. They think we ARE together, that she is taking care of me, and I am "acting out."
I turn around to face her. In the process, I knock down the post thing that holds the rope that shows where the line is. Somebody picks it up again. She tells me to calm down. I am anything but calm. I am on the verge of tears and I am sure it is visible on my face. She has brown hair that looks scraggly from the drizzle outside and a fur-trimmed hood on her coat. Her expression is not at all concerned that she may be behaving inappropriately. She is not concerned with how upset I am. She is still holding my coffee.
"I am not CRAZY," I tell everyone waiting in line. "I just don't need help ORDERING COFFEE."
And then... then all the waiting people are ready to defend HER. Because she was "just trying to help." Because she was "just trying to be nice." Because I need to calm down. Because I'm the one who is yelling. Because, in her own words, "you didn't know where to order from. I was helping you. Then you needed help making change."
"You can keep the coffee," I told her. Since she was still holding it and all. "There is no way I'm staying in here. This is ridiculous." And I left. Without the coffee I paid for. And I went back to school. And bought coffee in the bookstore. Where I waited in a normal line. Where the bookstore people know me because I sometimes buy coffee there and sometimes just use the hot water there for my tea. Where I have actually shared my tea with the bookstore people if it was something really awesome. No student or school employee (who are frequently both student and employee anyway) have EVER, EVER acted as if I can't do something like order and pay for my coffee.
So basically I threw a tantrum in a coffee shop. I haven't done that in YEARS.
And then, full disclosure, I took my bookstore coffee into the ladies room and cried and cried and cried until my coffee wasn't even hot anymore, and I was 20 minutes late for my final.
That's what happened.