Man, was I feeling sorry for myself by the time lunch rolled around - which I hope explains why I found myself in the Starbucks near my office. This was a bit of An Event for me. I've never had a satisfactory experience in an Irish Starbucks. In fairness, I'm not their target customer: I'm too old, I drink tea, I have a cheap Samsung laptop. But, look, I can change my ways, I drink cappuccino every now and again, and I used to own an iPod...
For my part, I've never been convinced. They are always chilly affairs with little atmosphere, the menu is consistently baffling, and they always seem to be staffed at about 150% optimum standards, with peppy young people in aprons jostling behind the till to take your order.
So today, I denied myself the pleasure of ordering a pumpkin spice latte (I'm not much of a coffee fan, much less the sickly syrups baristas have begun chucking in) and grabbed a smoked salmon bagel.
I fully expected a heavy, indigestible affair - doughy, undercooked bread with miserly scaps of salmon - so I was pleasantly surprised to find large slices of (Irish) smoked salmon on a delicious bagel that had a light, enjoyably chewy texture.
Was it a thrifty choice? Hm. To tell the truth, it was a fairly unusual lunch option for me: I usually go to work on Mondays, armed with a couple of kidney bean burritos, fresh from the slow cooker. But I knew that supper was sorted (I cooked a double helping of amatriciana last night), and I needed a break from the office. I decided to forgo the coffee, so lunch cost me *just* the price of the bagel. Which was €4.95.
So, no it wasn't an altogether thrifty choice. I can't even say it helped me clear my head, because I spent the break looking at my smartphone, ignoring the filthies I was getting from the iPhone users nearby.
But I could almost imagine myself ordering there again - yaknow, if I could come to terms with the poor broadband, confounding coffee menu, the perky youngsters fighting to write my name on a mug...