My $66 Milkshake

An Life Experience I Won't Soon Forget

Let me tell you about my $66 milkshake. That milkshake turned out to be part of a life experience that I won’t soon forget.

chocolate milkshake

Back in the fall, I went to Newport Beach, California for a 3-day conference. The purpose of the trip was to meet coaches, consultants and professional speakers. Folks like me who are seeking to take their marketing skills to a new level. I flew out early on a Tuesday morning and got back late on Saturday night. 
I did learn a LOT, but the truth is that the highlight of my trip was my $66 milkshake. T
I know. You must be thinking there must be a catch. But the truth is, by the time I got to and from my very yummy chocolate milkshake, it did, in fact, cost me just about $66. 

So, how did that happen?

I’ll be honest. When I scheduled this conference in June, I was thinking of Newport Beach as a quaint little beach town. I had driven through when I was in Laguna, California on vacation in 2010. I was eager to return!
The location was the main reason I signed up for the conference.
As it turns out, I didn’t ask enough of the right questions. But that’s on me.
The hotel where the conference was located was in downtown Newport Beach. Our hotel was literally a mile from the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. We were in the center of a bustling city…and there was no beach to be seen…anywhere.
Realizing my error, I asked the desk clerk on the first day I was there how far away the beach was.
Happily, I learned it was only about “20 minutes away by cab or Uber.” The recommendation was to take Uber or Lyft for a less expensive ride.
I decided that I would find some time in the schedule so I could sneak away. It just didn’t seem right to be so close and not at least see the Pacific Ocean.
I finally made my escape on Friday afternoon, the last day of the conference.

I checked out possible places to go, and I settled on a little place called Ruby’s Shake Shack.

It was near the water, and it had the best shakes around (or so the advertisement said).
I booked my Uber ride for $16 and change. Given that this was my first experience with Uber, it was an adventure. My driver, Sergio, was great. We chatted it up for the 20-minute ride to Ruby’s.
Sergio was from LA and not that familiar with the area. As a result, he was as surprised as I was as he dropped me off in the parking lot of Ruby’s. “I’ll have to come back here with my kids!” he exclaimed as I got out of the car.

Ruby’s Shake Shack has its menu posted on the wall next to where you order.

Ruby’s Shake Shack, Newport Beach, CA

The food is brought to you based on the number you are given when you place your order. I had already had lunch, so I just ordered a chocolate milkshake. The milkshake was $5.99 plus tax which brought it to $6.49. When it was brought to me, it had been topped with whipped cream and a cherry, and it was so thick I had to eat it with a spoon. It was definitely a treat!

Beyond the milkshake, however, was the REAL treat. The REAL reason for my trip there was the view of the Pacific Ocean.
With no indoor seating, everyone sits on the deck with a bird’s eye view of the beach below. I was able to sit on the deck and look out over the ocean and the beach at Crystal Cove. I found out that Ruby’s used to be called The Date Shack, and it is best known for its burgers and milkshakes.

Here is a slice of the view I had from my perch.

Crystal Cove, Newport Beach, CA

I was close enough to hear the waves wash ashore. I watched families enjoying the water, although Sergio had told me on the ride there that the water was cold. Honestly, I didn’t care about getting in the water, however. I didn’t even care about being eye level with it. One of the things I love about the West Coast is that you can look out over the ocean from its many bluffs and overhangs.
I sat and people-watched for a while. Then, I closed my eyes and listened to the waves down below. I felt the sun on my face. I watched birds and ground squirrels at my feet. (The squirrels were different from the squirrels we have on the East Coast.) The animals foraged on the crumbs dropped by hungry customers on the deck. They showed no fear of the humans just above them. I enjoyed every tasty bite of my milkshake. And when I was ready, I called Uber for another ride.
This ride was far more expensive because it was now a busier time in the day with more traffic. Instead of the $16 and change it had taken me to get there, the fare for my return was $36 and change. Between the tips I left for my respective drivers, I paid almost $60 round trip. Add in the cost of the milkshake itself, and now you know why I call it my $66 milkshake.

But here’s the deal. That trip wasn’t about the milkshake at all.

That excursion was about the experience of being close to the Pacific Ocean once again. It was about enjoying just a little feeling of being a tourist instead of a conference attendee in a corporate hotel. It was about providing a break in the general routine. And most of all, it was about treating myself to something I wanted. It wasn’t something I felt I “needed” or “deserved” or had even “worked for.” It was just something I wanted to do for myself.
When was the last time you had your equivalent of a $66 milkshake? When was the last occasion when you did something just for the fun of it? Something you did that had no purpose other than to have the experience of it?
If it has been a while (or never), I recommend that you do something about that soon. Life is short. You need to treat yourself every once in a while. You owe it to yourself to be whimsical on occasion. I wouldn’t give anything for that afternoon. It will be an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I am glad I took that opportunity for myself. Not only was it a yummy milkshake, it was also a yummy view and a yummy experience.
I hope I get to go back again some day, but if I don’t, I am glad I had that experience. I believe everyone should enjoy moments like these. They are, after all, what makes life worth living.
Until next time.
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Career Transition & Job Search Coach

Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a former educator who now helps burnt-out teachers and mid-career professionals find new fulfilling career paths that are satisfying & fun. Check out her website at website for more information.