Author of Breasts Don't Lie

Archive for the ‘coffee’ Category

How to meet your Ex-Lover at the Coffee Shop after a 15-year Lapse

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  • Don’t cry. No one wants to see you cry again. You cried enough – a river, an ocean. Nowadays, the hostess seats you behind plants and screens in most of the restaurants in town. They remember. The relationship lasted only six months and although you thought he was your soul mate, he married someone else. With fake boobs. Real hair. Don’t judge him by judging her, or at least, not where anyone else can hear. DO NOT CALL EVERY FRIEND, GOING OVER EVERY LITTLE DETAIL UNTIL THEY STOP TALKING TO YOU FOR A YEAR LIKE BACK THEN.
  • Don’t drink your coffee. Using both hands, put your coffee on another table. I know you met in this coffee shop but it’s for the best. If you try to drink your coffee, your hands will shake, spilling it down yourself. If you put it on your table, you’re sure to knock it over. Big embarrassment, big mistake. Save yourself the grief. There was grief enough in the relationship with all its messiness and financial consequences. YOU’VE JUST STOPPED JUMPING EVERY TIME THE DOOR OPENS, THINKING YOU’LL POSSIBLY GET A GLIMPSE OF HIM WITH ANY OF HIS GIRLFRIENDS OR HIS WIFE – ALL BLONDE, EXCEPT YOU, AND THIN, EXCEPT YOU. NO, YOU DON’T NEED TO SEE A CARDIOLOGIST.
  • Don’t ignore him. That never worked when you were together. It won’t work now. Be civil and say hello. Everyone in the coffee shop is watching and this is your moment to shine (and possibly shake his and most people’s perception of you as a crazy psycho bitch). YOU ACTED BATSHIT CRAZY FOR SOME TIME – THE LAURA-ASHLEY-GIRLY PHASE FOLLOWED BY THE I’M-NOT-BATHING SHINDIG CULMINATING IN THE BURYING-A-SHOE RITUAL.
  • Don’t flirt. He knows all your moves. YOU EVEN TURNED UP AT HIS ‘EST-IN-THE-21ST-CENTURY’ CULT GRADUATION, ELBOWING A YOUNG WOMAN OUT OF THE WAY SO THE FIRST THING HE SAW UPON ENLIGHTENMENT WAS YOU, MORE NAKED THAN DRESSED HOLDING A WILTED DAISY. He’s moved on. You haven’t but that’s not his problem. And now you look like a cry-baby skank. You may not be able to avoid him but you can avoid the label of incompetent homewrecker!
  • Don’t ask him if he’s ill or lost weight or heaven forbid, both. Embrace your delusions and chalk it up to him missing your burnt cheese toast. A staple of your time together. He’s just grown older. Like you. Don’t look in the mirror behind the barista. So not the time to do the fearless, personal inventory or book a facelift. DO NOT LOOK TOO CLOSELY AT HIS FACE – HE COULD ALWAYS GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING, TALK YOU INTO BELIEVING ANYTHING – WHEN YOU LOOKED AT HIS FACE.
  • Don’t, please don’t, tell him about the shrine you dedicated to him, complete with a pair of his unwashed boxers and a crusty plate. Or how you haven’t cleaned his footprint off the wall since the crazy sex haze one Sunday afternoon fifteen summers ago. THE SUNDAY AFTERNOON WHEN IT FELT LIKE EVERYTHING WAS GOING TO WORK OUT. THEN THE SUCKER PUNCH A WEEK LATER WHEN THE WAITRESS TOLD YOU ABOUT THE LATE-NIGHT CANOODLING WITH THE BLONDE. He’ll think you haven’t had good sex since he left you, and hopefully, that’s not true. Remember, you sold that house and the footprint is someone else’s problem.
  • Don’t touch your hair. Too late now to do anything with it and it will look like you’re flirting (see #4). He’s seen you through good and bad hair days. He didn’t break up with you because of your hair. He broke up with you because he wanted to sleep with someone else. And he did as soon as you were out of the picture. You know this because you snuck over to his house one night after the break-up, hid in the hydrangeas, and eavesdropped for three hours. THEN DIDN’T LEAVE YOUR HOUSE FOR A MONTH. Don’t make an appointment with your hairdresser. Now is not the time to experiment with that asymmetrical cut that will be hell to grow out.
  • Don’t engage him in any personal conversation. Especially do not tell him about reading the book, ‘Women who love too much’ or its companion, ‘Men who can’t love.’ Do not tell him about the decade of therapy and how you’re only now able to see men with black labs without needing medication. Do not show him your medication. CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE AND IF IT’S STILL VALID, TAKE A XANAX. Ask about his dog who has most likely died by now. Really dig deep, commiserate so he feels as shitty as you do. Hide your glee.
  • Don’t tell him that you need closure. That’s what all the therapy was for – if either of you HAD BEEN THE LEAST BIT ADULT, you wouldn’t be on a payment plan with your therapist AND YOU WOULD HAVE AVOIDED WEEKS OF SCREAMING, RESULTING IN THAT PAINFUL SURGERY FOR LARYNGEAL POLYPS. Do make an appointment with your new therapist. Tell her you’re driving to her office right now and will sit in her waiting room until she can see you.
  • Don’t rush out for alcohol. No one likes a sloppy drunk and you’ve worn out your friends with this particular coping skill. Anyway, it’s 8:15 on a Tuesday morning. Update your Uber app and wait until 5 pm. Then go somewhere dark where you can cry into your chardonnay. Buy a good first glass then switch to the house wine. Do not drink and text. Do not peruse his Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn accounts. STALKING IS FROWNED UPON – THE NICE POLICEMAN TOLD YOU SO.

YOU LOVED HIM. HE MOVED ON. YOU WERE DEVASTATED. GET ON WITH IT. Read ‘Relationships for Dummies.’ Get fitted for a new diaphragm. Get a professional wax job. Start fresh or fresher down there. Stock up on condoms. Put clean sheets on the bed and towels in the bathroom. Put on your big girl panties and sign up for a dating app. GO TO A DIFFERENT GODDAMN COFFEE SHOP.

 

I clot you not!

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Today the coffee machine got the better of me. It’s a Keurig and I’ve been able to avoid the creation for a while – I’m a French press kind of gal. But needing some respite from stairs, I’m living at my partner’s sister’s house for the first little bit after leaving the hospital. I cried – for many things.

I had my right hip replaced. Let me tell you what that entails – they strap you onto a table. Never been high on my list of things to do – sounds too much like a bad BDSM novel. Luckily I was out because I was probably naked when this happened. Back to the BDSM novel – “50 Shades of Titanium.” And surrounded by doctors, nurses, aides, electricians, plumbers, and probably an IT person or three. Geez, now I’m blushing.

The doctor makes an incision, supposed to be 2-3 inches long around the front of my thigh. I have big “ugly veins” there so my incision is along my hip and runs closer to six inches. This means everything rubs against it, chafes it, irritates it, and I cry a lot about the deep purple bruise running from my knee to my groin.

The doctor, from Mike’s Mufflers and Hips, whacked off the top of my leg bone, tore out the knob from my pelvic joint capsule and hammered a deep spike into my leg bone with the new joint. Hopefully my bone will grow around it. He sewed it back together, and I have a lovely Bride of Frankenstein scar in time for Halloween.

I must have been on lots and lots of painkillers because the next day, I could walk around my hospital room. Then things started to knit together which is good and hurts like shit. But I didn’t feel it in the hospital. When the social worker discharged me on Thursday, I had to buy a walker, my insurance would not cover it, and come up with another blood thinning regimen, again my insurance would not cover it. Never buy or support Molina – the armpit of insurance companies. I guess they haven’t figured out that I’m a mean little clotter and will sue the ever-living shit out of them if I throw a clot (and survive). Molina Insurance, be afraid, be very afraid.

The staff gave me lots of drugs in the hospital, the painkiller kind, along with Colace and MiraLAX. They should have given me more, Colace and MiraLAX that is. There is no worse feeling than going five days without pooping. I will never take my GI track for granted again.

I guess until things are further along in the healing process, then the little things will continue to throw me for a loop. I hope my new hip doesn’t come with as many directions as the coffee maker. I thought I had things under control but if a coffee maker can reduce me to tears, I guess not …

(image used by permission – morguefile.com)

Coursera: The Coffee Clutch

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I signed up for a course on Plot in Fiction through Coursera and can’t figure out how to post my assignments. Running up against many web walls, I decided to post them on my website.

Remember, this is fiction, made-up, not true.

My nasty little trolls (Jennifer G., Richard A., and Susie S.) can make all the comments they like but I will block you.

Here goes: The Coffee Clutch: Rising Action using 12 unrelated words.

All she wanted was a cup of hot coffee, French press, with whole milk and two teaspoons of sugar, sometimes within the first hour of awakening. She padded into the kitchen on bare feet, pushing aside the debris of unpacking, and the assorted filth of teenagers, swearing. Patience wasn’t her strong point, and her hand-eye coordination refused to engage without that first cup. She reached for the water heating appliance, not a teapot or even a pan but something her partner bought her as a consolation prize for dealing with his cranky daughters and plugging it in, knocked over the canister of beans.

”Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she said crouching down to sweep up the beans.

Managing to get the beans into the grinder and then into the press, Sara sighed when a large black bird, a crow or a jackdaw, flew into the window above the sink. Shards of glass and metal lay around her feet from the fallen press. Holding her breath, she looked for a safe place to step feeling more and more like a hungry tiger prowling its cage while outside, freedom taunted.

“What’s going on?” said a muffled voice from their bedroom.

“Nothing,” Sara said, pretend-sweet, reaching across to turn off the water; she flinched when its steam scorched her arm, and a boiling stream exploded onto the remnants of glass, metal, and coffee grinds. Red splotches colored her neck and face as panting she cleaned up the mess.

A memory of their first six months together filled Sara’s mind emphasizing the difference between the two realities. She looked at the tell-tale towel thinking that she was responsible for the messes in her life from the coffee to her relationship. Then her defenses settled back into place; this is the universe’s trick to get me to be nicer and go caffeine-free – not happening.

“Sounds like you need help in there,” her boyfriend said from far away. Nearby teenage grumblings set her nerves on the edge of crazy.

“Naw,” Sara said grabbing her coat and keys. “All aboard the USS Misery.”

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You are my peer evaluators. So, what do you think?

Not Joking

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Sitting at the coffee shop with my friends, I asked, “Should I write something funny or sappy in my blog today?” I was thinking that I had the themes for both types of posts.

“Funny,” said my friend, the quintessential Southern Belle.

Her husband just smirked across from us.

“You couldn’t pull off sappy for more than a second or two,” she said with a cock of her eyebrows.

“Well could you?” I asked not knowing if I should feel complimented or vaguely insulted.

She laughed. Her husband laughed.

I looked around our group. We are a motley crew. Meeting most mornings for almost twenty years, we are direct, honest but usually kind. As far as I know, no one has gone to jail or caused bodily harm to another person. We call each other on our faults.

“When I was a teenager, the women told my mother to teach me Bridge. It was the only acceptable outlet for my wit and intelligence,” she said.

“Where did you grow up?”

“In Atlanta during the 60s and 70s,” she said.

Now this is a woman who can wear handmade shoes, stark silver jewelry, and all black outfits, maybe a midnight sweater, to a pre-8am coffee klatch. She is gracious and kind with a kick-ass sense of humor and intelligence that runs circles around 99% of people, men and women.

I thought about how women are told to behave. The Orthodox Jewish women are told to shave their hair and wear wigs. Only God knows if men can contain their lustful behaviors after seeing female hair. I think of the Islamist head and body coverings to shield women from men’s eyes. We are told to dress and act modestly to avoid rape. But we … must … be … beautiful. Just not too beautiful.

I remember my encounter as an undergraduate in pre-med classes.

“You’re bright. You should go into pharmacy,” said the pre-med advisor.

Fuck you, was my first semester thought but I couldn’t keep up the fight against the covert and college sanctioned hazing. The male students with their not-so-nice jokes, their watching to see if I would cry or throw-up, their exclusions until I knew that I was not wanted in the field of medicine. Except as a nurse.

Even worse was my shame – I couldn’t make it in that environment. Their jokes and exclusions hurt me. Then came the many statements of “You did the right thing” when I dropped out.

I still hate them. I still hate their judgment of my abilities based solely on my chromosomes. I hate that I bought into it. And I am glad my coffee friend did not accept it. She went on to get multiple degrees in Engineering and taught her daughter to go after her dreams. She never learned to play Bridge.

2016 is not the time for pleasantries. This is my year for gracious, defined as generosity of spirit, indignation.

Handicapped Parking, Coffee, and Spam

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I have been going to my coffee shop for 19 years. The same shop, same people, same coffee for 19 years. Through rain and shine, snow and black ice, writing my doctoral dissertation, mourning the loss of my husband, a breast cancer scare, unfulfilled engagements and the last set of surgeries, it has been the constant – the place I go to start my day with people I have history with and love deeply.

At my coffee shop, I learn about important cultural icons, like Spam.

“There’s a sale of Spam at the Piggly Wiggly. What exactly is Spam?” I had asked in the first year.

There were a few gasps among the coffee slurpers.

“It’s kind of like bologna.”

“Have you ever had bologna?”

“No. What’s bologna?” I asked.

“Bits.”

“Bits of what?”

“Oh, sometimes, meat.”

“I think they add filler,”

“They add oatmeal and blood, like to haggis in Scotland?” I asked.

“Not really, more like fat, noses, lips, feet, ears.”

“That’s revolting.”

“Haven’t you had a fried bologna sandwich?”

“Spam is very popular in Hawaii.”

“Why Hawaii?”

“We’re not in Hawaii.”

“Does this look like Hawaii to you?” I asked.

“Not really. Nope. Not even if you squint.”

“Maybe they’re brewing Kona. Kona is imported from Hawaii.”

“Will they add Spam to the Kona?”

“Has everyone taken their ADD medicine today? Please check your pill boxes … now!” The group laughed and settled down to enjoy their coffee.

“Will some one please tell me what the hell Spam is?”

“A noun with a dangling participle?”

“Hawaii’s bologna.”

“Bologna is Spam moving at the speed of light.”

We pondered that for a while.

“Bologna flattens out and then Spam can feed many hungry people.”

“Maybe there are a lot of hungry people in Hawaii. Subs or hoagies for lunch?”

These interactions are why I love my coffee shop friends but last week, the coffee shop let me down in a big way.

As some of you know, I have not had a great spring or summer dealing with a muscle reattachment surgery (went well after some painful weeks) and multiple foot surgeries, debridement procedures (think excruciating surgery without anesthesia), and infections. In the morning, I can barely walk. I hobble; yes hobble, to my coffee shop. Sometimes in an enormous, clumsy surgical shoe. Around 11 am my foot starts to feel okay (the painkillers kick in) but until then, I am in some pretty significant pain.

My coffee shop friends have helped me get through it. They talk to me, buck me up when I am blue, celebrate the little victories (never, ever going back to that surgeon – he’s a schmuck) and I do the same for them.

But it is predicated on being to get to the coffee shop. For that, I have a Handicapped-parking sticker. It took a lot of guts to get this – I have prided myself on being self-sufficient. I cry each time I have to renew it thinking my independence is slipping away.

Last week, the Handicap parking spaces were full. I had to limp, tears in my eyes, from a space about 200 yards away to the coffee shop backdoor. In one of the Handicapped-parking spaces, a man get out of his SUV taxi, no Handicap sticker front or back on his car, and walked around the building. I shuffled in, sat down with my friends, and saw the man lit a cigarette while watching the traffic through the shop’s front window. Feeling nauseous with pain and unable to focus enough to do more than sip a coffee, I decided it was the establishment’s job to deal with the illegal activity.

At this point, I told the manager of the coffee shop about the situation. She nodded and went back to work. The man came into the coffee shop and bought some coffee. The SUV was still parked in the Handicap space when I left. For half an hour, the manager had not made any attempt to check out the situation or handle my concern.

I have to think about this. This coffee shop is an important social gathering place in my life but it doesn’t appear to value me as a customer.

The take-away:

1) Do not park in a Handicapped-parking space unless you have a reason and a sticker. I spent an hour at the DMV on two different occasions getting a bloody Handicapped-parking sticker (standing – on my bad foot – the DMV does not let you sit down). The ability to park nearby is the difference between whether I go to a place or go somewhere else. And I need my coffee and coffee friends.

2) If someone tells you they need help, what I did with the coffee shop manager, then help him or her, contact someone who can, or tell them you can’t help them. Pay them the respect of being honest.

3) Don’t get between me and my coffee or me and my friends. Ever. I have three surgical boots and I’m not afraid to kick you with one.

Off to get my latte, among friends but minus the Spam, and talk to the coffee shop management.

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