Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sponsored by the Letter J

Today, Iced Grande Two-Pump Vanilla Nonfat Latte, a young mom of a gorgeous two-year-old adopted child, complimented me in the nicest possible way. Now, considering she asks for me whenever she comes in (“Where’s Doh?”) and tells me all about her day when she sees me (“I hab schoo wiv Mommy,” “I hab punkin loaf after a rest”), Little A and I have gotten to be pals.

Iced Grande etc. Latte has a teacher’s cert in elementary ed. and has tons of brilliant ideas, one of which is an alphabet poster for Little A with familiar places and people. I… (gulp) have been nominated to represent the letter J.

I’m really, really, flushingly, flappingly happy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cafe Microcosmo

  • 4:00 am: Skunk fight outside my window. Ends predictably.
  • 6:30 am: Stench wears off. Alarm chirps.
  • 7:30 am: Arrive what I think is a half-hour early for work, enough to get my tea and breakfast and sit peacefu... FUCK, Old Lech is here and wants to whisper sweet garlicky nothings in my ear. Hide in the basement.
  • 7:57 am: On the floor in apron, hat and forced smile. Informed I am still one half-hour early. Learn I have the same exact schedule as the Special Needs Girl, because both of us are a bit useless and together might make up a whole person on the floor. Shittiness sinks in.
  • 8:15 am: Punch in anyway. Proceed to be pushed around by grumpy Monday Morning types. Try to keep up with Regulars in a fairly cheery fashion, meanwhile dropping $30 worth of pastries on the floor, getting yelled at for cleaning too thoroughly, and nearly killing myself on the stairs.
  • 9:30 am: Inform shift manager that an artist is coming for us to review work for us to put up on our walls. She shrugs. I try to get her excited and fail.
  • 10:48 am: Behind the bar, cranking out drinks frantically, manager and friend both go on their half-hour breaks at the same time. Artist's wife arrives for conference. I send her around a corner with a free drink and frantically yell for help. While scurrying for whipped cream, someone tells me I need to be off the floor to help with sorting tips. My elbow catches a milk pitcher, sends it flying sideways, dumping its 180 degree contents down my calf and ankle, soaking my sock, seeping into my shoe...
  • 10:49 am: "Shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit...."
  • 10:49:23 am: Yank off shoe and sock, rip apart First Aid pack for a burn pad, slap the slimey thing on my ankle, wiggle my shoe back on, and go to interview the artist's wife.
  • 10:55am: Artist's wife schools me on corporate procedures about these things. And here I thought I was the resident expert. Shamefacedly shuffle downstairs to print out necessary paperwork.
  • 10:58am: Changing in "dungeon," Special Needs Girl argues about who gets to do tips. In my underwear with floppy wet burn thing sliding off my foot and a whip-smart artist's wife waiting for me upstairs while our printer pops out one. letter. at. a. time, I simply say, "Please be quiet." Tears well up in S.N.G.'s eyes.
  • 11:00am: Shove paperwork at artist's wife, bumble through polite farewells, run/limp out door with co-worker.
  • 11:01-11:40am: Take sloooow train over Longfellow Bridge, which may be breaking beneath us, to bank where our coins stop up the counting machine three times. Gossip about the cafe half-heartedly while praying I get enough tips to cover groceries for two weeks.
  • 12ish to 1ish: S.N.G. is off the clock, but waiting in the basement for us to sort out the cash, staring and making terrible social gaffs. I can't stand other humans anymore so I start drawing bananas on each person's tip envelope. Banana scenarious include but are not limited to: Banana Tourist, Banana Incognito, Banana Silent Treatment, Banana Olympics, Banana in a Hammock (literal, not sexual), Banana Nun Loaf (banana in habit with little poop - terrible, I know, but my brain fell apart), and Banana in a Hot Air Balloon. Why not?
  • 1:34pm: clock out, but stay to read and decompress and enjoy A/C. Regulars look at me like I'm a little pathetic to spend all my time here. In return, I begin to feel a little pathetic and take myself home.
  • 2ish pm: Run into current favorite Irishman from Chorus. Reunite joyfully and plan on gettin' the gang together. Heart pitter-patters with hope and promises are made for future rendezvous.
  • 2:20ish pm: On the train in my non-cafe clothes, I still reek of coffee. It smells like skunks to me. I try to make sense of the day. I get out of my seat so a three-year-old girl with Downs Syndrome can sit safely with her Mom or nanny or whoever. She waves eagerly. I feel like a puke as I think of S.N.G., who isn't nearly as needy as this little girl but is almost always as joyful. I think of how little joy I return to her.
  • Later than 2:20ish: Feeling abruptly returns to burned foot on train. Swallow scream.
  • 3ish pm: Forge through Coolidge Corner to pick up ginger root and pork and a sense of self.
  • Afternoon and onward... Cook from Arahsae's 3rd cookerie 'zine. Spray things with bleach. Calm heartbeats and hatebeats. Eat near roommate, but not with roommate.
  • Now: Full stall. Literally full of yummy pork. Muy consada.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Learning blows.

This, apparently, is the week for old friends to come back from my checkered past to make me feel like a pile o' somethin' smelly. I assume they don't mean to do this. I have the proclivity to travel pile o' shitwise these days. At any rate, these people somehow draw out my worst traits and I tend toward several unlikable behaviors:

1. intellectual oneupmanship,
2. bluffing,
3. and sundry manipulative affection-demanding gestures.

While standing by the mailbox on the street with my roomie walking toward me and my world crumbly around the edges, I had an epiphany. It went like this:

I act exactly this way with my father and brothers. I am repeating impossible relationships in my life in hopes of solving a massive problem, i. e. my family. Instead of changing my behavior, I fall back into subconsciously ritualized behaviors as a last-resort survival tactic.

Epiphany, Part the Second: the rituals never work.

You can imagine how useless they are considering they go like this:

1. Oh yeah? Well I'm super smart and stuff!
2. Then I don't give a shit, I'm just fine over here and not miserable at all!
3. But I'm cute as a button, right? Don't you want to touch me?

No one ought to be on the receiving end of that, even if they deserve a little confusion in repayment for all the shit they put me through.

That's the end of today's psychology lesson. I hope you learned something.

I hope I learned something.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

But what is she DOING?

Because people seem to be wondering, I shall provide you with the following mundane list of the crap that fills my days.

1. Avoiding phone calls.
2. Making unavoidable phone calls.
3. Carefully timing all checks sent to landlord and utilities.
4. Putting various band-aids on various lacerations/blisters/vulnerabilities on my still-mostly-dead foot.
5. Making corporate coffee. Avec smile. (Sometimes genuine.)
6. Buying more band-aids whilst postponing rent checks.
7. Babysitting a ten-month-old baby girl who screams at the top of her lungs for the first fifteen minutes. EVERY TIME I WATCH HER.
8. Lying awake.
9. Avoiding you. Yes, even you, although I love you and want to have something wonderful to say to you about my life. I don't, and so I am quiet.