Mix Up at the Coffee Cart

Yesterday I wore my first ant-war T-shirt of the season. It’s a drawing of soldier smoking a cigarette with some lyrics from Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad” in graffiti next to him. Then there’s a red circle with “War/Peace” knocked out in white. The most obvious thing is that red decal and the words “Baghdad”. Now I can’t explain exactly how this t-shirt is anti-war or how that Outkast song is anti-war, but I’m almost a thousand percent sure that it is.

Outside the new office I ordered my small black coffee no sugar, one glazed donut from my usual coffee cart guy. It’s only been about three weeks, but the coffee cart guy and I are pals. You all know how it is. The coffee cart relationship is a treasured and delicate one. He knows what you want. Sometimes he jokes around. You nod in a daze cuz it’s early and you’d rather be in bed. It’s like the last stop of freedom before the claws of office work.

I remember one really great coffee cart guy who one day told me he was moving 5 blocks away. I was sad. Five blocks out of the way is too far for a coffee cart. We both knew that, and wished each other the best. Maybe we’d meet again, but most likely not. I have a friend who told a sad story about a souped up coffee cart that sat outside his office on blocks for a whole year, until one day without warning it was gone. There was just a pale rectangle where morning comfort used to be.

So I was wearing my anti-war-but-I’m-not-sure-how t-shirt. And my coffee cart guy peered over the little counter, “Does it say Baghdad on your shirt.”

“Yeah,” I replied. I pulled open my sweatshirt so he could see better.

“Bombs over Baghdad,” he read slowly. “Oh, that makes me sad.”

I asked him if he was from Baghdad. He said no, that he was from Afghanistan, but that even so my t-shirt made him sad. He used that word twice, sad. I felt terrible immediately. I tried to explain that it wasn’t like that. It was from the Outkast song. Did he know Outkast? No, he didn’t. Had he heard the song? No he hadn’t.

“Bombs, it’s just sad,” he said again. “It is,” I agreed. I didn’t know how to explain.

I’m pretty sure I totally offended him. Sometimes he gives me 2 donuts for no reason (not exactly that great considering all the teeny clothes I want to wear this summer, but it’s the thought). In fact I’d be psyched if he started selling yogurt, but whatever. He always ends with the same dumb joke, “Have fun at the beach!” But I like it. It’s sweet. And now I’ve totally offended him. Thinking about it later he must have thought I was one of those people with a flag sticker on my door and Osama toilet paper or something. [Sigh].

Today I had a t-shirt with a cat on it, and things seemed fine. Though I thought I could detect a note of antipathy in his beach joke today. If he only knew I’m so not like that. I need to get a no nonsense literal ant-war t-shirt. Someone here suggested Hanes and a sharpie. Maybe.

Tree Rain

For sure it’s been ages – but fear not, I’m still here.

Someone typed into the assignment-o-meter, “summer rainstorm” quite awhile back, and my word if there’s a huge one right now. I missed it twice while in the train today, but then, on my way back from the headshrinker my luck ran out. Out of that last train home I bought an umbrella and a six-pack of Sierra Nevada for the four-block walk home. I fortuitously caught a bus for three of the four blocks, but I got soaked to the teeth on the last longest block. I prayed a shallow prayer: “Please don’t let my obscenely expensive lambskin Prada sandals that are my only outward display of filial connection to the big fancy ad agency I’m now freelancing at get ruined.” I don’t think they are ruined – but they’re wet. And yes, a precious little baby lamb is dead so that I can sell Tylenol to unsuspecting octogenarians and pregnant ladies in a style that matches the minimalist decor of the office. The rest of my clothes are my usual hippie garb. In fact, I was telling my hairdresser about the fancy ad agency, and she said, “and you’re the little hippie girl right?” And I sighed cause she was right. So yes, the sandals are a ridiculous use of funds. But they are beautiful and I could probably walk from Brooklyn to Detroit (damn Lakers) in them without a trace of blister.

So anyway, the wind is blowing rainwater off the trees. I remember, a long time ago, when my first boyfriend took me home to his family in Princeton, New Jersey. It was fall, and quite lovely in that part of the country. We were walking in the midst of trees – I can’t remember if it was a park, or just a nice street, as all streets are in Princeton. A gust of wind blew across our path and suddenly we were all wet.

“Tree rain,” he mumbled.

And I said, “What’s tree rain?” (Cause we don’t get that in LA)

“It’s the rain that rains from the trees when the wind blows.”

Some tree rain just got on my arm through the window. And it all reminds me of the list I’ve been making in my head of all the real reasons that I need a boyfriend. Fuck the intimacy, and the sharing, and the having someone to drag to that show you swear will be good, or at least good fodder for a later anecdote. Fuck the fucking and the kissing and the birth control too. That’s not what I’m after. It’s been a full year since I was coupled, and there are some serious boyfriend things that I am missing in my life. In order of importance and consequence, the real reasons I need a boyfriend:

1. To install my air conditioner, which is collecting dust in the hallway outside

2. To steal cable for me

3. To make sure I don’t get screwed buying a used car (I’m buying a car!)

4. To carry an old PC monitor down the stairs, also collecting dust in the hallway outside and messing up my feng shui

5. To work out this knot in the right side of my neck courtesy of my mother

6. To eat all the not-yet-bad-but-going-to-be-soon food in my fridge so I don’t feel wasteful throwing it out

7. To buy the beer and cigarettes so I don’t have to do it and feel guilty for being such a slacker

In other news, I’m freelancing for a newspaper that has a website:

Youngsters Feel Thrill Of Victory At Fl. Meadows Soap Box Derby Read it and be charmed!