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.

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