The joys of growing old and feeble

FURTHER ADVENTURES GETTING COFFEE: Wake up, it’s 6 in the morning. It’s still dark. I’m totally stressed out about my upcoming eye exam. So I want to get up early and get ready for that. Put on a clean shirt, underwear and socks — normally I’m not too preoccupied with that stuff as some reclusive homeless bum living in the woods who goes nowhere and does nothing if he can help it. But today I’m going to be in close proximity with the medical people examining my eyeballs and hovering inches away from my face, so the last thing I want to do is offend.. . . Dump out some food for the cats (Mini Scaredy is mildly irked — she expects me to lay around with her on my blankets all morning petting her so she’s pissed that I’m leaving so early (she’s spoiled rotten I swear to God, ha ha). I trudged down the trail to the campus to find a secluded restroom where I can wash up and brush my teeth so as to simulate a normal human being.

I still got an hour to kill so I go to this coffee shop on College and Bancroft to get coffee and a brownie (I’ve been jonesing for one of those things all week). The place is crowded, as usual, and when the guy in front of me is done ordering he just stands there in front of the cashier, instead of stepping aside and waiting for his order to arrive. So I have to say, “Excuse me, are you done?” “Oh sorry,” he says and steps aside so I can order. But I feel a little rude — wondering if maybe I should have just waited for him to be done. Who knows?? . . . So the cashier fetches my coffee but no brownie. “Where’s the brownie?” I said. She says, “Mmmf muh mumms mmff” (as usual I can’t hear a word they’re saying with the goddamn masks muffling their voices and the plastic partition in front of them). She points to a counter of food off to the side. I fight my way through the crowd of people milling in front of the counter, but I can’t find the brownies. There are cups of fruit and other pastries but no brownies. I say to the cashier again “Where??” (this time with more of an edge in my voice). She points again and makes more muffled sounds. I look again, pick up something that might be a brownie but it’s a brown square of nutbread (fooled me!). “WHERE??” I said again. I’m sure my face is seething with anger by this point (what can I say I never could pull off the poker face thing). She points and muffles yet again. I feel bad because I’m sure I hit her with a blast of my anger, and that’s not fair to do with cashiers and clerks who are forced to maintain a smiling, “pleasant” facade for the customers (who needless to say are “always right,” the fucking assholes). FINALLY I find the brownies buried in the shadows of the bottom far corner. SUCCESS!!. . . So now I go to the condiments table to get cream and sugar for my coffee, fighting my way through the throngs of people milling about and darting towards me every time I make a move (just as I’m darting towards them). And it’s the craziest set-up. They got the packets of cream in one part of the room, they have the sugar in another part of the room, and they have the lids for the cups in another part of the room. It’s the craziest thing. So I’m going back and forth trying to fix my coffee (I never could find the stirrers, God only knows where they are, I had to use a plastic fork to stir my goddamn coffee). It’s like NOTHING works right these days.

So now I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and waiting for my eye exam. The good news is, the brownie was delicious. But the bad news is, I figure I better enjoy them brownies now while I still can because at the rate I’m going it won’t be long before I get an ulcer from all the stress I’m under and the only thing my stomach will be able to handle in the morning is a little saltine cracker and some water. Sheesh!

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