Wake Up and Smell the Signs

I wonder if it’s common to only suffer stomach issues upon one’s return from Mexico. I’ll spare you details, but mine are serious enough that D recommended I eat nothing today, save a banana, and I-whose-vocabulary-doesn't-include-“fast”-unless-it's-referring-to-speed reluctantly concurred. But after this morning’s Tokyo Express ironed my puffy coat into something more closely resembling a banana leaf and left me breathing straight out of a stranger’s hot mouth for ten minutes, I felt deserving of some latte goodness. So much for those good intentions. I'll just take the elevator straight down, thanks.

I was getting near 15 minutes late for work, so I opted for one of the two Starbucks a stone’s throw from my office. It was pleasantly empty when I walked in, save for the conspicuous hurdle between me and the register in the form of a lady carrying way too much stuff. Trying to carry, I mean. Her bag was precariously balanced between her and the food case, with most of its contents starting to spill out onto her arms. She managed to slide herself over to the register where she continued a clawing search within the bag's depths whilst profusely apologizing for the delay. I’ve been accused of always having too much stuff, so I gave her plenty of empathetic space and silenced all passive-aggressive sighs.

After an awkward minute or so, and with a gusty exhale of relief, she finally excavated a wallet the size of a stick of gum from the recesses of the bag. We had lift-off. Bag lady all paid up and out of the way, I moved in and was paying when I noticed a curious little book on the counter. It looked like a pocket bible, so my first thought was that Starbucks had really crossed the line this time with its book of the month mumbo-jumbo. But a slight tilt of the book later, and I was pretty sure this wasn’t one of them books that had just slid out of its display or something.

No, there it was, clear as day, "Alcoholics Anonymous." A bible of sorts, I suppose. As if she wasn’t having enough of a rough go, she had to leave that of all things behind her at the counter. So much for the anonymous portion of the program, I decided the presumably alcoholic portion could probably use it, so I handed it over to her as if I was handing her a dropped mitten. It was delivered with such nonchalance it was... entirely... chalant.

She thanked me like I might thank someone who'd just told me my skirt was tucked up into my undies, and then we both headed over to the fixins island, where I was too distracted to notice that I put nutmeg in my latte instead of cinnamon. If you’ve never tried nutmeg in your coffee, I’d recommend you keep it that way. Unless you enjoy dry heaves. So much for my coffee treat, something was clearly trying to tell me to just.put.it.down. It wasn't my day for coffee. Not down the hatch, anyway.

So it was that this junky in search of her own fix almost purchased this print today. That is until I realized shipping cost 8 pounds and the checkout process required me to enter mysterious information about my credit card, including “issue number” and “valid on,” which is not to be confused with “expires on,” found on the line right below. I figured the level of confusion caused by such an ordinary process was a good sign to forego on that sign afterall. If only they were always so easy to interpret.

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