Caffeine. No, let me try that again; Caffeine! Yes, glorious and wonderful in nature, it is the single best chemical on earth other than women. Is Caffeine a religion yet? Coffee must be, yes, Coffee is a religion and I am the Cardinal of Coffee. I am a Bishop of the Beans. I am The Latte High Lord. Juan Valdez is my patron saint. My Columbian comes in a cup.
Someone, I bless them now, gave me a coupon for a free cup of coffee at that World Conglomerate Coffee Chain, and I went in to use it. I make no bones about doing business with these people because they have great coffee. Not just good coffee, but exceptional coffee in my eyes, and if I think it’s good, then it’s better than that even. I’ll whore my money out to anyone selling good coffee and if it’s free you better not be standing in the door when I get there. I’ve got my hat pulled down, my safari hat with one side buttoned up, I’ve got my sunglasses on, and I’ve got “Would I lie to you?” by the Euthymics cranking on the MP3 player. Annie Lennox rocks. She’s got smooth, hardcore vocals and she’s backed up, at least on this song, by horns and good string work. I unplug to speak with the Acolyte Of The Counter. I also take off my sunglasses because she’s cute. She smiles back not because I’m cute, because I tip well, which I do not because she’s cute, but she is also proficient. “Shot of espresso?” she teases me. I shouldn’t because I’ve had a couple of cups at home, and I’m already feeling the buzz. “Two for one?” the guy working with her suggests as he walks by. I feel like saying, “And I want a uniform!” but who would catch the reference? I put a five in the tip jar as the Acolyte ups the size of the cup to hold the free double shot of espresso, or so she claims. These people like me. I tip well and I am always happy to be there, and happy to see them. I write in my journal as I wait for the smokin’ hot blackness to cool. “Found out about you” by the Gin Blossoms kicks in, a great coffee buzz song.
“Shine on you crazy Diamond part two” by Pink Floyd is really good work. Not just good, but really good, can you tell I’m in a good mood? Coffee is good. Pink Floyd is good. Cruising through the big hardware chains store is good. It’s early in the morning and I’ve got the afterburners on, four mile an hour walk, and the store is mine. I like the hardware store. Tools, power tools, nails, screws, power tools, yes, I can build a pyramid in my basement, and I don’t even have a basement.
The downside to caffeine is there must be a urine sacrifice each hour. I head towards the bathroom in the back, and there is some burly biker looking dude standing beside the door looking very nervous. I come in on his blindside and as I push the door open two things happen at once. The first thing is the burly biker looking dude freaks out and grabs me. Even highly caffeinated I realize that tying up with someone this size is going to go poorly for me. Hell, even if I had drank instead of coffee an equal volume of tequila I’m fairly certain something in my brain would be going, “Dude! Axes in the Garden Center! Be one with that dude!” But something else happens, remember that part? As I push the door open, the burly guy grabs me, and a child screams bloody murder, “GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!”
I swing both arms up hard to disengage the burly dude but he backs off, palms up, “Sorry about that, sir, sorry about that, I’m sorry man, okay?” In the world of men, when someone who can obviously thrash you and mix a margarita at the same time and not spill the drink starts apologizing, code dictates you stop and listen, and do not act aggressively towards this person. I unplug, take a step back, and wait.
“My daughter is in there and she can’t, shi..can’t go to the bathroom with anyone else in there with her.” He’s sweating, red faced, and totally about to die. “She’s like this at home.” He adds.
“That’s the men’s room.” I point out.
“She still needs...help” he tells me. This is biker material if there ever was. I notice there is a pink purse with legs and a tail stashed on some boxes.
“You like Pink Floyd?” I ask. “I got Pink Floyd on my MP3.”
“Yeah, really, they really rocked.” He looks relieved. This too is guy code stuff. When there is resolution then everyone acts normal and life goes on. “I loved ‘The Wall’.
“Daddy!” a voice calls.
“I got your back.” I tell him and I take up guard at the door.
A couple of minutes later he comes out of the bathroom with a little girl who looks around for her animal purse, and he retrieves it for her.
“Thank you mister.” She says, and he nods at me, guy code-like.
The pink purse is an animal of some sorts, and as they walk away I hear the little girl say, “Candy wants a hot dog, but no chili” and the burly man takes her hand.
I really have to go. Pink Floyd is much better than pink purses, no offense Candy. I get shelving for a closet, and look at power tools. The music has morphed over to Holly McNarland, someone I met once at Lilith Fair in 1997. She has a great voice but seemed genuinely surprised I thought so. I see the burly man walking out with the little girl and Candy, and he stops at the hot dog vendor’s wagon. He’s carrying a five gallon bucket of paint in one hand, and Candy in the other as the little girl eats the hotdog. The caffeine craves action, movement, and rock but I watch has he walks to his truck,straps her into the child seat, hands Candy over to her, and then puts the bucket in the back seat.
I have no idea why, but this man has given me more hope for people than I have had in quite some time.