Jockomo feena nay*

Yesterday when I got in the car I couldn't select, from all of the things that were on my mind, which thing to think about, so instead, I started listening to the various versions of Iko Iko on my iPod, trying to decide which I like best.  It’s still a toss up between the Dixie Cups and Cyndi Lauper (!), with Dr. John a close second.

I decided to stop at a Starbucks in a place I don't usually like to stop, because I was suddenly aware of how completely unfocused I was, and thought I should be at the top of my game (if there is such a thing anymore) for a presentation to the New Boss, which would be my first real encounter with him. All of the bosses between he and I also asked to attend, either because they were nervous that I'd screw up, or (long shot) because they thought my presentation would be interesting.  At any rate, it seemed like a good idea to be clear headed, if possible, and it seemed like I should allow maximum time for the caffeine to take affect. 

The Starbucks is in a big new development that I spent months and months walking around on when it was still forested; now the trees are mostly gone, and it's populated with ugly cheap houses, and it seems like there’s no soul left at all, but I did want the coffee, so I stopped.

  Being that it wasn't yet 6 am, there was only one other customer in there, and I instantly found her really annoying.  She was just talking too much about boring stuff (I know what you're thinking.  But really, stick with me…), like, "Hmm, I think I'll have a scone today.  No, make that banana bread.  Later, I'll come back and may have a cookie."  Blah blah blah.

It kept going like that, and my first thought was, hurry it up, lady, but then I realized how ridiculous that was, and how spoiled I am, Um, yes, I want my gourmet coffee NOW.  I don't have two more minutes to wait for some lonely older woman to prattle on.  So I breathed, and stood there, and tried to decide what I was going to think about for the rest of the drive, when Angry Man entered the store.  He stood there waited for 10 seconds, noticed that Nothing Was Happening, and then did that thing of trying to make eye contact with me, like we were accomplices, joined in mutual irritation, but I was having none of it, and wouldn't look at him, and listened instead to the song in my head, which was saying "my grandma and your grandma were sittin' by the bayou…", and, without making a perceptible motion, bringing my hands to my heart center.

Angry Man waited another 2 seconds, and then said loudly, "HEY, COULD I GET SOME COFFEE?", causing Irritating Lady to turn around and notice me for the first time.  She seemed to assume we were together, and said “Wow, Lady, calm down.” I didn’t look at her either, because it just seemed to be shaping up to be one of those ‘don’t make eye contact' sort of days, and I ordered my coffee in the kindest voice I could muster.

Irritating Lady stepped over to the Dressing Up the Coffee bar, and turned to Angry Man and said, “what’s your name?”, but she said it like this: WHAT’S YOUR NAME????

And he said, like this, “ED.  MY NAME IS ED.”

And she said, “WELL ED, I JUST HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD DAY, ED.  HAVE A GREAT DAY, ED.”  But her tone suggested that she wasn’t at all hoping he’d have a good day, but rather that he’d get some kind of flu. In my sleepy head I was still singing, “my grandma told your grandma she’s gonna’ set your flag on fire.”

I drove away, forgetting to think about the other things on my list and just thought about Angry Man and Irritating Lady.  How these two random strangers basically wrecked the first hour of each other’s day, and feeling a little sorry about that, and wondering why we do that to one another.

I got to work, and did the little scramble, and got set up to give my power point, and waited with it queued up to the first slide, which was a picture of Edvard Munch’s The Scream.  And the second-biggest boss arrived, and sat down, and said, “what’s that around your neck, is that a scarf?”

“Yep, it’s a scarf.”

“What’s the deal with those?”

“This is deal with those:  I got up at 5, tossed clothes on, thought, oh, I’ll add a scarf and look super put-together for this important presentation.”

“Oh.  Is that how you look, super put together?  Huh.  Do guys wear scarves?”

“Just David Geffen.”  Which blew right by him (‘…your hat strategically dipped below one ear, your scarf it was apricot…”).

“What’s that movie about the scarves?”

“Love Story?”

“Yes!  That movie has lots of scarves in it.”

And the scheduled meeting time passed in this fashion; The Dude never showed, because something Very Important came up, and I have to say, the two bosses that did arrive looked kind of nervous about The Scream being up there, but no one mentioned it, and I never did give the presentation after all.


  1. Kinda gotta hate when all that adrenaline is built up and then, bam! No opportunity to make the presentation. There should be some sort of prize for that, such as, "hey, thanks for showing up, since we didn't have the opportunity to see your presentation, here is a Starbucks card..." and then you could just start the day all over again tomorrow.

    Or perhaps return to the drill of making the coffee at home and totally skip witnessing the exchange between Irritating Woman and Angry Man Ed. However, then you would have to figure out what to do with the money you saved...

  2. This essay cracks me up. I would give you a really good grade on it because even though the subject was all scattered and boring, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. Really! It was a page turner. That's good writing.

  3. It's always good writing on this blog.

  4. I really have always enjoyed the Aaron Carter version of Iko Iko...

  5. LOL! I have two sbux in mind when placing this story... --from someone in your writing group who also lives on the "outskirts of the internet" (guess who)


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