OK, I should probably admit to you where I was going when I drove by the girl who was talking on the phone while jogging. I mean, if I don’t face up to my problem, how am I ever going to get better?
I was on my way to … well, to this place again. What’s so bad, or noteworthy about that? Well, this was the first time ever that I left work and drove halfway across town and back for no other purpose than to fetch myself a cup of coffee. In the past, it’s always been, "Hey, I think I’ll go book-browsing," or, "I have an errand to run in Five Points," or, "I need to go to a hotspot to do some blogging" — and pretty much always on a weekend.
(Oh, and for those of you keeping score on my time management: Except for that 20 minutes, which substituted for a lunch hour, I was very productive the rest of the day. Especially after that last coffee. So judge not, lest ye also become a blogger.)
This time, I didn’t even pretend there was an excuse. I had been thinking about my next cup of coffee ever since I had my last one, at breakfast (unless you count that half a cup I got at mid-morning, after begging the guy in the downstairs canteen to open back up just for me to get a refill, and then draining what little was left in the insulated carafe thingie). So first chance I got between meetings and such, I put on my coat, muttered something about "an errand or two to run," and drove straight there.
Here I am acting all bemused at the idiosyncracies of youth (my last post) one minute, then the next I’m standing in a long line of them waiting for a caffeine fix. I listen to them rattle off elaborate, absurdly complex orders that sound like litanies chanted in a foreign tongue — with repetitive responses intoned by the help behind the counter — and edge forward, waiting for when I can order my "plain coffee." The lad in front of me actually asks, "What do you have?" The reply is, "Depends on whether you want hot or cold." Everyone — except me — is hugely entertained when he asks for something in-between, and is informed that’s one thing they don’t have.
By the time he removes his inconvenient self and I belly up, I’ve scrapped plans for "just a small one," and order the "grande." The counterman overfills it — no objections from me there — and I ruin a perfectly good dress shirt and pair of gray pants trying to drive back. Ah, but it’s worth it. It tastes lovely. I even find myself tearing away the insulating wrap to savor the inanity of "The Way I See It No. 49." I am utterly lacking in discrimination at this point.
This is madness. I managed to quit Vicodin when I had taken it day and night for weeks after I broke my ribs kickboxing several years back. (And believe me, I felt its pull. No wonder it’s the favorite addiction of TV writers, from "House" to "The Book of Daniel.") So what’s with this? Why does this dark brew charm me to greater foolishness each day?
Well, I’m going to summon what shreds of self-respect I have left. Tomorrow, one coffee with breakfast. A big one. But that’s it. Or maybe another small one, if they’re just going to dump it out anyway. But no more mad, mid-day quests.
Today I hit rock-bottom. There’s only one way to go now.