I’ve had a week of weirdness. Unrelated things and people converged. Like heavily collided. Like the Universe has picked me up, moved me a second and set me back in the exact same but more aware-ly connected place; same space.
Yep, I’m gonna vague the details. Broadly, though, I was up until 1:00 AM last night plunking keys trying to connect the linear lights, random thoughts and rigid letters into a sphere of a story.
I tried an hour of editing. Tried to respectfully cloak it in anonymity. You know – so the players won’t know. Tonight’s tweaking didn’t take it to where it truly needed to be. So, it’s still incubating and I’m not letting it go. Yet. Be kind to me. I’m still so up on it, 24 hours later. Hoppy, happily awed at the alignment.
Goose bump similar, going/coming back. Retro. I’m in it like 2007, when a series of well-planned, well-placed God-smack coincidences sent me missioning to New Orleans with 49 strangers. Yeah, it’s like that. He’s got a plan and I’m waiting for it, excited. I’m going somewhere. Maybe only metaphysically. Maybe long haul. Maybe temporary. Maybe anything…
Hyped-up; like downing a mega-coffee specialty cuppa on an empty stomach, at midnight. Sort of odd since I’m off coffee on doctor’s orders. Glad, I unknowingly had that last fling with the Cola-Cola concoction.
It’s day 5 of nothing from a cow, nothing with gluten. I’m the way opposite of withdrawal. Go figure.
Comically, I scrolled into a Starbuck’s “Want!” inducing ad. Pistachio. Latte. So desirable, I may have whimpered, but since Nala-Lala thought I was talking to her, I’m gonna go with that. Hey, Universe – do your thing. Make that potentially tasty run last a little while. Please.
Make this run last a little while, too, please. Something’s happening here, and it feels so good.
I follow two sites of “I wish I’d thought of that” brilliance. Actually, there are more than that, but these two are specifically relevant. I screen-shoot them both daily. Most of the time I resist. But….
Coca-Cola with Coffee.
Stop wrinkling your nose and keep your “eew” to yourself.
Coke didn’t create this concoction for me. There had to be at least some sort of wide-spread weirdo-appeal factor in play. You’d best believe it wasn’t likely to have been inside pitched as a mass-marketing loss-leader.
Are you my people?
My choice: Dark Coffee
OMG. Yes! 200%. Yum.
Two things the cracked tab called to my attention.
First, the fantastic smell of coffee.
Second, audibly less fizzy release.
Sip? Yup. Sip! Mmm & Yup.
Closed my eyes trying to place the taste.
Landed in New Orleans. Ah, dark cold-brewed, chicory-cut iced coffee with a touch of simple syrup. Sigh.
This isn’t that, but I like where it takes me.
The can claims ‘powdered coffee’ made from Brazilian beans. No chicory.
High fructose corn syrup. Not simple syrup.
I decided I needed more. More than my current four cans. Well, only three and a half cans were left on Monday morning, so I took the half with me to work.
Stop judging. I like my coffee cold and my soda warm and minimally fizzy. So, a half-sipped overnight in the fridge perched it on the perfect edge.
The original IG feed that caught my eye had a cautious comment. Paraphrased, “I saw it at Sam’s and I’d like to try it, but I’m not gonna buy a case of it.” In case it wasn’t liked.
Well, I liked it. And ‘by-the-case’ sounded suitable.
I checked Costco online. Nada. Not even a hint of it.
I’m not a Sam’s club member, but a friend of mine is. Of course, I asked the favor.
To my horror, it was declared sold out at Sam’s. Sold out? Sam’s, Target, Walmart. What?
What the heck happened between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning?
Was some subliminal advertising during the big, copyrighted (don’t dare use the word) football fan show, lost on me? Of course, not.
That’d have been hilarious, though. Attention redirection from Pepsi to Coke while TheWeeknd performed on the weekend. Yes, I enjoyed that.
Yeah, off track.
I kept scrolling. Angst was replaced with anger.
People are mean. Some rat-bassbird had actually listed a 4-pack for $120.00.
Ah, that special group of people who buy stuff they don’t want and resell it at outrageous prices. Yes, it’s a cycle of retail life. Yes, folks are free to be opportunistic. I suppose I could flip and offer to assess is it as a COVID-induced attempt to supplement restricted income. But, the cruel crafties existed way before this pandemic. And assess is only one letter away from a….
Oh, no. Uh, uh. I’ll just slid my finger over to Meijer and order me up another 3 four-packs for $4.89. Mm hm, mathematically: $1.295 apiece including MI deposit. Not $20.00. Yeah, I snapped that. Inwardly, not outwardly, because that would have been bizarre. -er.
Could I justify a $10 delivery fee for just Cokes? Nah. So, I bulked up my order with a cucumber, cat food, cream cheese and some fascinatingly interesting bake or no-bake Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Oreo Pieces.
At that point a little bit of logic chose to lope across my front lobe. Do ya really need to do this?
Nah. X’d out my cart.
I shouldn’t be consuming the contents of any sugared, caffeinated soda on a daily basis. Not on a semi-regular basis, either. Yes, there is a zero-sugar alt version. No, I’m not planning to go there.
Here’s the close.
I’ve got three coveted cans left. An emergency stash. Or a celebratory stash. Like wine, but with the opposite not-drowsy, super-hyped effect. (Hee hee.)
So, back to this particular day. Over unrushed, non-churdled coffee, I asked how Jeff was feeling. He told me he must be getting better, because he felt pretty good. He was less tired than he had been for the last few weeks.
We had a quick conversation about maybe buying a cappuccino/espresso maker and a popcorn machine for the store. His targets, he’d explained, were the massage and hair salon clientele. He figured there was usually a person or two waiting, and the smells would be tempting. Plus, it’d make the whole place a little better on those extra hot summer days when the wind drifted in, confirming evidence of the adjacent farm.
“And…” he preened. “I already looked and they’re not that expensive.”
It was a creative and very cute idea. I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought; I saw issues. I brought up food licensing guidelines. Jeff immediately responded that we already had our food handler certification. I pointed out that preparing food to serve as opposed to just opening a jar of salsa and handing someone a cracker wasn’t on the same level.
I tasked Jeff with finding out if there was even piping for water available for our store. My optimist said that wouldn’t be a problem. If there wasn’t, we could just increase our water delivery for brewing. I countered; how would we clean up or clean our equipment?
“We can use the salon sink. I already talked to the owner, and she likes the idea of coffees.” Jeff offered, smiling proudly. He’d done some leg-work on this.
“With the hair dyes and bleaches?” I questioned. “I have a feeling that would be a bad idea, even if somehow it was approved by the licensers.”
Jeff tugged his ear, reasoning aloud. “Well, there’s always the bathroom sink.” I asked him to check on that, too.
I told Jeff I thought it was a great idea, but we had to see if it was workable.
Getting up to leave, I had another question for him. “Do you even know how to use one of those machines?”
“Nope.” He replied, with confidence. “But, we can always learn it at home, first.” That typical Jeff answer made me giggle.
With a quick kiss, we mutually advised each other to ‘have a good day.’ Then, I was out the door.
“Wait – my chocolate milk? I haven’t bought any chocolate milk, lately.”
“Yeah, you did.” Jeff came back. “It was just a little one, with the rabbit on it. I think maybe it wasn’t any good anymore. It smelled kinda funny. It was kinda old, too.”
My mind went from – I don’t remember buying chocolate milk to – “Wait – what? How old? It smelled bad, and you used it anyway?” I squawked and gaped.
“Well, it wasn’t that old. I checked the date. Just a couple of weeks. And, I don’t drink the stuff, so I don’t know what’s good!”
The rule-follower in me was flabbergasted. My brain shorted into partial words. I stumbled over ‘chocolate’ and ‘milk’ and ended up with an accidental coinage. “You gave me ch–urdled milk? This is why perishables are date stamped!”
“Nah,” Jeff insisted, remarkably patiently, considering we were having this conversation for perhaps the hundredth if not close to the hundredth time. “Those are just sug-gest-ed dates. Things don’t suddenly go bad on that date.”
“I know that,” I insisted, back. “But, they eventually do!”
That earned me an eye-roll. “Well,” he jokingly reasoned, “If you just drank the white milk, ya would’a had better coffee, then.”
“Yeah?” I countered, “and what is the date on that?”
Jeff yanked the fridge open and grabbed the milk jug. “Hmm,” he noted, grinning. “Says yesterday.” He pulled off the cap and, to my horror, full-on stuck his sniffer in the hole.
Not much scared Jeff. Inserting his nose into, or, even taking a swig from, a gallon of possibly spoilt milk, wasn’t on his list of scary stuff. For the record, though, being chased with a dead fish, was.
“Nope.” Jeff split-second analyzed the experience. “It’s definitely not ch-urdled, yet.” He glanced over at me, and grinned at my expression. “Probably wouldn’t use that either, wouldya?”
Me, grimacing back: “No. Especially, not since you just stuck your nose in there.”
“Aw, my nose didn’t touch the milk!” Jeff scoffed.
“So what, if it didn’t touch the milk? Your nose got wiped on the spout! You’re gonna have to pour the milk over that!’
“Geez, ok.” Jeff went for a paper towel. “I’ll wipe it out!”
“Don’t even think about giving me that milk, tomorrow.” I warned him. “And, don’t cook with it, either!”
Jeff guffawed. “You’re not gonna die from the milk!”
“Damn, right.” I replied. “Cuz, none of it is going past my lips!”
He took a swig, swished it around in his mouth, and ridiculously wiggled his tongue in my direction. “Wanna kiss?” he teased.
(To be fair, I guess Jeff helped coin the word. I dropped it, but he picked it up and ran for the punchline.)
Jeff was up early with me, Friday morning, and very much back to being his usual perky self. While I was in the shower, he made coffee and packed my work breakfast and lunch for me. I knew I would be short a van pool passenger this morning, which gave me a few extra minutes.
So, I sat and sipped my creative, coffee surprise of the day. Raspberry flavored coffee with vanilla creamer. Jeff and I had joined the Gevalia coffee club, convinced by the free coffee maker. The flavor assortment was a bonus, too. Back then, whole beans were considered radical. But, we had a spice grinder; specifically dedicated to coffee. Fancy.
Jeff was the brew-master, in-charge of keeping our cabinet stocked. Each new shipment was a challenge to him. I can only recall one time when I had to explain that I hadn’t been able to drink the disaster in my cup.
I’m not a fan of scalding hot coffee. I prefer cold, however cool, room temperature, and lukewarm are acceptable alternates. Yes, I’m that person – the one who uses a spoon to chase ice around a water glass to cool my coffee. Because of this, I rarely drank my freshly- brewed, morning beverage at home. Hardly ever on my commute, either.
Insulated car cups hadn’t come close to popularity, or reaching and reacting the efficient way they do now. As the van pool driver, my commute was close to an hour. So, by the time I got to work, the coffee in my up-cycled, individual soda bottle, was a pleasant room temp. In summer, it was almost properly chilled from parking in front of the air conditioned vents.
The conversation about the concoction I threw away, ended in laughter, as usual.
I started it. “Whatever you put in my coffee, this morning, please, don’t ever do that again.”
“You didn’t like it?”
“No. It was terrible!”
“Oh.” Jeff pondered. “It seemed like it would work, to me.”
“What was it?”
“Hazelnut, but there wasn’t enough. So, I added the cherry kind we got in Traverse City. Then, we were out of cream, so I added the rest of your chocolate milk.”
He was right. A chocolate-covered, cherry cordial hugging a hazelnut sounded like it should have been good, but…