“You’re a whirlwind of excuses,” she said. Like it was me that couldn’t make up his mind. Of course maybe if I’d known just what it was that I was gonna do or what in hell it was that I wanted I’d a told her. It’s not like I’m hiding secrets or makin’ plans that no one will ever know except me.
Even today’s horoscope that I’d just read while I was on my way over seemed to be working against me. LIBRA September 22-October 22: Stop living in the future, the present is needing you just as much as tomorrow. Someone feels they’re being left in the dark, avoid subterfuge and say what you mean.
“Ok, Ok” I said. “I’ll take a triple tall, ah, ah, soy, no, no! Make that a whole milk latte, easy on the foam, or is that what you call dry? Damn, it’s just too much pressure tryin’ ta order in espresso-speak!”
You know I’m thinkin’ this turning the clocks forward as we “make our way into Spring” deal seems to have really put the “D” in my dysfunctionality and obviously even the woman, or, ah excuse me, the barista behind the espresso counter was sensing my frustration. Yet it’s quite possible that havin’ just stood here for the last ten minutes staring blankly at the drink menu while unconsciously holding up her line of payin’ customers may have been more than just the obvious indicator she needed to sense that things weren’t quite right with me.
Although if environment truly holds any sway over the human psyche, then slogging my way through the last 27 record breakin’ days of continuous rain, somehow scientifically measured off at a total of nine inches of torrential downpour, could have a lot to do with my foreboding sense of perplexity. That and my car’s leakin’ around its windshield leaving the floor on the passenger’s side a soggy mess of black carpet and god knows what else is happening below that. While the entire construction site right outside my building’s front door has turned into a sliding mass of mud, stones and chunks of concrete slowly makin’ its way onto Third Street not to mention the floor of my apartment. And then let’s not forget the dreadful mess that rain makes of anyone’s hair, and of course mine’s no exception, only I’m so vain what with all the hair products and goo I use ta make it stand on end and now splat – it too is a friggin’ dilapidated jumble of confusion.
And unfortunately this morning half asleep and in desperate need of caffeine I walked the two blocks to the coffee shop in what must have been a lull in the storm – if that’s what you indeed call a month long rain shower. And now standing here with my latte in hand staring out the window as the rain picks up to gale force again and small rivers begin to form across the sidewalk. I’m not so sure that I can actually bring myself to venture out and get wet all over again.
Regrettably I think my umbrella is in my car, like layin’ on the floor, probably floating in a major puddle by now. The one that’s no doubt forming underneath the passenger seat as the rain seeps in—the carpet now a black mass like seaweed at the bottom of the ocean and my umbrella bobbing away like a harbor buoy in the shallows.
Only at the moment I’m just a little too tense to be thinkin’ of my car right now. Hell, I can’t even look at my reflection in the coffee shop’s window because I keep lookin’ at my pathetic hair. I mean I really don’t wanna stand here waitin’ for the rain to let up. But I sure as hell don’t wanna get soakin’ wet running through the downpour to get home!
Silently the barista comes out from behind the counter and stands next to me as we both look out the window at the falling rain. “Do ya think it’ll ever stop?” she says. “It’s been coming down for like a month at least, huh? Just think, there are new born babies in San Francisco that have never even seen the sun yet.” And then she puts her hand on my shoulder and sighs.
And ya know, not to be a complainer here or anything, but the barista is really starting to freak me out and to think I’m stuck here with her. Stuck either making a decision as to goin’ outside and getting’ soaking wet or to turn my head and see if she is indeed being serious or she’s just a little out of her mind. She may be even goin’ insane because of the all this rain – like stranger things have happened, right?
Though to tell you the truth right now I’m having a hell of a hard time turning my head to look at her. I seem to wanna rather look at the reflection of my hair as it wilts. Yet out of the corner of my eye I can see that she’s starin’ at me and I’m starting to worry that she’s about to hug me! Is this some form of survivor guilt that’s going on here? Like we’re the last two people in San Francisco that are dry and now we’re somehow gonna have ta do some bondin’ or worse engage in some other new age healing ritual that only a highly trained Starbuck’s barista can preside over.
Outside in the street the traffic has come to a halt as the rain comes down in waves of liquid intensity and all the people in the motionless cars stare out from foggy windows wide eyed in disbelief. Across the courtyard there’s a few pedestrians standing under the sushi parlor’s awning and for a moment I’m wishin’ that I ate fish and had stopped there instead of comin’ here to get my usual morning fix of caffeine.
“You live around here, don’t you?”
“Yeah” I mumble, “just down the street by the bridge.”
And then she says “I really don’t feel like going all the way to my house after I get off from work. It’s two bus rides and…”
“I gotta go!” I scream and shove open the door. The rain hits me like one solid sheet of water and with my head down I make it across the courtyard soaking wet, clutching my to go cup, now thankfully outta the deluge safely under the awning, standing next to three shivering teenagers, who look just as lost as I feel.
Down in the gutter a crumpled umbrella floats by and then I look up and see her there, behind the glass door that I just ran out of, waving at me and I halfheartedly return the gesture as I turn the corner slowly working my way down the street. From awning to doorway to dashing across the intersection and now there’s only one large parking lot to make it across and then I’ll be home.