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Diners are full of peculiar people. Especially late at night.

I was reading Ashley Jillian‘s post on places with mediocre coffee and the peculiar people you see at such places and it reminded me that I also had a place like that. I used to go there a lot, but I’ve stopped going ever since I got my own place and can have all the peace and quiet I want there.

But well, at the time I was living in a small apartment, with 3 other people, broke, and the only time I had to write was in the middle of the night. Since the apartment was too small, I didn’t have a place where I could just lock myself in without disturbing others. Plus, they always accused me of being anti-social, because I would give my laptop more attention than I’d give them. Well, they loved the TV and I never complained, but whatever. So I went to the only place I could think of, a diner with free wi-fi and a never-ending pot of coffee that’s open 24/7.

I started going because I didn’t have another option. Then, after I moved out of the apartment, I kept going there just because, just out of habit. I met two servers that were always working late at night, which was when I used to go there, and they where awesome. They took care of me but never bothered me. They didn’t care I took up a whole table for myself and I left them a good tip. They’d even joke sometimes because I’d get there before them and sometimes only left after their shift was over. We had a good thing going on.

I probably realized I was going there too much when I saw a new face greeting me at the front door. Recognizing a new face is always a sign you’ve been there one too many times. But that was not all. Suddenly the manager popped from behind the new guy and said I wanted table 47. That was the best table for someone with a laptop. It had easy access to an outlet and the advantage of not having anyone behind you who can peek over your shoulders. And I always sat there. Then she gave me a smile, asked me how I was, and left. Yep, I was going there way too much. But that didn’t stop me from going back.

Until the day a guy came in and sat at the table to my right. Nothing unusual, you would say, and I would agree, it wasn’t for the fact that he started talking to me. He saw my iPhone and showed me he had an iPod. I nodded, politely, and turned my attention back to my laptop. Then he started showing me pictures of his drawings. An artist, cool. First pictures of cats, nice pictures, by the way, but then nude pictures. No, not only nude picture, pictures of couples together and in nude. Awkward. But then he excused himself explaining he made those while he was in jail. Because that would make it all better. The waiter came and I took the opportunity to turn my attention back to my laptop.

After the waiter left he started talking to me again. He said life was really hard because people judged him just because he was in jail. Then I felt bad. I had judged him. So I decided to talk to him. Then he started telling me about this girl he was talking to and she seemed pretty interested in him and then her boyfriend showed up from nowhere and told him to leave. He pulled a knife on the boyfriend but the boyfriend’s friend had called security and he ended up being arrested again. He kept insisting that it was not fair and I kept thinking there was nothing good I could say. I couldn’t agree with him, but if I didn’t, would he be mad at me? Would he do anything to me?

Then he saw a ring on my finger and asked me what the ring meant. That’s when I decided to excuse myself saying I had to leave, that I didn’t realize how late it was till now. It was not even midnight, which was so not late for someone known for staying there till at least 2am, but I just had to leave. While I was packing my things he started asking if there was someone waiting for me at home. I say yes, without offering any more explanations. He asked me where I lived and I just panicked. I said I was sorry but I wasn’t comfortable sharing that kind of information with a stranger. He said he understood, but I wasn’t sure what to think of it.

The whole drive home I kept checking on my rear-view mirror to see if there was anyone following me. There wasn’t and I arrived home safely. But I couldn’t stop thinking that had been the strangest conversation I’d had lately. At least in person. I do have crazy conversations on Twitter, but that’s a whole other universe.

 

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Another reason why I’m going to hell. But that’s okay, because that’s where most of my friends will be anyway.

This whole post was written a while ago, but only now is coming to life.

I was having an off day, which is fine, it tends to happen from time to time, and I usually just brush it off and keep going because I know it won’t last forever. I mean, it can’t last forever, and the next day has to be better, because an even always follows an odd. That’s math. You can’t argue with math.

And what do I do when I’m feeling down? I go to my favorite store in town (totally didn’t mean for that to rhyme, by the way): Half Price Books. Apparently they are all over the place, so definitely check them out. Anyway, I walked around, got a few notebooks, the book On Writing by Stephen King, plus three books by José Saramago: one copy of The Double and two copies of Death with Interruptions. Both are great, I’ve read them already. In fact, I already own a copy of the second one, so the two copies I bought this time are going to two lucky friends of mine. But as I was not totally happy, I kept on walking around. Just being surrounded by books already helps improve an odd day for me. However, after you walk around the same aisles three times, people tend to look at you suspiciously. To avoid that, I decided to walk over to the game section. And that’s when I saw it, the reason why I’m going to hell: Brain Box Wood Cube.

Tell me you see what I'm seeing.

Right now you’re probably thinking I’m insane and that there’s nothing wrong with that game. And you’re probably right. But that’s only because you were not in my head at the time. Let me explain.

When I looked at the wood cube, the first thing that crossed my mind was how much it resembled a Rubik’s Cube, but colorless, since it’s all in different shades of beige. So what did I think? Rubik’s Cube for color blind people! Think about it. It would be a perfect gift for that color blind friend who always felt left out because he could never play the game. I’ve know a lot of color blind people in my life (okay, only four, but still, four can be a lot) and I always thought about buying one of them a Rubik’s Cube, just to see their reaction, but never did. One of my color blind friends, by the way, loves pink and purple. Once she asked me to help her shop for a dress. I said they had that dress in black, blue, and purple, and my friend was like, “Purple? I love purple! Which one is it?” I’m so not kidding. Of course I made her tell me which one was it. After all, she’s the one who loves purple.

Back to today’s story. So I’m at the store, I see the wood cube, and then I have to buy it for a color blind friend. Of course! I can imagine my friend opening the gift and me saying, “It’s a Rubik’s Cube for color blind kids!” all excited, because there’s no way you can’t be excited at something like that. I can even imagine my friend’s face, even with that pause that you do before doing your ‘present face’. It will be priceless!!

Finally a Rubik's Cube that won't make that color blind friend feel left out.

P.S.: I really like this site about color blindness, or, as some prefer, color deficiency, and how they explain life’s minor frustrations (and occasional dangers) for the color blind. Or you can try to see how color blind people would see your site to understand a bit more about how it works.

 

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The day a venti skinny peppermint mocha tried to kill me.

(The following actually happened on Nov 29, 2011, but I’m only now posting it here. I actually wrote it for a blog I share with a friend, but since I wanted to share it here also, and my friend is totally awesome, here it is. Enjoy it. Or skip it. Your call.)

A ton of tinny problems woke me up at 5 am this morning. Then they each took a turn, bugging me for answers. I had none. So I just kept rolling in bed till it was time to get up. They could keep me awake, but they would not force me out of bed before it was necessary.

Got dressed and ready really fast. Got the kids ready, gave them breakfast, and loaded the car. Since I didn’t have breakfast, I decided to stop at Starbucks for some coffee. And what did I order? Right, a venti skinny peppermint mocha. When the lady handed me the cup, I thought about asking for a stopper. But I didn’t want to be late to drop kids off at school, so I thought “what if it spills a little, big deal. It’s such a tinny little opening. What kind of damage could it cause?”

Don’t ever tempt faith by saying things like that. Ever!

Two blocks away I had to turn right, and as I turned, the cup decided to keep going straight, instead of turning with the car. The funny thing is that I saw the damn cup tilting, I saw the lid flying on top of my leg, and I saw the brown warm liquid flooding the driver’s seat. And as I saw it, I also felt it. FUCK, it was HOT! Hot, hot, hot! And I couldn’t do a damn thing about it! I kept my head cool and was able to keep driving without hitting anybody. I didn’t even realize I was whispering “fuck” repeatedly, till the toddler in the backseat caught my attention by saying “What happened? Are you okay?” He’s the sweetest little thing ever. And only because of him, I kept driving till I reached where we had to go. I had to unload the car with mocha-soaked pants and take him and his sister to their classroom. It was humiliating. And I thanked whatever god there was that I had decided to wear black pants, or everyone would be able to see the damage from far away.

They walked with the speed of a snail going to meet its faithful death. Today, of all days, some teacher from another room noticed they were twins and had to make a comment. And that made them stop. Today, of all days, I was not in the mood for that. I was already fuming. I did not need to have to deal with two little ones trying to climb on me because the stranger was talking to them. So I just bent down, holding the over-sized load of things we always have to carry with us, and begged them to just keep walking. They did. Bless their hearts. We reached the classroom and they started crying. They always cry when we get there. But they seem to have fun. I don’t know. But it always breaks my heart to leave them crying. I gave them the biggest of hugs and kissed the top of their heads. For a moment I even forgot about my coffee soaked pants and how crappy the day was going. And then they disappeared after the teacher in the classroom, looking for toys to play with.

Then I went back to Starbucks. Fuming.

When the lady saw me walk in, she came, all helpful, trying to take the cup and soaked papers from my hands. I asked for the manager and told her what happened. They were extremely nice and help me, bless their hearts, but I was still pretty upset about the whole thing. I didn’t scream at them or anything, just told them what happened. They gave me another drink and a number to call. They registered my case and will solve the car problem, because now the car smells like peppermint mocha. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s not my favorite either. I guess I should just be glad nothing more serious happened. No burns, no car accidents, no kids got hurt. I think that makes for a successful morning.

So today was the day a venti skinny peppermint mocha tried to kill me, but was only successful at scaring the crap out of me and getting my pants and my underwear soaking wet. I guess I won.

Take that, peppermint mocha!

P.S.: The kids are not mine, I was just taking care of them. I wish they were, though, ’cause they’re pretty awesome!

 

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