It didn’t work out that way.
I should have known that things weren’t going to work out for me.
WHO SAID THAT TERRE HAUTE (THAT’S FRENCH FOR, “THERE’S ROOM FOR DANCING!”) is just another small town? Well…actually it was me once or twice. Truthfully, compared to some other places where I have hung my hat, it is rather small – about 60,000 humans and 12 million raccoons and squirrels.
It may be a “small” town, but it is crawling into the higher ranks one stumbling step at a time.
The latest positive move that is elevating this Metropolis on the Wabash (Not counting the resumption of lethal injections at the Federal Prison Death Row) is the grand opening of Starbucks Store #5. Five Chapels of St. Arbucks in a town of 60,000 people ain’t bad. That comes to one store for every twelve thousand bipedal Hautians. That is pretty good…except when all 12 thousand show up at the same time when I’m trying to find a parking space.
SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE! This is just getting out of hand! I’m putting my foot down! Both of them even…otherwise I might fall over and doing that in public makes it hard for me to be taken seriously.
What has me worked up into such a lather? It is The Usual Suspects.
Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”
AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.
“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.
The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.
THAT SOUND YOU HEAR ECHOING ACROSS THE MAP IS MY BRAIN EXPLODING. It takes a lot to detonate my brain. The last time it happened was when someone told me that Pauley Shore was still making movies…or was it Ben Stiller… or was it Adam Sandler? I get them all mixed up. They are all…Oh, I don’t want to think about it.
What caused my brain to go Karakatoa on me this morning was the continued renovation of the center of my world aka St. Arbucks. The midnight raiders from the Seattle headquarters were in again last night and I consider their activity as Vandalism.
OH, MY GOD! WILL THIS NEVER END?
Every night they sneak in after closing and put new…new…new stuff in place. The Elves from the Great Northwest tippy-toe in and while we are sleeping in our Snuggies they install a collection of items like this large picture of a jungle scene. It is reminiscent of an apartment I had once which also had a variety of wildlife. Personally, it’s not my taste in artwork. I’ve never been a fan of Finger Painting.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
The rumor is that tomorrow the nabobs in Seattle will be shipping in a truckload of individual trampolines to help people get out of the congestion during busy times at St. Arbucks.
Either that or they might install those little metal spikes that you see on buildings to keep pigeons from roosting.
I trundled into the Chapel of St. Arbucks this morning and I could tell that the little elves from Washington State had been in overnight and they were busy. Gone was the row of chairs along the front of the store and in their place was a long bench unit. The seat was technically padded, but the padding was more “suggested” than real. Just think of your favorite Hollywood Starlet – looking soft and comfortable, but you know that it’s not real but “enhanced.”
OH, NO! IT HAS STARTED!
The prophesied remodeling of the St. Arbucks Chapel has begun. I pulled the Toyota into my favorite gimp spot and through the window I could see…nothing. Something was drastically wrong. All of the Art was gone from the walls. The furniture I had come to know and tolerate was gone – replaced with what looked like leftovers from a combination nursery school/maximum security prison. The comfortable easy chairs that nurtured the butts of the early morning geezers are gone! In their place are two low slung chairs that look like they came from the waiting room of a Psychiatrist who only treated midgets.
About a week ago I finally crawled out of my sickbed after a three week bout of something nasty. I had reached a point where I was feeling better, not good by any stretch, but well enough to feel the need to get out of the house. I went for coffee. I wanted coffee. I lusted for coffee.
Win! Win! Win!
St. Arbucks’ web site has all sorts of online games, based on purchases and/or “collecting game pieces” that promise to winners that they will get “Starbucks For Life!” If you purchase six million special coffees and a cookie you might be a winner! I just can’t keep up.
Points! Points! Points!
Throwback Thursday from September 2015 – “Don’t Panic! OK, Go Ahead – Panic!!”
THERE ARE SOME THINGS that Mankind should just not tinker with – Forces ofNature that, if disturbed, can have cataclysmic repercussions. It is foolish to think that you can control the weather or the motion of the planets. We have tried to go against Nature with things like The Designated Hitter in Baseball or continuing to bankroll Adam Sandler movies and the results have been appalling.
This morning it happened again. I got up, abluted, dressed, made tea for my wife, the lovely and sound asleep, Dawn, and then I headed off to St. Arbucks. When the young barista handed me my coffee she said something that chilled my soul.
“The Power Company has to work on the transformer on the pole outside, so we are going to be without power. We will be closed for about a half hour.”
“When, for God’s sake? When?” I asked her calmly.
“In about three minutes.”
Why not just try to reverse the rotation of the earth like Superman or rewrite the first season of “Sherlock”? Empty the fish bowl and tell the goldfish to chill out for a half hour. Mess with Texas.
There are some things you just don’t do! Don’t spring things like that on me.
With no other choice I skulked back to the car. I sat there as the lights winked out and a poorly written sign was taped to the door. I sat there and sucked on my straw. It helped me to not hyperventilate.
I had my first coffee. I would survive as long as I didn’t panic-sip and “Empty the Venti.” But what about those other poor souls who didn’t get there on time? I sat there in the car and watched a procession of vehicles pull into the Drive-Thru Lane only to see another sign saying, “Closed. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”
Well, maybe it just said, “Closed for thirty minutes. Sorry,” but after seeing the word “Closed” the rest of it must have looked like a death threat.
In just five minutes I saw about 40 cars and trucks pull in expectantly, and then leave looking dejected and desperate. It was more than I could take.
In an effort to save myself I took emergency measures – I went across the parking lot to Kroger’s and did some shopping. I needed some distraction. I took my coffee with me. I wasn’t going to leave it, visible and unguarded, in the car.
When I had made my pedometer click enough, I “self-checkout-ed” and slowly approached St. Arbucks from the rear. It had been thirty minutes at least. It felt like a week chained to a prison TV showing only Benny Hinn.
The lights were still out. “And darkness came over the whole land.” – Mark 15:33.
It was then I remembered that I had received a call from my pharmacy telling me that they had a prescription refill ready for me. Never was I so happy to get more meds to swallow. I have downed enough Potassium Chloride to perform a dozen lethal injections. And now I was going to pick up another month’s supply. Oh, Happy Day!
This time when I returned to St. Arbucks I could see from a distance that THERE WAS LIGHT, and parked cars, and a long line in the Drive-Thru Lane. Life as we know it had returned.
I wept a little.
I took my last sip from my original coffee and went inside to claim my refill. It was Ambrosia. It was Nectar of the Gods. It was Iced Coffee, a splash of cream, but unsweetened – the way Nature intended.
I wish that they had posted a warning about this shutdown a week or so ahead of time. I could have prepared myself – driven to the Auxiliary Chapel in the south end of town, or taken a sleeping pill to just miss the whole thing.
Plans are already being made to deal with a scheduled two-week shutdown in November when they close for remodeling. So far, the best option for that time is a two week sabbatical to Seattle.
Cut to 2015 in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Change the battery in your smoke alarm.”) and a conversation with one of the “Usual Suspects” during services at the Chapel of St. Arbucks.
The “Suspect” – a former resident of New York City and the son of an NYPD Detective and I were discussing the recent fire at a café across the street from St. Arbucks that destroyed the place within 24 hours of their “Grand Opening.” He hinted that it looked a little suspicious and that maybe “Randall the Candle” was in town.
Further interrogation uncovered one of those “Art imitating Life” things. According to the Usual Suspect seated in the chair across from me – Randall the Candle was a real person, and an arsonist, and an off-the-books consultant for the NYPD about fires of a “suspicious nature.”
I do not find this to be at all beyond belief because every writer I know borrows from real life in every paragraph and a character called “Randall the Candle” is too good to pass up. If he didn’t exist you would have to create him.
Given the timeline of the TV show and the youthful remembrances of my cohort in coffee, I would guess that “Randall” is long gone to that Great Tinder Box in the Sky.” He isn’t still alive to file any lawsuits over using his colorful nickname. Even if he was around to make a play for some cash – any court action would almost certainly result in him admitting to a long career in crime and that would then open up a whole new set of fertilizer hitting the fan issues.
It seems that in real life, rather than “reel life,” Randall the Candle was a man who worked on both sides of the Law. For the right price he would light up your life and/or your warehouse in such a manner that your insurance company would have to pay off. He was a Capital P Professional.
But as active as he was, Randall wasn’t the only game in town and he did not like competition – especially “small p” professional arsonists who did sloppy work. It was sort of like a dishonest politician smearing the reputation of an honest — wait, bad analogy there. There are no honest politicians. But you get my drift.
Randall the Candle would work with the police on cases of arson – helping them to identify how the job was done and often by whom. Arsonists, like most people, are creatures of habit and tend to repeat themselves – left sock, right sock, left shoe, right shoe, left incendiary device, right incendiary device.
In my own perverted literary way I am glad to learn that Randall the Candle actually existed. His whole story has a Damon Runyon-esque flavor to it. With a name like his, and a decent voice and sense of rhythm, he could easily have been a character in “Guys and Dolls.”
I can’t say that “they don’t make ‘em like Randall the Candle anymore.” I don’t know. But I’ll bet you’d be hard pressed to find some jamoke with the moxie to play with the bacon and still run with his torch like Randall the Candle.
WE HAVE BEEN SPENDING A FEW DAYS OUT IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. It is a lovely city with a great climate. I was, however, feeling a serious lack that needed filling.
My wife, the lovely and actively involved, Dawn, and I have been attending an annual church meeting/conference. While she is working hard I am here mainly to serve as “Arm Candy.” I can handle that.
Because my function is not really needed in Meetings, Seminars, and Committee sessions I have a fair amount of time on my hands. That is when things began to go south in a figurative sense. I needed some coffee and I was a stranger in a strange land.
Google Mars told me that there were several oases of coffee nearby – one of them a scant 0.2 miles away. One of the other conference attendees said that she walked there in 9 minutes – and she uses a cane.
I stopped at the front desk of the Marriott Something Hotel and asked for directions. The young lady on duty smiled constantly as she gave me specific instruction to steer me to the 0.2 miles away Starbucks.
“Just go out of the front door here and turn left. It is about a 10 minute walk. Would you like a cup of coffee right now?”
She must have had one of those Yeti gizmos stashed behind her desk. I took a raincheck on her offer. I wanted the real thing. All I had to do was to remember to “Go out of the front door here and turn left.” I could do that. I am a college graduate.
THIS MORNING AS I WALKED into the Friendly Confines of St. Arbucks for my morning coffee I saw that The Usual Suspects were already deep in prayer, or whatever you want to call all of them talking at once.
When I slid into my pew it became obvious that they were all worked up about the Kroger store – just a Molotov Cocktails throw across the parking lot.
It seems that a number of early shoppers had been parking in the Fire Lane and the Handicapped (Gimp) Parking spots illegally.
IF YOU RECALL, about two weeks ago there was a posting here called
“Now THAT Was A Surprise Party”
It all had to do with an effort to do something nice for someone. We should have known better.
For Newcomers and Amnesiacs I will give a brief reminder of the circumstances.
One of the baristas at our local Chapel of St. Arbucks was leaving to go be a circus performer – flying on the high trapeze to be exact. A few of us regulars here (AKA “The Usual Suspects”) decided it would be nice get her a cake for her last day on the job. One Suspect volunteered to assume the task of getting the cake from the nearby Kroger’s Supermarket. This is where it all began to fall apart.
He ordered a cake that was to be decorated with little plastic figures giving it a circus motif. He was to pick it up at 7:30 AM and bring it to the party.
At 7:30 AM he went to the Kroger’s and they told him it wasn’t going to be ready until 7:30 PM. Major Snafu. He showed them the receipt saying clearly “7:30 AM.” They panicked and told him to come back in 30 minutes.
Snafu Number Two
When I arrived at St. Arbucks I was informed that the young lady had decided to blow off her last day on the job. No cake, now no Guest of Honor.
Great. Just great.
Fast forward a few days. Kroger calls our Cake Orderer and says, “Come get your cake, Bucko!” He goes to the store and a confrontation ensues that results in the Bakery Manager chewing out the clerk, the clerk being upset, and Kroger tearing up our bill for the cake. Now the circus cake is THEIR PROBLEM.
Jump ahead to this past Wednesday when our innocent Cake Orderer goes into the Kroger to do his shopping. As he walks past the Bakery counter he clearly hears the same chewed out clerk tell a fellow clerk, “There’s that guy.”
He is now officially, “That guy.”
Unable to resist the chance to throw kerosene on a fire I went into the store yesterday afternoon. I browsed the cakes on display. The aforementioned clerk asks if she can be of assistance.
“Yes, thank you. Do you have any cakes with a circus theme?”
Her back got stiff and her eyes got skinny.
“Who is this for?” she asked.
I gave her a cock and bull story about a coworker leaving. It made no sense, but it seemed to satisfy her.
“”Well, we had a circus cake last week, but not anymore.”
“Can you make another one for me?”
I didn’t push the issue. I never argue with someone who is skilled in using kitchen knives.
Last night our original Cake Orderer went back into the store. He spoke with someone else at the Bakery who gave him a behind the scenes glimpse at what had gone down.
It seems that this cake fiasco caused quite a furor inside their little frosting covered world. There is bad blood behind the counter now. I advised my fellow Suspect to do his shopping elsewhere.
All we wanted to do was to have a little going away party for a nice young lady who likes to hang upside down thirty feet in the air and who can make a good cup of coffee. What was wrong with that?
I guess this goes to prove that no good deed goes unpunished.
IT LOOKS LIKE ST. ARBUCKS HAS A BIG NEW ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY. From deep within the secret laboratories in Seattle 91825 comes something they are calling, “Blonde Espresso.”
I have no idea what that means.
I do know the meaning of “Blonde,” and I know what “Espresso” is, but I don’t understand the pairing of the two.
Blonde Espresso? Is that like “Jumbo Shrimp” or “Governmental Efficiency?” The two words clearly seem to contradict each other. I’m a bit “Profused” as opposed to being “Confused.”
Throwback Thursday from Nov. 2015 –
MY OFFICE IS CROWDED TODAY. Of course, “my office,” also doubles as a corner table in the Starbucks a few blocks from home. I can usually shut out the hubbub and foot traffic around me, but today, for some reason, it is all getting on my nerves.
Most of the people in here at this time of day are college students. This location sits almost exactly halfway between two schools. On most days they have their noses deeply buried in either textbooks or computers, but not today. Today must be a day after they have gotten their grades or test scores back. It sounds like they all did well.
SOME MORNINGS WHEN I CAN’T GET my regular seat in the corner at St. Arbucks (Cursed interlopers!) I am forced by circumstances to plop down next to a group of early morning Geezers and Geezerettes. They are nice enough folks but I’m not isolated enough to do my writing uninterrupted.
A couple of that group are in the medical field and work at a nearby hospital. When they start chatting about things medical I can’t help but eavesdrop, big time. As a result I have picked up little bits and pieces of information about obscure medical conditions – and you know what they say about little bits of knowledge. I am now, officially, a dangerous man. I now feel qualified to make snap diagnoses on everyone who walks through the door.
A FEW DAYS AGO I WROTE ABOUT A YOUNG CAT that showed up outside of the nearby St. Arbucks (Starbucks to most people.). That little cutie pie is no more than 4 to 6 months old and a ball of yellow/orange fur.
Well…it’s still there.and has been unofficially adopted by the customers and staff. This cat has stumbled into a good thing.
ANIMALS AND I GET ALONG WELL. Dogs, Cats, Squirrels, Birds, etc. will come right up to me as if we were old friends. I’m not knowingly doing anything make them approach me. I don’t think that I look or smell like a meal. I don’t get it. I’m not complaining, mind you, but it’s just unusual I’ve been told. It’s been like this all my life.
When I was a kid I used to walk to school and it was not rare for me to show up with a dozen dogs walking along with me. The nuns didn’t like that.