Because of the some of the auto-immune issues that I deal with (and some of the medication I take), my hair has a tendency to fall out in patches. Normally when this happens I wear hats but since I am in a “regrowth from a major hair drop” phase, I figured that I would swallow my pride, take off my hat, and have my hair styled. Sixty dollars later and still looking “patchy,” I left the salon. I was so depressed, though, I stopped at Coffee Bean and ordered a decaf, no-sugar-added, mocha ice-blended drink made with water.
This was an expression of pure “Why am I bald, too, on top of everything else?!?” self-pity. Most coffee chains do not cater to those of us with crummy guts–not the ones who have to avoid sugar, milk and caffeine, anyway. Coffee Bean is better than most; they at least offer a no-sugar-added alternative in ice-blended drinks. Unfortunately, there is just enough milk in the mocha powder part of this drink that for me it’s a 50% crap shoot. Literally.
That drink was cursed from the beginning. There was one poor bastard handling all of the drink orders and he was not expressing zen-like equanimity. Ice, milk and coffee were flying all over the place. When he practically tossed my drink over the counter to me, I sheepishly asked, “Sugar-free, decaf?” because I am that kind of neurotic consumer. He snorted at me and he snatched it back–that was my indication that perhaps a mistake had been made. He threw it in the trash and the plastic dome lid popped off, splattering everything behind the counter with frozen blended coffee and chocolate. Okay, so now I was not his favorite customer.
He filled another plastic cup with chopped ice, poured in decaf espresso, added water and then turned quickly to put in the no-sugar-added mocha powder–that was when he dropped it. Coffee and ice spilled all over the work counter, under the espresso machine, on the floor. He literally took his arm and swept it all on the floor behind the counter. Apparently, he has done this before.Third time was the charm. I left with that drink clutched in my greedy hands.
As I was waiting for the third iteration of my forbidden drink, I started pacing–just because I am that kind of neurotic customer. And because I tend to head toward bathrooms like lemmings to a cliff, I realized that I was pacing in front of the bathroom door. This guy walked up behind me and said, “If you need to go in that badly, knock on the door.” Not only was I embarrassed–he was cute and I was hat-less and bald–but I felt as if this was a very bad omen. Did I heed the omen? Of course not! I grabbed my drink and ran. I gulped it down before I got to the car.
Then I decided, even though I was hat-less and bald, that I would go to Whole Foods and buy some coconut flour. By the time I drove the three miles it took to get to Whole Foods, I needed a bathroom. Oh yes. I needed a bathroom badly. So I pulled into the first parking place I could find and dashed into the market, heading straight for the bathroom, which in this particular store is a single-seater, co-ed toilet. There was this tiny, elderly gentleman with a walker slowly making his way into that toilet as I ran toward it. NO! I had tempted the Poop Gods by being self-indulgent and now here I was, bald and about to crap my pants in public. There were no other public restrooms nearby so I had nowhere else to go. I was literally shuddering and sweating with the effort to keep from pooping all over myself, and I was pacing in-between.
As I was trying to hold on, I realized that there were two men, one young and one older, standing off to the side, talking. They were discussing a business deal that had not gone well, and there I was, shaking and pacing, obviously invading their personal space. They wanted privacy but there was no way I was leaving the area immediately in front of that bathroom door. The older man finally said, “Well as long as you are HERE…” and tried to pull me into the conversation but I was–shall we say–distracted. The elderly man with the walker had just flushed the toilet so my attention was on that bathroom door and holding on one more minute. He came out, tiny old man steps with his walker, and I nearly jumped over him to get to the toilet in time. It was a horrible explosive bout.
As I was in the middle of it, I realized that if I could hear the elderly man flush, then the two men arguing outside the door could hear why I was so intent on getting into the bathroom. And now I would have to come out of the bathroom as if Armageddon had not just happened behind the closed door. Luckily when I finally got the courage to come out, they were gone.
So, shaking and embarrassed, I went to find the coconut flour, which happened to be on the top shelf of an overcrowded display area. I reached for it on tip-toes, jerked, and accidentally knocked over several other bags of flour, which promptly fell to the floor and burst open at my feet in an explosion of arrowroot and amaranth flour. As I stood there, covered in flour, guess who came with a broom and dustbin to clean up that mess? Yup! The young guy from in front of the toilet. He just looked at me and shook his head.
Welcome to my life.