“I can’t afford another cup of coffee”, I tell myself. Conversations out loud only make sense in the silence of your own home, or car- maybe even the alcove at a church as you pep talk yourself into a marriage that may not make sense at that brief moment. I remember that scene quite vividly, and the eventual fallout, divorce and stretch of time that seemed to move in painful slow-mo. So, crackling the morning air with a few open retorts doesn’t seem crazy at all—Hell, talking to yourself in a busy grocery store doesn’t sound so baleful in comparison to the ending of a union that you perceived as ‘forever’. Another cup of my free coffee here sounds great- no barista, just Tim and his 3 year old French press, desperately fighting to cling to rust and scuffs that its $29.99 frame yields. I splash in more creamer and non-nutritive sugar substitute- you know the one that causes the least amount of brain neuropathy so I can spell werdz…wordz… W-O-R-D-S. The first taste is bitter, reminding me nothing of the lush hills of Costa Rica, but ahhhh, that second and third gulp, as the temperature settles to ‘just above warm’ creates a smooth palette where pressed beans slope down as a skier would arch for the final run. I can rationalize anything. All I really want is the caffeine.
I’m an addict, an alcoholic to be specific, but you can arbitrarily plunk anything in the place of alcohol. $$ toys (things), girls/sex/porn (people) or driving to that park where my high school sweetheart and I frequented (places) are all formidable addictions; and not ready to retire—it’s all there in front of me… or behind me, if I just could let go. The rear view of my mirror works just fine. I should bring my old Wayne Gretzky Titan stick out of retirement and ‘accidentally’ lop off that mirror with a backhander. Anger- that’s another impulse worth letting go.
There was a time as a youth carousing on my basement floor- my childhood home coveting a horrid looking (and feeling) blood red carpet where my Lego’s could play freely without being lost under the dark mass of fiber. When being a kid was my job, one that I would still take for granted today, if someone would employ me for having an even worse haircut and wardrobe than today. My Lego’s were complicit and not salaried either—and they weren’t the cool Star Wars or Lord of the Rings ones that are available in 2014. They were simply colored squares and rectangles and the occasional plastic window to build a house for my imaginary Lego family. No Jango Fett teaching young Boba the rewards of a good bounty- no Gandalf imposing his will on a group of feckless Hobbits. There wasn’t any void to fill from a fatherless home, because these little figures went under the moniker of pilot or soldier or construction worker, and no kid minds when their dad is a hero- even a recognized, everyday ‘hero’. My father was around, he just was working, and working and working- I guess I should have paid attention more to his work ethic; his austere desire to fulfill what was necessary, dull, and completely unimaginative. He was in the Navy after all, and that’s pretty cool. I’ve never been on an Aircraft Carrier.
Playing independently at that age was an ideal. I didn’t have the attention span or life experience to suffer my thoughts all day long. Building, playing, articulating the basics was enough—and I never became addicted to Lego’s. I can see the lure of risqué things and it is hard to imagine a child’s toy serrating my pleasure zone. I need stimulus- an escape, something just to get myself out of my head. Caffeine, boobies, music with a fast tempo—or somebody to focus on who isn’t me.
It takes a lot to get moving in the morning, especially Mondays… to feel inspired, as if writing this all of a sudden adds insight that the morning hours can’t. Coffee, just the habit of consuming the black liquid sits directly in my pleasure zone- it awakens every impulsive nerve to excess and asks for nothing in return, save for a few extra bathroom breaks. The same stimulus is peaked by my fiancé, who isn’t available on this particular morning. Regardless of her physical absence, her apparition, her after-image lingers long after she leaves- long enough to dwell inside these walls. Not to haunt but to taunt- to sustain me until her next visit, and until our bodies can collide reminding me I’m alive. If only she was here now, present and ready to take me away from me, that guy who seems to be there no matter where I go, no matter where I am and no matter what hole needs filled.
My mood would drift inescapably into bliss. How easy it would be to put all of my focus on her, all my misgivings. I could rummage through my sons toys instead, find their Lego’s. Me and Boba Fett and the Ninjago dudes could all share the sediment left over in my French Press, and we could all think out loud—I could even talk for them, in their own voices and we could battle until lunch time. Then maybe I could forget about here, let go of the vice grip on Gretzky’s stick—release my high school sweetheart and the park where my addictions were born.