Coffee Break

I am addicted to coffee, that itself is no secret. Tea and soda do almost nothing for me but a good strong cup of freshly brewed coffee gives me life. However, there was a short period of time in my life when I gave up coffee. It wasn’t during lent and it wasn’t because I was on some crazy diet. It was because of one specific event in my life that still makes me cringe when I think about it.

I was a young college student just about to go into my organic chemistry class. Heavy backpack slung over my shoulder, dark circles under my eyes and a cup of coffee from the library Greenberry’s in my hand. I was exhausted and grumpy. Orgo was my hardest class at school and every time I walked into that little room I felt like the life was literally being sucked out of me. Begrudgingly, I found an empty seat and pulled down that awkward retractable desk so I could set my coffee down. Class began as usual and about half way through, I had to pee. One of the more unfortunate side effects of caffeine is it how it makes me have to run to the bathroom round the clock. Not wanted to make too much of a distraction, I thought the best thing for me to do was place my coffee on ground and duck out under my desk. I sunk out and when I returned and sat down, I saw that my peer next to me was staring at me. It wasn’t one of those day dream stares or even one of those “why do you always seem to have to pee during this class?” stares. It was one of… oh what’s the word…Pity. “What?” I whispered. He stared for a another second, as if your effect. “Your coffee fell.”

I felt my heart drop as one important fact flashed through my mind, almost like one of these NCIS flashbacks when they review the scene of the crime. Our classroom is at a downward slant that goes all the way down to the ground. I looked down and saw my coffee tipped over and pouring dark liquid down in-between the seats of all of the people in front of me before landing in a little pool right at the base of the backpack of a girl in the front row. First, I was really irritated at my peer. “Why didn’t you do anything?” I hissed as I grabbed my coffee to put it right side up. He shrugged. “Wasn’t my coffee.” Okay, seriously?! At that moment he lost 1000 human decency point in my book but I didn’t have enough time to be pissed. People had begun to notice and turning at pointing at me. I tried to signal at the girl in the front row with no avail. So I waited until class was over and then I sprinted to the girl, spurting out apologizes and offering to clean it up and pay for any damages. She was having none of it, made some condescending comment that I blocked out of my memory and walked away with her friend who gave me evil eyes. Understandably so, I probably would have done the same thing but at the moment I wanted to crawl under one of those desks and just die.

I know, a bit of an exaggeration. Especially since now, I can think of at least 10 things I could have done that would have been better than just sitting at my desk, waiting for the class to end/hoping that the problem would somehow fix itself. Because that’s how the real world works right? If you ignore the problem at hand, one day you will be able to look back at it and hate yourself forever. That’s what being an adult is all about.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

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Things I’m Confused About II: Goldfish

When I was younger, I had a goldfish that ran away. No, you did not miss read that sentence, my goldfish ran away. I went to bed and the fish was in its tank and the I woke up and it was gone. The only reason I knew it wasn’t my parents due to the fact my mom freaked out more than I did. She thought that I had found it dead and then hid it in my room somewhere so I wouldn’t get in trouble. In many ways she was more determined to find this little fish than I was. We looked everywhere for it but still, never found it’s remains. A year later we switched from carpet to hardwood floors and still, there was no trace of a little fish skeleton anywhere in our house and we literally had ripped up the floor boards. My family made fun of me for a while, saying silly little things like how my fish had run away and such but as a kid, it was me feel really crappy. But as I got older, I didn’t think too much about it. Maybe my dog at it or something, maybe my mom and dad really did flush it but wanted to teach me a responsibility lesson. Either way I am now an adult and my fish loosing days are in the past. Or so I thought. Until IT HAPPENED AGAIN.

You see, a while ago I had gotten some goldfish. Or, I should specify that I gotten some feeder fish, you know the ones that are 15 cents and are meant to feed other pets. I already have a betta fish and while I was at the pet store getting more food and filters, when I saw the huge tank of them swimming around not knowing that there main purpose in this store was to become food for other pets. Out of nowhere my heart went out to them and remembering my spare fish bowl in the back of the closet I asked the store employee to bag up three of them for me. Literally, there was no reason for me to get more fish excpet for in that moment I decided that I wanted to “save” some of them. So I got home, set up the little tank and watched my three little goldfish swim around confused. There was 1 actual orange one and 2 small grayish ones. The orange one I named “Bubbles 2” (there was an original Bubbles but that is a story for another time). The bigger gray one I names “SharkBait” (I had been watching a lot of Pixar lately) and then the smaller gray one I called “Twitchy”. (To make sense of why I called him that I will now let you know that he was the first one to die from what I can only assume was multiple little fish heartattacks. But I digress.)

So I gave them some food, watched them for a little bit longer and then I went about my day. The next morning I went to go check in on them and right away something looked funny. SharkBait was swimming in huge circles around the bowl marking his territory while Twitchy was having, what looked like a tiny seizure but he was still swimming around in much smaller circles. But there was no little tiny orange fish anywhere to be seen. I found myself staring at the bowl for a little while. I mean, I was a good sized bowl that was big enough for all three to have plenty of space to swim around but still small enough that I should be able to see all three of them at one time. I looked in every crack and crevasse, checking out all possible places for Bubbles 2 to be hiding but there was no little orange fish to be seen. I searched for a good half hour looking over everything twice but, still no little orange fish.

How could this be happening again?! No one should ever be able to say that they had 2 fish that ran away from them. I spent the rest of the day sulking, occasionally looking over the bowl again and then eventually deciding that goldfish and me do not mix at all. Maybe I should just cut my losses and set the other ones free before they could run away too. However, the next morning I get up, crawl myself over to the fish bowl and start to feed the two remaining goldfish when something bright catches my eye. It’s Bubbles 2, swimming in circles around the little fake plastic plant I put in for them. I could not believe it. I felt like a worried parent. “Where were you?!?!” I yelled into the tank to which Bubbles 2 just looked up at me and I swear she gave my the tiniest shrug before swimming away. I grabbed my head in frustration. I was positive that Bubble 2 was gone from my life for good but there she was like nothing had happened.

Now I actually have no idea what could have happened. She could just be a really good hider. Someone I live with could have been messing with me (except none of them knew I had any fish until a little while ago so that is a bit more unlikely). She could have been there the entire time and I just was looking but not seeing. OR she ran away from home, saw how hard it is to be by yourself for the first time, got scared and decided to come back. I don’t know about you, but my money is on the last one.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

Wicked Fun

I recently experienced a rather embarrassing moment at work a few days ago. I was assigned a new task at my job where my superior was nice enough to take some time out of her busy day to help me out by giving me step by step instructions. So, I don’t know it I just wasn’t paying close enough attention or if maybe there was some missed communication somewhere in the middle of our conversation but either way, she had finished giving me instructions at one point and sent me on my way to finish up the job. a command which I seemed to have completely miss. This resulted in me following her around for a good 5 minutes just watching her do some other tasks that were not related to the job she had assigned to me. After a while she noticed that I was following her and she turned to me abruptly where we stared at each other for a good 30 seconds in silence. I finally broke the tension by saying “Oh…. was that all.” To which she responds, “Um, yeah.” And then she stare for a little bit longer before I finally made the executive decision to side step away. As I walked back to my work station turning redder by the second, I started to reflect on more awkward thing I have done in my life to make myself feel better at that very moment. And then from the depths of my subconscious, a horrible suppressed memory resurged to the front of my cortex. But now that I find this story funny, I shall share it with all of you.

To preface this story I need to give you some background information. At my university, there were three main types of libraries. The first kind were the ones were people mostly met up for group projects or study groups where people talked loudly  and there was at least one small coffee shop built at the entrance so noise was perfectly acceptable, The second kind were the ones where it was mostly quiet but you would get away with shouting whispers once and a while and it didn’t bother too many people if someone’s headphones were just a bit too loud. Then there was the third kind or, the silent libraries. This was for the hardcore studiers and the place where I once got death glares from 5 people at once when I accidently dropped my pencil on the carpet. It was scary, but it was also where I was the most productive (of course) so I tried to go to these libraries as often as I could.

So, you all already know that I’m awkward and quirky so I’ll just lay down another fun fact on everyone. I listen to musicals when I study. Something about the story telling to song make me energetic and focused. I have written 20 and 30 page papers while listening to “La Vie Boehme” from Rent on repeat (including the reprise or course), memorized half of the periodic table of elements while humming along with Vel McKelly in Chicago, and pulled many all nighters listening to the entire soundtrack of Les Mis from beginning to end. It just how I roll. This one particular day, I was enjoying the high notes of power and courage of Idina Mendel belting out the final notes of Defying Gravity from Wicked as I wrapped up an assignment and saw that I had a class starting soon. I carefully took off my headphones (so not to disturb anyone), graciously closed my laptop and start to put it back in my backpack. And this is when the greater forces of the world decided to pull a practical joke on me. As soon as I put my laptop in I hear the high pitch voice of Kristen Chenoweth sing out “Elphie, now that we are friends, I have decided to make you my new project.” I could feel all of the blood leave my face and I actually thought for a second that I was going to pass out. All heads turned to me and “Popular” rang out across the silent library. I jammed my headphones back into my computer and ran out of there as fast as I could before someone decided to kill me right then and there. Apparently, when I close my laptop, I didn’t complete log off of my iTunes which still going strong, playing the next song on shuffle. I didn’t even know that my laptop could still play music with the top closed (a cool feature that I do utilize now at least). I was mortified. Out of all libraries, out of all songs,. Why couldn’t it at least have been a hip, current pop song?  I thought this was actually the most uncool thing that could have happened to me. Looking back at it now, more than a year later I can laugh and roll my eyes at my past self but I will say, that ever since that faithful day I have listened to nothing but gangster rap music when I study just in case but, Lil Wanye will never make me focus as much as Julie Andrews did but I will just have to live with that I guess.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C