Friday, April 26, 2013

Dharma Grind

            The tow truck pulled Jeffrey’s car away from the curb. He ran behind it for a few steps in a panic, nearly spilling his recently purchased coffee. He was yelling and shouting for the driver of the tow truck to stop. The driver didn’t and within a few moments had pulled completely out of sight. Jeffrey stopped running and threw his coffee after the tow truck and it splashed harmlessly into the street.

            “Mother Trucker! Mother Trucker! Muuuu-tha Trucker,” screamed Jeffrey.

            He turned around and started walking back toward the coffee shop. He’d parked with his blinkers on just in front of a fire hydrant so he could run in, grab his coffee like he did every morning and run right back out. He never got busted before. He was usually in the coffee shop for no more than 40 seconds and then back out to his car and on his merry way.

            This morning the universe decided it was his turn in the Dharma grinder. It started when Jeffrey opened his medicine cabinet in the bathroom to get the toothpaste. He unscrewed the cap and it slipped from his fingers and fell to the floor. He bent down to pick it up and as he was standing back up he whacked his head on the still open medicine cabinet door. It hurt so much that he squeezed the toothpaste tube in his hand and squirted toothpaste all over the sink and the top of the toilet tank. It elicited more half swears from Jeffrey as he rubbed the back of his head. He went to get a paper towel to wipe up the toothpaste but discovered he was out of paper towels. He’d forgotten to get more the last time he was at the store and now he had to use tissues to clean the toothpaste. Tissues were certainly not designed for the wiping up of toothpaste and seemed to make it a smeary mess. He resorted to one of the small hand towels he had for guests, which would add to his laundry pile.

            Once the toothpaste was mostly cleaned up he checked the clock and saw he was running nearly ten minutes behind schedule to get to work. So he started to rush. He was hurrying to his bedroom to put his socks and shoes on and was sort of cursing himself for having such an odd morning ritual where he brushed his teeth in bare feet. He turned the corner to his room and cut it too sharply, because he was rushing, and smacked his right pinky toe into the door frame. Jeffrey yelled and thought it had to be gushing blood and the nail had to have been torn off. He hopped to his bed and sat down to look at his toe. It wasn’t all that bad. Just a little red, but it hurt so very much.

            He had to ignore the toe pain and get on with his socks and shoes. He was on a schedule after all. He put on his sock over the injured toe and grit his teeth. The sock felt like it was made of sandpaper and glass shards. He rubbed his toe a little to see if that would help and then pulled his shoe on. His shoes were a little worn out and the leather inside was rough and it only added to the discomfort. Jeffrey tied the shoe and stood up from the edge of the bed. He put his weight on it and it felt okay. Just had to suck it up and move on.

            Jeffrey went to the hall closet and grabbed his spring jacket and his keys from the end table by the door. He realized at that moment that he forgot to put his aftershave lotion on due to the toothpaste fiasco. He considered stopping and going back to the bathroom, but he was already dressed and nearly out the door. The lotion would have to be forfeited for the sake of timeliness. He would have to endure dry neck skin for the day.

            He rushed through the front door and locked it behind him. He hurried to his car and pulled out of the driveway and sped to the coffee shop for his morning cup. Jeffrey really couldn’t start his day without his favorite hazelnut roast coffee. He knew it was an addiction but it was better than heroin he often joked to his co-workers.

            He parked in front of the fire hydrant, like always, and rushed into the coffee shop, like always, but because he was running about ten minutes behind his normal schedule, the coffee shop was filled with old ladies. Old ladies who seemed as if they had never been inside a coffee shop in their entire lives or at least since coffee cost a nickel and came with a pack of Lucky Strikes and a movie.

            Jeffrey was forced to wait in line behind three old women that were moving incredibly slowly. They had a coupon for the coffee but none of the three could remember which one of them was carrying the coupon so they all had to look through their gigantic purses at the counter. Jeffery was bouncing around behind them like a three year old that had to use the bathroom but kept insisting that he didn’t.

            When the old ladies had finally moved their death tour 2013 off to the side Jeffrey was able to get his regular hazelnut coffee. He thought that would be the end of his troubles for the day. He had just swiped his debit card through the card reader when he looked up and saw his car being towed from in front of the hydrant.

            “No,” said Jeffrey and he ran from the coffee counter with coffee in hand.

            After the tow truck had vanished down the street. Jeffrey returned to the coffee shop. His face was red and he was out of breath. He stormed into the shop and went right to the counter.

            “Do you know which company towed my car,” he asked the young female clerk.

            She snapped her chewing gum against her teeth and looked at him like she’d never seen Jeffery before, even though she’d been getting him his coffee for nearly three months.
            “What,” she said absently.
            “The tow truck that was just here, the one I went chasing after. Was that a city tow or a private company,” shouted Jeffrey.
            “I don’t know. I didn’t see it. I just saw you running out the door,” she said.
            “God Dang it,” said Jeffrey.

            Jeffrey reached into his pockets and a wave of fear rushed over him. He’d left his cell phone in his car. It was in the console synced up to his stereo so he could listen to his songs through the radio. He looked up at the young female clerk.

            “My phone was in the car. Can I use the store phone,” asked Jeffrey.
            “There’s a payphone around the corner,” said the young clerk.
            Jeffrey’s mouth dropped open and he felt an intense rage burning in his stomach.

            “Are you telling me that a customer that’s been coming to this shitty coffee house for 13 years can’t use your god damn telephone,” said Jeffrey.
            “I’m sorry sir. The management doesn’t allow it,” said the clerk, “and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk that way in front of the customers”.

            The clerk was gesturing to the three old ladies who were looking at Jeffrey with finely aged condescension in their eyes. Jeffery looked back at the old ladies.

            “This is your fault you god damn old bags. If you hadn’t been so f-ing slow ordering your damn coffee my car wouldn’t have been towed!”

            The old women took this admonishment in stride and barely flinched as Jeffery stared at them with panting rage. One of the older women put her coffee cup down and looked at Jeffery, right in the eyes.

            “Maybe, young man, if you hadn’t parked in front of a fire hydrant like a douchebag, then none of this would have happened. So put that in your pipe and smoke it,” she said.

            Jeffrey stood stunned as the two other old ladies high fived her. The clerk stepped up closer to the counter.

            “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” she said and pointed toward the door.

            Jeffery staggered toward the door and exited. He stood on the sidewalk for a moment. He started walking in the direction the tow truck had gone. Each step was filled with pain from his now throbbing right pinky toe. He remembered he wanted to use the phone to call his boss and tell him that he’d be late, but then realized his boss’s number was on his cell phone, he had no idea what the number was. He didn’t even know his own number. Jeffery limped forward wondering how much worse it could get.

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