Up Down Left Right

Blogs don’t, necessarily, have to be about personal experiences. I’m finding, however, building paragraphs on the life and times of a rather “sometimes” clumsy, clueless guy can fill a page or two. That guy being me, of course.

I make note of certain moments in my life by tagging them in my memory of shame. There exists, within my gray matter, an area reserved for remembering my slips-ups, errors in adulting, or shall we say, goof ball situational SNAFUs. Now, before you judge me, the only difference here is I am humble enough to share. You have these. too. We could sit together outside a quaint coffee house, slide our chairs up to a charming little bistro table, sip Voya tea, and compare notes. C’mon, now. You KNOW we could!

For purposes of a scene set-up, I was not in a quaint coffee house. Also, for privacy issues, I cannot divulge any more location details. Now, hold on! Don’t get all “I know you’re an amateur writer , but ‘no details’?” on me… Here’s what you need to know:

  1. I was there.
  2. I was at a beverage table
  3. There were ceramic coffee mugs
  4. There were plastic cold cups
  5. Sugar, cream, stirrers, etc…
  6. A bucket of ice
  7. Very nice linens covering the table, AND

A large beverage dispenser with Iced Tea.

If you have any sense of senses, I think you can sense where this may be going. My lack of details, save the beverage specifics, should be a clue. Oh, I’m only beginning here.

Here’s the layout: Plastic cups to my left – upside down. Large beverage container immediately to my fore. Ceramic mugs to my right. Ice bucket in front of mugs. Red and white linens? Beautifully placed under all – diagonal to themselves as if the angels took time away from arranging the stars to do so. My visit there?… I just wanted a simple cup of iced tea. A. Simple. Cup. Of. Iced. Tea. Oh, and my food from the buffet was already at my table having been so elegantly chosen and placed on the plate in such a manner as I have never done before. Ah, the evening was going so, so well. Was.

I am right handed with cups. Left handed throwing balls. Right writing. (Well, both as a pianist …. but I digress). Cup under spout of dispenser with right, left hand turns on handle left-to-right and tea begins to fill cup. Note the “bold” type. This is important. Normal people would remember if left-to-right is ON for tea ….. what would OFF be, class? That’s correct….right-to-left!! Well, see I wasn’t happy with the rate of flow, so I increased the right-ness (correctly), BUT in the process FORGOT the L-R, R-L paradigm, soooooo when it came time to stop tea flow ….. well….

….. I went with Up ..then…Down…then…Up again. This did not work, duh. Enter panic override. Psychology: reaction vs response. I reacted. Remember I am right-handed, still. The tea is continuing to flow – aggressively at this point in the Doug vs. the Volcano of cold caffeine game. Also, I am alone at the table. Nobody is around to help. No-bod-y. My left handed, athletic dominance begins to assert itself.

My original plastic cup is volumed out. Proud that I’ve managed to not spill any, another cup has been awkwardly grabbed and placed under the spout. Now what? I am still not remembering to turn the handle back to the left…the simplest of remedies escapes me. Oh I know !! Be more aggressive on the UP/DOWN option! Most certainly this is the thought-through, mature way to handle the handle. And then the unthinkable happens…

The handle breaks off.

Sh*t! …. sorry for the language. Wait. I’m not sorry. You would have said the exact same thing. (check your notes)

Hours pass .. not really, but it felt like it. I’m pulling off plastic cups faster than the best shell-game con artist at the beach. Have you ever noticed, the faster you pull, the greater the suck-force between the one you pull and the next one? Oh, it’s real! You can, in the midst of panic, pull off ten at a time in one swift yank while cold, brown liquid runeth over thy finely washed linen. On..and…on. Seconds into minutes… into.. eternity…

After seemingly thousands of plastic cups and Einstein-blackholian amounts of time, I’m into the coffee mugs which are significantly smaller in volume (because THAT makes sense, right? … even though plastic cups are still available .. oh, about 100 or so). The pretty red and white linens are beginning to look a lot like NOT Christmas. I’m having my own personal Boston Tea party hell over at the beverage table while the cling-clang festival of happy little forks and spoons hitting plates of warm buffet food is Merry Christmasing behind me.

Snap shot this moment. Scene freeze. Iced tea, full force, pouring out of an untamed beverage container. Male, aged fifty-five, holding a wooden handle in one hand, pale, hungry, disoriented, other hand on a cup, mug, or open palm under spout “praying” for a miracle, linens soaking up the moment. I honestly believe there was a moment when said beverage container sneered in my direction as if to say, “Dude, I don’t know who you are, but this sh*t is funny …”

FINALLY, I caught the eye of a server who immediately came over, pried open my cold, dead fist containing the handle, and managed to stop the embarrassment. Oh, not mine. Hers. She didn’t know me. Actually, I’m confident she had no interest in saving me from myself. Pretty sure, if a large enough tray was available, she would have been able to serve tea to the crew of a small navy frigate – had one docked near by – considering how much I graciously pre-poured. … In many plastic cups AND small coffee mugs. How generous of me to provide two serving sizes, huh?

Well, I did get a chance to eat. Here’s the kicker. There HAD to be a kicker. Later into the meal, a server approached me …. not necessarily to talk about the tea-chasm of emotional torture, but to clear the table. The subject came up. “Maybe” I mentioned it first, your honor? Hard to know .. wink wink wink.

And, THIS is why I write. Her eventual reply:

“Oh, that happens all the time. We’ve mentioned it to the owner many times. Ten times an event, people try up/down because that’s what most of those containers do. That handle snaps off, but doesn’t break, We snap it back on. I’m thinking of just buying a new one with my own money, anyway. Did you enjoy your food?”

“WHAT THE @#$*(&^!&@&*$@& !!!!!!”

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