Thursday, January 10, 2013


By the time we'd redesigned half the menu four hours were gone like they'd never been there at all. I had no watch to check, but rare was the glance down at my phone to see how much longer I'd suffer; rare were the mental screams of Oh God Let This Be Over With; nonexistent was distraction via longtime zone-outs or Words With Friends.

We were working.

I only realized how long we'd been at it when the Barista, ringing me up for the fourth time, raised his brows in surprise and spoke a sentence I'd spoken a hundred times before:

"Wow, you're still here?"

I glanced back at my colleague. She did not look up from the mess of papers and notes which dominated our two shoved-together tables. I took in our laptops, leeching power from the wall outlets, sucking down constant free wifi. And the realizations hit me, a flurry of mental blows:

My god. I'm a table hog.
My god. I'm a lurker.
My god. There are things on the menu boards I...don't...recognize.

I'm not one of Us anymore. I'm one of Them now.

I could make a mean joke about homeless people and shopping carts, or one about rickshaws, but if being in an awesome sketch comedy group!!!! has taught me anything, it's that mean jokes are not funny. I will instead point out whoever is riding that bike must have thighs like Redwood trunks.

Prior to a recent brush with humiliating, needless death-by-Chevy-Door, I never bothered wearing a bike helmet. I thought they looked stupid and dorky (apparently stupider and dorkier than brains on pavement). Now I know better--however slow you think you're going in a bike lane, most folks aren't glancing in their rearview as they open their door on the off chance some moron in North Face Black is Lance Armstronging his way down the pavement