It’s a busy Monday morning at the Starbucks in the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As I wait in line to order my cup of tea I ponder things.
How many wombats can you fit in a wheelbarrow? Is Freud’s theory of personality still relevant? Should I get a DoG?
Observing the young lady strolling past the food court, I wonder about girls who wear teeny short cut off jeans and big tall leather boots: Is that a thing?
I looked it up, and I guess it is.
For narrative purposes, I’ll say I had this thought, too: That squirrel I watched in my back yard, eating cream cheese off a fork — was that the cutest thing or what?
Point is, I had plenty of time to think there at the Starbucks. But I snapped to attention when I saw that I had shuffled to the head of the line and I was on deck to place my order. When one of the two baristas on duty called out, “Can I help the next guest?” (they don’t just yell NEXT at Starbucks), I walked right up to the counter and spoke up, loud and clear: Small English breakfast tea, please fill it only 2/3rd full, and one croissant you don’t have to heat it up thank you.”
Then the other barista called for the next guest, and the next guest/woman behind me seemed to be very surprised to find herself on line at Starbucks. Oh! “the next guest” exclaimed, Oh! Um, hmmm…um…what I want…um…hmmmmmm…. And she frantically scanned the menu board above.
Wow, I thought to myself: You’ve been standing on line for 7 minutes and you don’t know what you want??? Are you always an asshole or is this a special occasion? Because, as we all know, it should come as no surprise that when you stand on line at Starbucks, sooner or later you’re going to have to order.
But then I decide to give humanity the benefit of the doubt:
She’s having a real hard time spitting it out, I think. WOW! Her order must be very complicated — one of those secret off-the-menu S’mores frappacino/non-dairy foam from Jupiter/ wave a degree from Cornell over it things that I’ve heard about.
I eagerly awaited her choice. And then, after lengthy hesitation, she, the next guest/ Starbucks customer, finally summoned the language she needed to ask for:
An iced coffee.
These days, I’ve been wondering how I can fill all the hours that used to be taken up by book-writing, now that these days, there isn’t a book that needs me to write it. I have very few options.
I can not do customer service because, present company excluded, I hate “customers” (see: Starbucks story above). I can’t do reality TV because I don’t want to frighten the cats by having a film crew stomping around my house. I can’t be Susan Branch because I’m waaaaay too damn cranky.
And it seems that there is no money in collecting Blue Jay feathers, which is really all I want to do these days.
By the way, on a day when I was not looking for Blue Jay feathers I had 3 feathers delivered to me, such as like this:
Sadly, the only thing I’m half good at is watching paint dry:
I’m painting a large (or should I say, Venti) view of the Chelsea Physic Garden. In my world, that’s 8 inches x 10 inches. But I got as far as this foreground bush (above) when I messed it up. It’s too dark — that’s a problem I often have: I load on the color too much, and I like it when the watercolor has a lot of water in it. I tried to rescue it by painting a layer of white goauche over it:
But that looked really stupid. So I started over, this time from the background:
And then I forgot to take in progress photos until the end:
It’s all about the crop. This:
That’s it, my Dear Readers, that’s all I got this week. Well, that’s almost it:
Thank you for the love you gave my girl, Dame Helen Mirren, last week. I liked how I was close enough to get the spill-over! THANK YOU!
And, to follow up on having my article on my Top Ten Garden Books published by The Guardian last week, I got some push-back by a Commentor there who did not like my criticism of John Muir’s writing and wrote:
How appalling to open by denigrating John Muir who did more for the world than you surely will ever do. He helped found the first national park system which spread worldwide and caused more good in the world than any other conservation measure. You say you thrill like one of the bloggers to Marvell’s work; hard to believe. Muir is a beautiful writer who saw interconnection in all things. That vision remains desperately undernourished and misunderstood today.
Write your own books, fine, but think about the cost of rubbishing a fine thinker.
I wrote back a message that told her, in effect, that she should go soak her head, and she responded:
Nice person! True colours at last.
Try reading, thinking, understanding rather than resort to crudity. That is the last resort of the weak minded. Also, I don’t think you should be paid for writing this kind of language. It is appalling.
Ha! I wrote back: If you think I’m forfeiting the million dollars that The Guardian paid me to write this article…I’m laughing all the way to the bank!
I really can’t stand people.
So that’s what I was doing in Atlantic City this past Monday:I was looking to invest my windfall (journalism is so lucrative!) in property and I’d always fancied owning a casino. But since the Borgata. . .
. . . isn’t for sale, I had to search for other investment opportunities. I settled on buying the sunset:
So, appalled Guardian Commentor, if it’s twilight where you are and the sun is setting, don’t look at it. It’s mine.
Here’s the latest portrait of Dennis Whiskabottoms, with his newly-tipped ear:
See you all here next week, my Wonder Ones, with more stories from Down Time on the Isle of Long.