Dearest Stephanie,

I am really super mad!



This thing happened a while ago, and even though I realize I should let it go, that it’s not a reflection on me (except for maybe it is a little bit), I’m still very angry! See?


And I would like to vent. (Again. Tee hee.)

As I’ve mentioned to you, Asian-Fusion Two was sold, and a new restaurant opened in its place. So Boo and I went to check it out.  Wouldn’t you know it? All the douchebags who so vexed me when I bartended in that same little bar had reconvened.

They recognized and greeted me when I walked in, and you’d think my chilly “oh, hey” would have put them off. You’d think the way I stood as far away from them as possible would communicate to them, I’m not in any way thrilled to see you. Nor do I wish to engage in conversation with you. Apparently, it doesn’t pay to be passive-aggressive.

Because a short while later, I went to the bar to order some food, but because it was so busy, I had to stand there behind thedouchbags while I waited for the bartender (which I totally understand and am sympathetic to, by the way).

Douchebag #1 (turns to Douchbag #2): That woman behind you, she really wants you.

Me (in a loud, authoritative voice that simultaneously expresses shock, offendedness, and disgust): No, I really, emphatically do not.

Douchebag #2: Don’t say that!

Me: I have to say it. I don’t want there to be any confusion.

Douchebag #1 says something, which I can’t remember, and I tell him, “That’s really just so disrespectful.”

The weird thing is that I was kind of consumed with rage. Ha! My disproportionate reaction was almost funny, except that I was really, really mad! How many times do I have to say it, fucktards?

I am not your midlife crisis plaything!

I’m all, Really? You really think you can have this? Because you totally can’t!!! Even though my rational side tells me it has nothing to do with whether or not they actually believe I’m there for the taking. I think what really grosses me out is that they think I am in some way receptive to being co-opted in this kind of banter. Hello out there! I may not be!

I loved when you figured out why corporations love you—it’s your eagerness to please, you theorized. I loved this because it totally provided me insight into my own experience.

Middle-aged men, I think I’ve figured out, love me for the same reason corporations love you. They labor under the delusion that I’m eager to please. Well, for a long time, it wasn’t totally a delusion. I used to be that way, but then I started thinking about it, and I was like, what the fuck?

Clearly, there’s something in my appearance that cries out, “I am pliable and agreeable! I will attempt to meet your every need! I am so sweet, you will need to visit the dentist after spending some time speaking at me! And while we’re on the subject, please tell me your problems! I really, really want to hear them!”

At Starbucks, I’m the first person the middle-aged man looking for a seat will approach. Never mind that empty seats abound. He will inevitably come to my table, where I have engaged a spare chair to prop up my feet, and he will ask me, “Are you using this chair?”

Well, let’s see. My feet are on it, so I think it’s fairly obvious that, yes, I am using it.

But of course I will surrender the chair. I do not point out that there are lots of other empty chairs because I’m not enough of an asshole.


The most I can do is look annoyed and surly at being disturbed (even though I’ve already said it doesn’t pay to be passive-aggressive!), which takes the man by surprise pretty much every time so that he wordlessly removes the chair.

As a bartender, I obsess over the way people seem to single me out to take shit. I mean, it drives me crazy! The class of men who sit at the bar and look at me like the leopards at the zoo look at visitors on the other side of the chain-link fence? Aggravating!

“You look so vulnerable and consumable,” the leopards are thinking, and you know they’re thinking this. It’s all telegraphed in their intense stares, in the way they huddle together as if they’re plotting some sort of break out. “You’d just love to be our next meal. You know you do.”

Even when they’re gorging on the raw meat their trainers throw at them (or, in bar terms, sitting at the bar with their wives or girlfriends), they look over at you, blood dripping down their hairy chins. “We would like to devour you. Yum. Yum. You would be so much tastier than this, but alas, the chain-link fence…”

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to come up with the perfectly witty yet slightly cutting response because I’m so distracted by being skeeved out. For emergencies of this kind, I’ve collected a handful of essential, all-purpose phrases, which I will now share with you:


“I don’t know about that”

“Oh, now” or “Oh, you”

“Oh really?”

“Huh” (not to be confused with “Huh?”)

You’re wondering how I put it all together, aren’t you? You’re thinking, Stella, I don’t see how these will all work together. Will you show me?

Of course, love!

Scene: Your bar right around closing time.

Customer: I’m going to Other Bar.

You (having turned your back to do important things with your computer): Oh, really?

Customer (while looking directly at you): Who wants to go to Other Bar?

You (glancing at him over your shoulder): Haha

Customer: What time do you get off?

You (still attending to your oh-so-important computer): Oh, now.

Customer: Come to Other Bar with me.

You (punching away on your beloved computer): I don’t know about that!

Customer: You wanna come to Other Bar with me?

You (leaving the bar area to do important things somewhere else in the restaurant): Haha. No. Thanks though!

Customer slinks off.

I feel like I really accomplished something here. I feel like I’ve been really potentially useful to you, and that feels really satisfying, you know? Being helpful makes me smile! See?


I feel so much better now!




My dearest Stephanie,

My morning routine begins with dropping off my little boy at school. Well, I guess technically, it begins with me getting out of bed, partaking in a series of complex grooming activities, getting my little boy’s clothes, breakfast, etc. But no one’s really interested in the minutiae, like whether I put in my contact lenses before or after I wash my face, right? (But if you are, I put them in after, obviously, since my hands are freshly washed. Duh.)

Anyway, after I drop him off, I head directly to Dunkin’ Donuts. I always order the same thing: a large coconut iced coffee and a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles. I take out whatever book I’m reading for inspiration and read for approximately an hour before heading off to Starbucks (located about 1/2 a mile down the road). There, I order an iced venti green tea (unsweetened) and write for an indeterminate period of time (also known as: however long my muse sticks with me). But again, I’m getting off topic.

When my gorgeously fabulous little boy was a toddler, I’d take him to places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts for a treat. It was super fun hanging out with him and watching his pudgy little fingers rip through a bagel or scone or whatever. He always made a huge mess, and I would carefully wipe up all the crumbs before leaving the establishment so that the next person who sat at the table we’d been sitting at would have a CLEAN spot to sit and enjoy some quiet time.

Because you know what? We’re not animals. I do not assume the good people employed at Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks are obligated to clean up after us. Yes, it’s their job to maintain the store, but if we make an inordinately large mess, why should they have to clean it up? I have hands, fingers, thumbs, access to napkins.I’m trying to teach the boy to treat himself and others and his environment (and The Environment) respectfully. What kind of lesson am I teaching him if upon making a huge mess, we saunter out leaving the minions to clean it up? I mean, what’s next? We expect them to follow us into the bathroom to wipe our asses?

When I said we’re not animals, I was thinking of my cat. She has a vomiting problem. What happens is that she scarfs down her food not realizing when she has reached capacity. She’ll take a few steps away from her bowl, throw up the meal (usually right into the grate through which the forced heat emanates), lick her lips, then casually stroll away with a look over her shoulder at me. It’s clear what I’m supposed to do. That’s cool. I get that she can’t clean up after herself, what with her not having thumbs and all, and I don’t mind doing it.

You know what I do mind? When I walk into Dunkin’ Donuts, and every table  looks like a muffin exploded on it. I don’t blame the employees, who are doing their best to keep the long lines moving quickly and can’t rush out to wipe down the tables every time some entitled jackass leaves a trail of crumbs (approximately every five minutes), Hansel and Gretel style. I blame the assholes who, like me, think it’s cute when their kids make a mess but who, unlike me, do not feel it necessary to clean up after themselves. I’m already annoyed with them because they drive enormous SUVs (I speak of the Tahoes, the Explorers, the Dennalis) that raise my gas prices and almost crash into me on a routine basis (because they can’t see my little station wagon, what with me being in a different stratosphere and all. Also, why does the government require special licenses for boats but not for cars large enough to sail across the ocean if only you could make them seaworthy? I ask you, why?!). Also? Those same assholes think it’s cute when their children run endless laps through the store while squealing at a glass-shattering pitch. Guess what, people? It’s not cute. It’s annoying. Think about it.

As a final note, when you’re in a public place, and you want to use the restroom, and it’s a one person restroom, here’s what you SHOULD NOT DO (forgive my shouting but really!): Do not employ a team of wild horses to attempt to pull open the bathroom door. First of all it’s jarring to the person inside, even if they have remembered to lock the door, and this could–let’s say just for the sake of argument–cause them to spray urine all over the bathroom in their fright, which again gives so much unnecessary work to employees charged with maintaining the restrooms. If the person inside the restroom has forgotten to lock the door, you may be treated to quite the unpleasant sight. I’ll skip the details.

Instead, why not try knocking? It’s simple, yet effective. If it’s too noisy to hear what’s going on, why not gently push the door handle down? If the bolt stays put, then you’ll know someone is inside. Again, simple, yet effective.

Forgive the rant, but really, I feel so strongly about these matters!



My dearest Stephanie,

I’m not judging. I love Dunkin’ Donuts as much as the next cop. A fresh chocolate frosted with sprinkles? Donuts don’t get any btter than that (unless we’re talking a fresh-out-of-the-oven glazed from Krispy Kreme).

But anyway. Here is a picture of a cop car parked in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts.

You’re welcome.



Dear Stephanie,

My little boy went to Minnesota for the National Scholastic Chess Championships a few weeks ago. I don’t know why the tournament was held in Minnesota in particular. At any rate, I did not attend this tournament, so I was left home alone with the cat.

After I returned from the airport utterly spent from the rush hour traffic, I was reclining on my camel back cream toile sofa playing a relaxing computer game designed for 6 year olds. The cat, having tired herself out from a trip to the basement to visit “the facilities,” was resting on a pile of pillows in the vicinity of my feet like the little princess that she is. Though at her age, Dowager Empress might be a more appropriate moniker.

During a pause in the game, I was regarding the cat thoughtfully, trying to decide whether I should dress her up as Darth Vader or a Jedi Knight when, out of nowhere, I heard this incredibly loud noise—like really alarming, the kind of loud, grating noise that really settles into your consciousness and is totally cringe-inducing.

It was an enormous fly—the most enormous fly I have ever seen in my life. I kid you not. This creature had absolutely no business flying, seeing as it was approximately the size of Volkswagon beetle with wings (not to make you nostalgic or anything), a VW that had been divested of its muffler on purpose.

The cat and I stared at it in disbelief. She just sat there primly following it with her eyes, so I got up off my ass, rolled up a copy of Pottery Barn’s spring catalogue and attempted to swat it, but it somehow managed to elude me. The cat looked at me disdainfully, and I felt a little embarrassed. I mean, the fly was the size of a small European import car, and yet I failed to squash it with a 2-inch thick catalogue rolled up into a billy club.

“Why don’t you catch it then,” I demanded of the cat, attempting to deflect attention away from my ineptitude. She had by now shifted her position on the pillows by 180 degrees so as to avoid looking at me. She’s so discrete. At the sound of my voice, she looked over her shoulder at me, first yawned, then emitted a prolonged meow.

“Meow Mix? Really?” she meant to say. “Why don’t you fill my bowl with some stinky turkey giblets, bitch? Show me the giblets!”

“Because they are smelly!” I replied. “What are you complaining about anyway? The Meow Mix is good for your teeth.”

Then I tried to make amends by rubbing the side of her face just like she likes it, but she proceeded to immediately and vigorously clean the exact spot I touched. Then she moved on to her vagina.

I returned my attention to the import with wings. My attempt to murder it seemed to have aggravated it. It was whipping through the house at an alarming rate of speed getting louder and louder. It was really getting on my nerves. It would settle down for a few minutes then suddenly start up again.

At this time, I began to question the wisdom of murdering it. This is largely owing to its size. I imagined the squishy splat sound it would make and then all the guts oozing all over the place, and this both grossed me out and inspired in me fear of karmic retaliation. It can’t be good to kill something that big, right? It didn’t feel right. Besides, it couldn’t have a very long lifespan even at that size.

I tried to lure it into the kitchen so I could get it out the back door somehow, but it didn’t fall for my ploy, which further supported my theory that I shouldn’t attempt to kill it. The cat did not agree with me. Every time the winged VW passed her vicinity, she would look at me disapprovingly. Then again, she is more ruthless than I.

When I lived in the city, I once came home to find the cat sitting by the door. God knows how long she’d been waiting there. The moment I crossed the threshold, she began meowing persistently and lead me into the living room. Next to my favorite chair lay the empty carcass of a small grey mouse. My cute little fuzzy kitty cat—who had spent her lifetime indoors gazing out apartment windows, shamelessly begging for treats and sleeping curled up into a ball on my back—had placed the mouse’s innards in a tidy little pile next to its carcass. She looked up at me, and her eyes said, “I proffer this humble gift to you as thanks for all you do. You like?”

I was effusive with my praise. “Oh my, what a good little kitty cat you are!” I exclaimed as I scratched behind her ears and under her chin. She, meanwhile, rubbed herself against my leg repeatedly and meowed herself hoarse. “Thank you so much! This is so awesome! I totally couldn’t disembowel a mouse, let alone so neatly. Wow!”

I remember being particularly impressed that my cat could be that neat without thumbs. I have two thumbs and am nowhere near as organized as she is. I never saw another mouse in that apartment again.

Anyway, the cat clearly thought me a sissy for refusing to kill the fly, which buzzed about the house for the entire weekend. Just when I’d think maybe it had died off, it would come out of nowhere, do a few laps around my head, then disappear into the blinds. It drove me insane, and frankly, I felt a little resentful of my cat. Back in the day, she would leap up and catch moths, flies, whatever, in her mouth. Nothing survived for long in our apartments, except for us of course.

But then I remembered. She doesn’t have the stalking skills and abilities she once had. I forget because she looks so damn good for her age (like some other broads I know). She turned 17 this year. Her birthday was last week. What really matters here is that she’s still fabulous at snuggling.



The best of the bar

April 8, 2010

My dearest Stephanie,

Four seemingly unrelated tidbits…in short order (patience, my pet!), you will know how they are all connected.

Part I

Before Ruben left for Columbia, he worked as a server at a Spanish tapas restaurant, and I’d head over to Spanish Tapas to see him after I finished my shift. Usually, I’d be finished by 10, and he’d be finished by around 11. Just enough time for me to lounge at the bar with an after-work cocktail while he closed out. After, we’d go to a diner for chocolate chip pancakes (me) and an omelet with potatoes (him).  Then around 2am, I’d get a text from him: “omg…I just shit my brains out!!! Fucking potatoes are haunting me!”

TMI, Ruben, TMI.

But anyway. It was as I wiled away my time waiting for Ruben that I got to know Joe, Spanish Tapas’ bartender. He’s funny because he will be a total asshole to whomever but then he can be profoundly sweet, and I so deeply admire that ability to do both well. I aspire to it! Plus, he’s a really good bartender—he knows how to flatter without being scummy, and he’s so chatty. The cherry on the sundae is that he makes this awesome martini with amaretto in it.

For all of these reasons, I still go by to visit him—alone or with friends—even though Ruben is far, far away now.

Part II

I ate a fuckload at my parents’ Easter gathering. Plus, I had a Tangueray and tonic, and I think Tangueray does not do me right. So on Monday, I had the worst stomachache ever, so to make myself feel better, I decided to get a pedicure on Monday. Right when I walked through the salon’s doors, I ran into a mom I know for whom I’m doing website copy (she’s an interior designer). We chatted briefly about her business, how committed she is to eco-friendly design, how committed she is to living her values through her work. I felt all over again how satisfying it is to give a language to a client whose work I value.

Part III

I was re-reading But Enough About Me for inspiration because Jancee Dunn, the author, has intersecting chapters that I thought might be relevant to our project.

I love Enough About Me because it’s laugh-out-loud funny and because she’s sort of a shy person who somehow manages to make her most outrageous dream come true: she becomes a reporter at Rolling Stone and gets to interview lots of famous people.


It was as I was driving home from my pedicure that I began to ponder this whole “making your dreams come true” business, courtesy of Jancee Dunn and my mom client. Who are these people who can make things happen? Also, what happens if your dreams change over time, and all the time you spend making the previous dream come true now is relegated to memory, and you’ve got to figure out how to make the next set of dreams come true?

If I hadn’t eaten so much at Easter, I probably wouldn’t have gone to get that pedicure as a way of making myself feel better, and then I wouldn’t have run into my mom client. Then, I wouldn’t be thinking about what I’m thinking about now, which is how I had told my manager at Asian-Fusion (when he told me I needed to flirt more to bring in more customers) that I know a lot of moms, and I could get the mom crowd in here.

“That’s not what we want here,” the manager had said in his typical cryptic fashion. I cannot tell you how often, after a conversation with him, I’d sympathize with those ancient Greek’s who had to decipher the Delphic Oracle.

As I turned left onto my street (pedicure complete), it hit me. I realized what he had meant: moms weren’t the desirable clientele because moms have meaningful things to do with their lives—namely raise their children. Moms are not going to come in night after night in search of bottomless Bombay Sapphire martinis then order one course after another so they look as if they’re hungry. They’re eating! They’re not out to drink their stress and problems away night after night.

What my manager had meant to say is that a bar wants lonely people, people who are searching for something but don’t know how to find it, people who want to be distracted. In his view, moms won’t be fooled like that. And even if they are lonely (which, let’s face it, they certainly can be), they are busy people with time issues and commitments.

What we can learn from this

On Saturday evening, when I had no plans other than to work on my chapter outline and summaries, I was going to sit at Starbucks (also known as “my office”), but then I thought how I’d get better food at Spanish Tapas, plus Joe bartends Saturday nights, so I could also get some conversation. And wouldn’t a tasty martini loosen me up a bit? What better place to write about bartending than while sitting in a bar?

I was sitting with my elbows on the bar, fingers interlaced forming a cozing little bed for my chin, and I was staring at the gin selection wishing I could make a bottle of Hendrick’s magically appear. Of course I couldn’t. I’ve learned my lesson: I cannot control the material world with my thoughts.

“You’re brain’s just always going, isn’t it?” Joe asked me (rhetorically) as he uncorked a bottle of wine.

“Mmmm, pretty much,” I replied regarding him thoughtfully. “That’s what I loved about bartending. It demanded so much physical exertion and concentration. It was like taking a vacation from my brain.”

He nodded vigorously as he twisted away on the cork.

I sometimes feel lonely, but I have a lot of meaningful activities and people in my life. I stopped at one course, one drink, and I enjoyed breaking up my work with fun chit-chat with a good conversationalist.

This is the best of bar life—providing an outlet but not a substitute for meaning. That was a scene I enjoyed presiding over, and it’s what I do very much miss about bartending.



I’m not in Oz anymore

April 3, 2010

My dear Stephanie,

When you are a fresh-out-of-college graduate student who looks young for her age, and you are teaching college students who are (in any event) barely younger than you are, you can have fun with this. You can do things like walk into class on the first day and take a seat, as if you are a student yourself. This affords you the opportunity to determine the true skinny on your students’ feeling about the class you will be teaching them. You can then enjoy their looks of shock and dismay when you jump out of your seat and introduce yourself as the instructor.

Ha! Good times.

Additional pleasures attend being a fresh-out-of college graduate student with rosy pink cheeks—a color, by the way, that you will later attempt to reproduce using Laura Mercier’s crème blush in “Oleandor” and by forgoing technological upgrades like the iPhone to instead spend your money on things like La Prairie’s Caviar foundation (that shit makes your skin positively glow!) or La Mer’s loose powder, whose “light refracting particles optically erase skin imperfections.” Awesome!

But anyhoo.

When you are one of these aforementioned graduate students, it’s not creepy (in a cougar-ish way) to secretly imagine a future in which the adorable, soulful redheaded student from Wisconsin has graduated, and you run into him in some improbably chance encounter engineered by Fate, and the two of you fall in love and get married. In fact, it’s a pleasant diversion from the tedium of academic work!

Not that I’ve done this, of course. Obviously, I’m speaking hypothetically.

In actuality, you will indeed run into him years later after he has graduated, when you pop into the Astor Place Starbucks on a whim, even though you don’t drink coffee (the incongruity is what makes it a great story later!). You will feel complicit in the fact that he has a BA from a brand-name university but is working as a barista at Starbucks even though it’s really his own fault. He was drama major (and judging from his antics in class, this was most appropriate)! And you will always remember that one of your first students served you your first Gingerbread Latte, a drink that will forever more be your very favorite and that spawns a love affair with coffee that spans a decade. Perhaps you are drinking one right now as you sit in a suburban Starbucks writing about this encounter.

The point I am trying to make, here, is that working closely with people can breed a potentially inappropriate sense of intimacy, even when the person with whom you develop that intimacy may him or herself be incredibly unsuitable and any number of obstacles may stand in your way, real or imagined.

What I’m really trying to say is that I am deeply and not at all superficially in love with the head sushi chef at Asian Fusion One.

I kid. But still!

We worked together side-by-side for nine months, me on the “alcoholic beverages” side of the bar and he on the “sushi” side. For months, I would be compelled to squeeze past him to get to the kitchen. Let me tell you, the space I had to squeeze through is so tight that at times, I fear I sexually harassed him. Please be assured this was entirely unintentional! I would never knowingly sexually harass such a gentleman!

To wit:

  • He always remembered that I don’t eat wasabi or ginger, just lots of spicy mayo.
  • One night, I ordered the lobster roll for dinner, and he said, “Expensive!” When he prepared it, he put it on the back bar and said, pointing at the roll, “Extra!” He’d made it extra large, with 12 pieces instead of 10, just for me! I was so touched! And unlike the tall sushi chef, he never rolled his eyes when I ordered sushi for dinner. Though I hardly ever did. I felt badly making him do extra work!
  • At the end of one particularly busy Saturday night, he asked me, “Hungry?”

“Yes,” I nodded emphatically. “I’m starving!”

“I make you shrimp and avocado roll!”

It was delish!

  • One night when I’d ordered one shrimp and avocado roll, he made me two!
  • What really touched my heart, though, was that when I was carrying a heavy tray of dirty dishes to the kitchen, he would either scurry out of my way as quickly as possible or (even more touching!) take the tray from my hands and into the kitchen himself.

Besides all of this, he was an artist with raw fish and assorted sauces. Not only are the rolls and sushi he prepares delicious—perfectly spiced, perfectly proportioned—but his presentation is magnificent. He does this one thing where he used spicy mayo and soy sauce to create a tress that runs alongside the food. Beautiful! And when he makes a lobster roll, he uses the lobster shell to make it look like an actual lobster!

At Asian-Fusion One, he’s the Tin Man to my Dorothy.

I miss him most of all!



Dearest Stephanie,

Lately, I’ve been seeing this one celebrity—I won’t name names, let’s just call her “Ms. Cutie”—at Starbucks, like, everyday. This girl loves Starbucks even more than I do, I think!

Ms. Cutie is a former child star who appeared on Dancing with the Stars. I believe she is originally from the East Coast, and she now lives in my little boring-ass East Coast suburban town with her husband and children.

The first time I saw her was at Starbucks #2 in my town. Actually, I didn’t see her, but one of the barista’s whispered to me (as she was handing me my change), “Did you see Ms. Cutie over there? Her kids are really rambunctious.” Then the barista thought better of this and amended her statement, “Not really. I mean, they’re like all the kids.”

I tossed my hair over my shoulder and refused to look, by which I meant to communicate, “Oh really? [Yawn] How banal.”

I am not a celebrity gawker!

Then I started frequenting Starbucks #1 in my town because it’s right on the water and has a small outdoor seating area that is so nice during warm weather. And would you believe?! She turns up there every day! I’m not judging—I also turn up there everyday. But it did strike me as odd to see her sitting at Starbucks with her computer checking her email or hanging out with her kids and other moms.

“How can she stand it?” I exclaimed recently to a friend. “How is she not bored after what she’s coming from?”

“Well she never had a normal life,” he replied. “She worked through her whole childhood. Maybe it just feels good to relax and have some normalcy.”

Personally, I think normalcy is over-rated and possibly non-existent. But maybe that’s just me.

Do you remember one time when we were walking down some side street in the Village, and you said (under your breath), “It’s Ethan Hawke and some other Hollywood guy whose name I can’t remember!”?

And I said, “Don’t look! Don’t give them the satisfaction!” And I felt exactly zero temptation to look, partly because I have never found Ethan Hawke attractive, dating back to that movie he made with Jeaneane Garofalo. Get over yourself, Ethan Hawke! You’re not nearly as smart and interesting and soulful as you think you are! I don’t know. He just gets on my nerves.

But I digress. My point is that I’m deeply troubled because I find myself increasingly desirous of acknowledging Ms. Cutie. It’s entirely possible that I have spent some time crafting the perfect ironic, witty comment.

I’m so horrified.

I’ve given it a great lot of thought, and I think I understand what’s happening. When you live in the suburbs, and you go to the same Starbucks everyday, and you see the same people at that Starbucks every day, you become site-specific buddies—you smile at each other, exchange pleasantries, ask after their work or children or pets. It’s all very civilized. Ms. Cutie has now become one of those people. A couple of times, she’s looked at me with that “oh, it’s you again. Hey” thing Suburban Starbucks regulars do. On the other hand, maybe she’s thinking, “I know that you know who I am. Go ahead. Say something. You know you want to!” But assuming the former is true, two policies are colliding—my Starbucks regulars policy and my celebrity policy—and it’s fucking with my system.

Is this what Foucault would call a “double bind?”

I feel like an asshole casually turning away at the moment of eye contact as if it is imperative that I look out the window at that exact moment because otherwise, I might miss the parade going by, except there is no parade. But the problem is that if I were to make eye contact with her, if any sort of verbal exchange were to transpire, I would have to say something about the two shows she did because

I fucking loved those shows!

They were so wholesome and funny and quirky!

I wonder if I’ll see her tomorrow.