The grocery store: a place of zen and miracles, overflowing with eggs and bread and lacking the need for headphones to block out the din of fed up parents and angry teenagers. The ski slopes: still cold, but sparkly and still, awash only with the memory of people now spread back across the globe. The roads: deserted and no longer clogged from here to India with impatient parties in rented SUVs.
And the restaurant: a quaint, quiet replica of its former holiday hullabaloo. The doorway, no longer besieged by parties of six or more, sighed contentedly. The building itself settled lazily on its haunches. Even the cool air trapped inside the mismatched walls swirled more gently. My day went about like this:
8: 33: My first customer — a single, middle-aged fellow of few words and a strong desire for water with no ice — arrives.
9: 21: First customer just left, a couple other tables waltz slowly in. After stocking the place full of straws, teas, doily-covered plates, coffee, glasses, butters, sugars, jellies… I wiped down the windows and lamps… re-organized condiments and married ketchup in a solemn ceremony over a second over-creamed coffee.
10: 39: I then set myself on the daily crossword like a six-year-old on a banana split. Third cup of creamy coffee. Caffeine begins to race through my spiritless veins like a whole fleet of anxious Thoroughbred horses.
10:42: The restaurant is a barren wasteland of orderly, empty tables. I have now amended my goal for the day to saturate myself with java, hopefully to the point of being unable to hold a cup of it. I set about this goal with flair, fourth cup of coffee in hand, dash of cream. I now look like this:
11:18: The lax feel of the down part of the tourist rollercoaster — when the cart rolls along slowly, but everyone knows another climb and swift descent looms ahead — allows plenty of time to think. And coffee files a mind accustomed to multitasking straight into a folder of daydreams. Fifth cup of coffee, dash of cream: wow, what a beautiful day — finally, we’re experiencing a thermometer with its glass half full. Hmm, China is a really strange country. I wonder what my best friend is doing at this moment? And also, why is the sky blue? Sixth cup of coffee, skip the cream, need the caffeine too badly. And will the president of Syria ever step down? And what was really in a Twinkie? And why are unicorns so stinking cool?
The last one really had the cranial gears whirring as I quickly poured my seventh cup of coffee. Unicorns are merely horses avec a shiny, pearly horn. And some magical powers.
And farts that smell exactly like jojoba, shea butter, beeswax, honey and sweet almond. Somebody even bothered to collect the stuff — perhaps by trapping a unicorn using intense mind powers and an intoxicating concoction of star dust and baby fairy’s fingers — and sell it on Etsy for about $4.50.
I wonder what a unicorn eats to exhume such a lovely flatulence? Maybe they live on the innocent dreams of pre-toddlers and newborn kittens. An eighth cup of coffee certainly will give me better insight on the wonders of unicorns.
Like this wonderful wonder: Unicorn hair has the ability, when draped casually or not so casually over the doorway of a house, to keep trolls at bay. As I chronicled in an earlier post (Read about trolls here), trolls are everywhere (from high school boyfriends, to weird YouTube ranters to Norwegian trolls that lurk under bridges). Might be wise to procure some.
Additionally, mythical lore mostly from that gloomy era known as the Middle ages dictates only a (female) virgin can tame a unicorn. So, although I am too late for that ship, I must beseech all the virgins reading my blog to pause and ponder: is de-virginizing yourself worth risking a life without the pure, lovely friendship of a unicorn?
12:17: I’ll need a ninth cup of coffee to ponder this with ya’all.
How tragic many of us will never enjoy — while half-naked by a babbling fountain in the perfect woods — the very innocent touch of a large, blue unicorn with a hefty horn:
1:05: Upon pouring myself an tenth cup of coffee, I stood in the corner of the server’s nook next to a pile of to-go silverware, a mostly full bottle of well vodka and a stockpile of mustard packets having a good sober ponder about unicorns and virgins…
… when my boss came in to find me staring sadly yet dreamily into space with a fresh cup of coffee in my hand. At the present moment, I was not engrossed in any activity which might cause a boss to pay his employee. So I mustered my jittery forces and staggered forward with a guilty look (like the unicorn an hour after meeting the virgin).
Luckily — before the deserved verbal wringing — the phone rang and I pounced on it like a starved lioness on a discarded zebra carcass.
1:17: At any rate, by the time the phone call was over (after answering the normal cadre of questions — no we don’t take reservations; no I’m not sure if we’ll be busy next Sunday at 6 p.m., but let me whip out my crystal ball; actually, can you hold on a minute, I think I left it in my bag on my bicycle?), I needed an eleventh cup of coffee. And I suddenly had four new tables.
2:01: I down my twelfth cup of coffee as I race to the door for one of my favorite moments of the day: turning off the open sign. I pull the cord with the same happy zeal as a baby pulling on mommy’s long, dangling earring. Nothing left to do but finish off that pot of coffee, vacuum and call it a delightfully slow day.
Outside, my trusty steed — my hornless but capable dark green Surly bicycle — awaited. I climbed aboard and rode into the sunset, with the snow chirping crisply beneath my studded tires. With coffee still sloshing merrily in my gut, I continued to dwell upon the majesty of unicorns. Some might say unicorns exist only in fertile valleys of the mind — and if I hadn’t looked left at that moment, I would have no evidence to the contrary.
The winter sun blinded my eyes momentarily, but out of the pink and purple swirling mist, a shape emerged:
Just like Smashmouth and the cast of Shrek — and the Monkees before them — I’m a believer. No doubt in my mind.