Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Right Spot

As I waited for my friend Chartreuse to arrive at Caffeine Scene, a very loud, crowded venue full of laptop squatters, I channeled Carlos Castaneda. I called forth the rules of his spirit guide, Don Juan, Yaqui warrior.

My reasoning was simple: If Don Juan could guide Carlos Castaneda on his many mesquite-infused trips in search of barbecue... he could guide me, too.

I'm sorry, what's that? Don't I mean mescaline-infused hallucinatory trips? Thank you for clarifying that. I may need to go back and re-read a few passages. In any case, I went in search of the right spot. The right chair, the right table. The most Zen-like place where I could sit across from my friend Chartreuse and actually hear what the bleep she was saying, and vice versa. And yet, like so many things in life, the search proved elusive. I sat down, slung my handbag over the chair and heard Hollywood-infused chatter from a nearby table. No thankie. I got up and went to another table. I was almost settled in, when two laptop squatters lay claim to the table next to mine. Just then my friend appeared, eager for her half-caff Americano. Once again, I had erred in my selection.

"Chartreuse," I said, getting up, "we need to move. I'm deeply unhappy." "Alright. What about over there?" She pointed to the spot I'd briefly occupied before her arrival. "I can't go back there," I said. "I just can't." "Alright," Chartreuse said, calm under pressure. "What about over there, across from the register?" "It might work." We claimed our caffeinated beverages, sat down and began a fruitful exchange of ideas... until the coffee grinder started grinding and the people lined up in front of us and started in with the ordering and the hipster music blared and I couldn't think. I just couldn't. "Forgive me, Chartreuse, but we need to move again. I'm having some sort of metaphysical crisis. This isn't the right spot for me, I'm afraid." "Alright," she said. "What about over there?" We gathered our things and moved closer to the front door. "How's this one feel?" Chartreuse asked. "I've had better," I said. Right or wrong spot, or somewhere in between, we'd arrived at our destination. I could sense Don Juan's disapproval. But we'd run out of tables.

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