Having gone, a few hours ago, to the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue, I’m now sitting down on an unseasonably warm Saturday, listening to the radio. The coffee they sell in that establishment is most delightful. I especially like the distinctive flavors, featuring ingredients like cinnamon, vanilla and icing. They have tea with lemon too, but so far I haven’t gotten any of their tea. I usually walk there since it’s so close to my neighborhood. If I’m going to spend a significant amount of money on something at least it’s good to know that it’s a fine product. I often walk at least twice a day, and say hello to each neighbor as he passes by. One of the ladies behind the counter is dressed in yellow. Sam, Bridget and I just recently ate bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Sam and I drank Costa Rican coffee with ours. I frequently walk down to the beach too, and enjoy all the water. Bridget has been complaining lately about problems with her telephone. It’s an Apple. Over the course of the past few weeks the weather outside has been so ugly but today’s is perfect. Nice weather always makes me happy. My Facebook friend list includes a lot of people from my past, like Brother Edmond from St. Gabriel’s, and other teachers, classmates and friends of mine. Facebook is a land where fantasy meets reality. It’s a world where everyone takes for granted a green light to ramble on about anything that interests him. The Irish advocate the wearing of green. The monarchists advocate a country ruled by a king and queen. Thanks to the internet, I’m now quite lazy about reading the paper. There are quite a lot of things I haven’t seen in Long Beach, but, of course, I’ve never seen an X ray of a zebra either.
Dear coffee, Now that I’ve decided to write you a letter, I should like to tell you quite a few things, many of which may be very difficult for you to accept. Ever since I was in my late teens I’ve always been quite a compulsive coffee addict. I could tell you, Oh somewhat demonically inclined brew, with which I have always been quite inordinately preoccupied, that over the course of all this timeyou have consistently subjected me to as much pain and sorrow, at the very least, as happiness and enjoyment. For the past couple of decades it appears the we’ve come to a bit more of an understanding but for a while there you gave me a bit too much trouble. You gave me nightmarishly bad migraines, and a violently sick stomach if I drank you black. I never even so much as dare to think of drinking you black anymore, and the headaches have stopped, though now they occasionally come from other sources, and I have always lost sleep over you. I enjoy you in a wide variety of flavors and ethnic varieties, as the ladies at the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue know quite well. Many people only enjoy the plain kind. Steve doesn’t like any flavors. Sam appears to like only the Costa Rican kind. I like all varieties though. If somehow, over the course of one day, I could put all my feelings about coffee into a letter, I should say that you, like many people, can have quite an intoxicating effect on an individual, leading him to push his luck quite inordinately and to accept quite a horrendous amount of punishment in exchange for a nice time. Now that the nasty part of our relationship is over, you’re like an old friend, who always seems to show up at precisely the right times, in order to help me both to enjoy festive occasions and to endure hardship.
Your Biggest Fan
I walked into the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue at around nine thirty this morning, fully expecting it to be yet another droll ordinary day. That was not to be. From out of nowhere a legendary World War One flying ace walked in and ordered a large cappuccino. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Over the course of the past nine months I’ve frequently seen him in town but never in all my born days could I possibly have expected to meet him. I tried to say hello. He politely nodded and smiled.
“My deah, I should like a lahge cappuccino,”
was the only thing he uttered the entire time he was there among us. His speech and demeanor were so authoritative and intimidating. We were all hoping he may have been willing to stay for a while and tell us a story of all his grand and glorious exploits. It was not to be though. Everyone has always wanted his autograph. Perhaps at least one of among us shall be so fortunate as to be able to gain his confidence. We’re so proud to have him even living among us. He’s quite a colorful fellow. Until then, though, we shall be happy merely to hope for the very best. He’s Long Beach’s most distinguished character. We hope he stays a long time among us.
A few weeks ago I found my Garmin Nuvi G.P.S., after not having bothered with it for quite a significant length of time. I needed a new charger for it so I went to the Radio Shack on Park Avenue and got one. When I plugged it into my car’s lighter it wouldn’t work. I then got Mary Anne and Steve to plug it into their cars. It worked for them both. The salesman in the store tried it on his charger and it worked for him. For some strange reason I can’t get it to work in only my car. Everyone assumed the car needed a new fuse. Steve changed it. It still doesn’t work. The company sent me a free USB charger when I complained to them. I’ve been using it to keep the G.P.S. charged. No one has any idea why it won’t work in my car, especially since the fuse has already been changed. It’s really been bothering me quite a lot because it’s always been such an exceptionally good G.P.S. In general I’ve been quite happy with it. The car is really good too. The charger just won’t work in that car though. It truly grates upon my nerves that the obvious solution to the problem doesn’t work in this specific case.
Early last Saturday afternoon I was sitting at a table at one of the local cafes on Park Avenue, leisurely sipping my caramel cappuccino, when I was approached by a tall stranger in a dark grey pin striped suit. He asked me my name. I introduced myself politely, not understanding entirely why I bothered. The fellow, who insisted on remaining anonymous, nodded and replied,
“I’ve been looking for you.”
He went on to explain that a group of gentlemen, whom he would only refer to as Messrs. Waverly, Solo and Kuryakin, were interested in getting in touch with me about quite an exceptionally urgent problem. According to him, they believed that I was the only man in the Western Hemisphere who was capable of handling such a grave responsibility.
“Aah!” I exclaimed. “So my reputation appears to be all that people have told me it is.”
He then asked me to get into his unmarked limousine so we could take a brief ride to the nearby train station. We got onto the Long Island Railroad train and rode for about an hour to Penn Station in Manhattan. We then walked over to one of the restaurants in the station and he proceeded to introduce me to the three gentlemen. They explained all they wanted me to do. Another fellow gave me my passport and a large sum of money in order to facilitate my adventures. Of course I’m not at liberty to divulge any information. Naturally I was a little taken aback at first, not having been positive that I could be expected to handle such a responsibility. After a while, though, I started getting quite a kick out of it all. I knew I’d be expected to wear expensive clothes and hairstyles, to drive a seriously fancy car, to consort with exceptionally lovely women, and to drink my martinis shaken, not stirred. Inevitably I shall soon be given a collection of guns, and all the other hep gadgets that go with such a groovy lifestyle. I shall also have to learn about all the requisite protocol that inevitably is incumbent upon a gentleman who has taken such a profound responsibility upon himself. It will take me a while to become acclimated to my new surroundings and circumstances but I’m really looking forward to it.
Over the course of the past quite a few months I’ve always been in the entirely non negotiable habit of making at least one trip each day to the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue in Long Beach in order to get my requisite medium sized cup of coffee. By now I’ve become so predictable a fixture there that the ladies who work there recognize me quite well. One Saturday morning a few months ago, I was subjected to quite a bitter disappointment. On that day the unthinkable happened: the coffee shop ran out of coffee. “Sir,” the owner exclaimed in exasperation, “the trucks that are supposed to bring us our supplies regularly broke down last night and haven’t yet been fixed.” She, the other ladies working there, all the other regulars and I stared at each other in total disbelief and frustration. I didn’t know what to do. After having walked a half mile, with my bad feet, all the way over to Park Avenue for nothing, especially disappointed due to my having been begrudged the single most unavoidably mandatory ritual of my day, all I could do was to sulk in self pity on my way out the door. They still had lots of gelato and pastries available so I could easily gotten something just for the sake of being able to make the trip somewhat worthwhile. It wouldn’t have been the same though. Because of my always having somewhat prone toward being a sore loser, unfortunately, I spent the rest of the day obsessing over it. I found myself snapping at anyone who presumed to mispronounce a syllable within earshot of me. Having never before been subjected to anything so frustrating I even got a migraine that lasted until Sunday morning. Somehow, since then, I’ve managed to overcome my bitter resentment of such a horrible thing. Every once in a while, though, I remind the ladies that if they ever even so much as let something like that happen even one more time, I shall start going regularly to Gentle Brew.
The last time I went to the beach specifically in order to spend the day swimming was, believe it or not, on Groundhog Day. Mary Anne, Steve, Mark, some friends of theirs and I went there for a Polar Bear Club fund raiser. If we were ever to go there around this time of the year, on a bright sunny day, eating watermelon and having a leisurely enjoyable time, and suddenly from out of nowhere, hail were to start falling onto us, it most certainly wouldn’t be even the least bit difficult to find something else to do. Of course there’s a pretty good chance we wouldn’t stay on the beach so maybe we could go to someplace like either the Coffee Nut Cafe or Gentle Brew in order to get something really nice to eat or to drink. Those are both exceptionally good coffee shops on Park Avenue in Long Beach. We could even do what we did after our jaunt on Groundhog Day. We could very easily come back to the house and have a few drinks or coffee, or both, right here. It would be difficult to get there but at least we could stay indoors and have something enjoyable to do until the storm abated. Since the beach is only around a half mile walk from here it’s never the least bit difficult, although there would be quite a few other disgruntled people to have to deal with under such a harrowing set of circumstances. The only thing that would make it unbearably aggravating, would be that, since the beach is so close to here, we would most probably have walked there. That would mean that we’d have to walk away in such unbearably miserable weather. Even in a car, we’d be forced to drive so unbearably slowly in order to avoid any trouble. For people who have to travel an even reasonably significant distance to the beach, of course, things wouldn’t work out the least bit well. Of course that’s all assuming it’s only a moderate hailstorm. If it gets very bad, we’ll have to hide under the boardwalk.
If the nearby Radio Shack on Park Avenue were to have a sale on time machines, anywhere doors and invisibility helmets, and I could only afford one, I should think that I should like to have a time machine. It would be quite a very hard decision for me but that would be the wisest choice. As everyone knows, I’ve always had quite an intense interest in the past. Knowing me I should like to enlist the help of esteemed and distinguished characters like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and Doug Nelson and Tony Phillips from “The Time Tunnel”. They could explain to me about what I should have to do in order to visit times like the Middle Ages, Renaissance and all the other time frames of yore that have always struck me as so interesting. I could even visit Plato, Aristotle and Socrates from a few hundred years B.C. In school I was always quite interested in subjects like history, literature and philosophy and it would be so interesting for me to be able to associate with all the people, and to experience all the milestone events, that made those days so especially impressive. I should have to be extremely careful though about how dangerous much of it would be. Times such as Revolutionary France and all those other wars would be entirely too scary to see up close. There are so many famous writers I should like to talk with. Shakespeare and Milton must have been quite a couple of interesting characters. I could even tell Thomas Dekker that a poem of his inspired the famous Beatle song, “Golden Slumbers” from their “Abbey Road” album. Lewis Carroll, Lord Byron and a few others may get a kick out of how much mileage their poems and stories got during the 1960’s. They might like to hear bands like the Beatles and Jefferson Airplane. Unfortunately I have no idea what the etiquette and technical details of time travel would require of me. Before I could go anywhere I should absolutely have to get lessons and practice pertaining to all sorts of things. In whichever era I get to visit, I shall have to learn all of its etiquette, language and customs in order to blend in really well. It’s never a good idea to be too conspicuous under those cirucumstances. I’ve heard that the grandfather paradox can be quite seriously nasty so I’d have to be very careful not to tamper with it. Sherman and Peabody, and the “Time Tunnel” people would have to tell me all about their experiences. Then I shall have some idea of what to expect. They’ll have to tell me all about what I shall have to do in order to avoid being irrevocably stuck in some long ago time frame. I’ve always heard that gets people really uncomfortable. I really want to go but I’d probably have quite an exceptionally difficult time if something happened and I couldn’t get back to the present tense. If that ever happened I’d really want my money back.