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Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 209 [+/-]
I make coffee drinks.

Is there anything more important than a cup of coffee?

Yes, for coffee is simply a moment of pleasure.

No, for in the moment of making a coffee drink I am doing nothing else. The drink becomes a representation of who I am...who am I kidding, it is a cup of stimulation and I am here to make the delivery more palatable.

“That was a great cup of Joe, uh... I’m sorry, I don’t know your name,” the gentleman complimented.

“Thank you,” I dismiss.

The man waited, eventually asking again. “I’m here regularly, talk with you regularly, and I don’t know your name. I think it’s time we were properly introduced.”

What does one who does not wish to attach to a name say? I point to my name tag, a name tag.

“It’s blank,” he noticed.

“So it is. What’s your favorite name?”

“I don’t have a favorite name.”

“What’s your name?” I prodded.

“My friends call me John...as do my enemies, the tax collectors, the bill collectors and anyone else who wishes to commiserate with me. Now tell me your name.”

The polite thing to do, the decent thing to do is tell John my name, but as I am not chained to any single name, a name will suffice.

“Well, there will not be much for you to remember, John, for we have something in common.”

“And what is that?”

“We both have very common names.”

“You’re too much trouble,” John offered, raising his cup in toast as he walked off.

I almost felt compelled to shout after him, to share the name I was using at the moment to be who the world needed me to be, but refrained, for if the knowing of my name was important he would have waited a moment longer.

A glowing young woman smiled innocently across the counter. Without forethought, I blurted what apparently needed to be said: “How are you today, my name’s John.”

Without missing a beat, the trusting young woman with the glowing spirit of good acknowledged my offering. “Hello, John.”

The part of the conversation she did not witness was the employees with whom I shared my work life all paused at my loud outburst. They had heard me speak loudly, but, though they had worked with me for some time, they had never heard me refer to myself as John.

“Hey, John!” co-worker Sandy shouted while getting a pastry for a customer, chuckling enough to inflict the customers with a smile.

“Here’s your drink, Summer — the name fits you.”

“Thank you, John.”

She smiled and gave me a wink. The name really did fit her glowing, trusting innocence.

From behind, the shift manager slapped me on the back. With a guttural laugh he said, “John? Now you’re John? Too late to change your mind, I’m ordering you a name tag today — we get a lot of flack from corporate for allowing you to wear a blank name tag. It’s against policy, you know.”

What was there to say? What I am called is of little import to me. I can be as detached from John as I can from Eric or Anthony or Graham or Joseph or Albert or Steven or... I am not defined by my signage.

“John!” the manager shouted with a laugh as he went into the small room known by the signage ‘Office’.

The gentleman just wanted to talk. I could have given him any name and he would have left with a smile. Instead, I offer nothing, afraid I may find myself forever attached to his label. My fear of his label — my label — gave me pause, keeping me from simply being.

I will remember the gentleman, John, he wanted to be called.

“Ooooooouch!”

One should pay attention to what they are doing when working with hot liquids, or a cup may runneth over and scald one to attention...regardless of name.
Posted by: Captain Forehead
karma: 198 [+/-]
Roaming the streets at night, acclimating to sights, sounds and smells as observer — when living on the streets you are required to numb yourself to surroundings to survive...or drown in a cacophony of sensory overload. You look at things differently when your plan is to inflict justice rather than simply surviving another day.

Walking the darkest of alleys and the brightest of thoroughfares, smelling the thickest stench to perfumed parlors, a decision was made: I was not ready to return to the streets as resident. I would avoid the truth of the evening — I was out to not be at home with that sticky, chewy piece of candy that wanted to have a conversation/interrogation session. But not prepared to call the streets home again, I might as well accept the price of ‘home’ and get some sleep.

Strolling in return under a clear night, it is amazing how many more stars come into view when I enter the dark of neighborhoods furthest from the city’s glow. Upon entering an old section of town where there was not enough political influence to procure street lights, the view beyond the grand trees was spectacular, reminding how small and wholly insignificant we must remain.

“Oh my god!” broke the eve’s whisper.

The words were clear. It was a man’s voice. He was not panicked but excited. Nevertheless, a review was in order.

“Everything okay?” I spoke loudly in the general direction of the squeal.

“Oh my god! OH-MY-GOD!”

The words repeated allowed me to locate him in a backyard not far from where I was standing.

“Everything all right?” I queried, moving closer.

Sending the body grandeur goodness into alert, the man charged his fence and pulled himself above to talk.

“Oh my god, you’ve got to see this!” he demands. “Come here! Just hop the fence and get over here, you’ve got to see this. Hurry!”

“Wha... Why?”

“Just come. I want you to look through my telescope and tell me what you see. Hurry!”

“Fine.”

Hopping the fence with the gracefulness of pre-cracked Humpty Dumpty, I fell into the other side and found myself in a tiny backyard with a giant telescope, a stool at its side to help one get a look through the eyepiece.

“There! Right there! Hurry! Look!” he ordered.

“What am I looking at?”

“I can’t tell you. You tell me what you see and I will know what I see or if I am just crazy.”

“They are not necessarily mutually exclusive,” the generous paver of truth offered.

“Look! Look! Just tell me what you see.”

I walked up the stool and looked into the eyepiece, expecting to see a planet or star, anything except what I saw.

“Well?!”

Standing back from the eyepiece, I looked toward the distant object flashing. A tiny dot, flashing like an airplane. Then I looked again into the eyepiece.

“Well, what do you see?”

Standing back and looking into the sky again, I was not sure how to answer.

“Well!?”

“Well, just looking at it I would have to say it was a plane or helicopter or satellite or something.”

“That’s what I thought, but it has not moved in 40 minutes.”

“Geosynchronous satellite, perhaps?”

“No, I am sure not, that’s why I brought the telescope out here. Is that what you see through the telescope?”

“No, I don’t know what I see through your telescope.”

“Just tell me what you see, please! Please?”

“I don’t know what it is,” I had to confess.

“Just describe what you see!”

“Four lights, extremely bright white lights, making a circle with a black center, like that kids memory game...you know...what’s it called...?”

“Simon?”

“That’s it, Simon, but all of the lights are intense white.”

“Just white?”

Looking into the eyepiece again, it was clear my eye had not been playing a trick on me and I was transfixed on the lighting.

“Well? Just white?”

“I don’t know how to describe...”

“Just say it!”

“Well, they are intensely white, but there are pulses of blue hue. Yes, it is pulsating a blue hue, and it looks like it is circular in shape, because when it pulses a blue hue on what a suspect is the entire object, it is a circular object, from my two dimensional perspective. And I...I see red pulsating, too. And there is red like the flash of a vein with a glow around it on the panels on occasion. It looks like the white is a plasma, the way the red travels and changes only parts of the white. And when it pulses blue, the whole thing takes on a very light blue hue... I... What am I looking at?”

“I don’t know,” the gentleman answered calmly, satisfied he was not crazy. “I have no idea, but can you believe it?”

“No. Well, yes, but no...”

“Move. Let me look again, please,”

It was his telescope.

“My god!” he shouted again, looking through the eyepiece. “The things we don’t know remind us how our growing knowledge only increases the vastness of our ignorance.”

“Uh huh,” I acknowledged. “Thank you,” I offered, rolling back over the wobbly fence without breaking anything to continue my aimless journey, watching the sky as I walked.

Helicopter? No.

Airplane? Nope.

Satellite? Don’t see how. Have to vote no, not even geosynchronous.

Simon for the gods? Perhaps.

Unidentified? Absolutely. That’s it. That’s the ticket, unidentified.

Oh, the things we see when we are willing to wander through life with our minds open to not knowing...still, I am open to an explanation, to an identification, but until then...

Distractions all, as I seek a detour from what I do know.

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