Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I've Got Big Problems

I was working at Starbucks today. Naturally, after sucking down a large latte in ten minutes, I had to use the bathroom.

I can't believe I'm about to type this but, if you read this blog you may be familiar with the Starbucks bathroom since I've written about it before. (Really, with everything going on in my life you'd think there'd be more to write about than the Starbuck's bathroom, but I guess not.)

Anyway, it's a single bathroom and to get into it you have to go up to the bar and get a key. So I did, as I have on many other days.

Except today when I went in the bathroom it was, well, kind of apocalyptic. The toilet was stuffed with toilet paper, poo and all manner of bloody horror. So I pivoted on my heel and walked right back out. But here's the kicker. I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE. I put the key back on the bar and walked back to my seat. I have no idea why. Maybe I didn't want them to think it was me. Maybe I was still in shock. Maybe I wanted someone else to bear the bad news to those nice boys who have to clean it up. Who knows.

The worst part is, a few minutes later another woman went in there and, being the upstanding and responsible citizen that she is, she promptly alerted the staff. So I sat in my chair and realized now they DEFINATELY think I was the one responsible for all that horror.

It's a really big problem right? I know, my problems aren't as big as whoever had to clean that horror show. That person deserves an extra day off. But I'm not sure I can ever show my face in there again. Which cements my guilt even further (non-guilty people don't run).

Maybe I'll write a letter:

Dear Baristas of Downtown Starbucks,

A) It wasn't me. (I swear!) I have a strict "no pooping in public" rule. And even if it had been me, I would have taken up residence in that bathroom forever rather than have one of you clean it.
B) I'm heartily sorry I'm a freak and left that nastiness for another innocent pair of eyes to discover.

Steph (aka "grande non-fat latte with two Splendas")

At any rate, any hope of getting work done was shot, so I started gathering my things up to go.

As I packed up, a homeless man came up to me and said, "People watching is my favorite hobby, and you. . .are a very special person."

Special. Yes. That's the word to describe me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Decade According to Steph

So we're already a month and change into 2010 and I'm still trying to figure out what will culturally standout about the last decade. Some people are saying the last decade isn't over yet. I think those people need to form a math club for purists and just keep to themselves.

Event wise a lot happened: 9/11, devasating hurricanes, the first black president. But culturally? What will be our bellbottoms? Our Beatles? Our neon leg warmers and Madonnas? I still haven't quite figured out what we took out of the nineties. People keep saying grunge, but I think it's just because they don't know either. Kurt Cobain just cannot be the cultural lynchpin of an entire decade.

So in the absence of any insight on what was culturally important to the world in the last decade, I'm going to focus on a more important analysis. The decade according to Steph. Here are some random moments from my last ten years.

2000: 12:02 am, January 1st, Madrid. I am nearly crushed in a crowd of rowdy Spaniards shouting Ole! My feet leave the ground momentarily. My life passses before my eyes, and inexplicably, it's in Spanish, so I don't understand any of it.

2001: My boss calls me in the morning before I go in to work, asks if I've seen the news. I turn on the TV to silent journalists and two crumbling towers in New York. I start to cry uncontrollably.

2002: Danny reminds me to put on my "poker face" before we go look at houses, so we'll be able to negotiate a better price. It turns out I don't exactly have a poker face. The third house we walk into I gush, "Oh my god I love it!" The following month we're living in it.

2003: It is four days before my wedding and my mother-in-law has come up to visit. I've left my to-do list on the kitchen table. She takes one look at it and says, "If I had a to-do list that long I'd shoot myself."

2004: I am in a hospital room. Every surface is covered in paper and plastic. A nurse in gloves and a surgical mask takes a pill out of a lead box. The pill will fill me with a radioactive substance that will eat my cancer away. She watches me swallow it. Three days later she measures me with a Geiger counter and tells me I can go home.

2005: I'm sitting on freezing concrete with eight other women, blocking the entrance to the FDA headquarters. Officers from the Deparment of Homeland Security are standing behind us. Reporters in front of us. I've worn my favorite low-rise jeans. As the officers get ready to drag me to the armored truck, I can't stop wondering if my butt crack is showing.

2006: It is the sixth month in a row I think I am pregnant and the sixth month in a row I am not. I have memorized all the signs and symptoms of early pregancy, and I have all of them, every month. I take the little plastic EPT test and smash it under the heel of my shoe like the irritating vermin that it is.

2007: Danny and I are sitting on a sidewalk in Chelsea, sharing a burrito. We're waiting with a hundred other people to get into a tiny improv theater underneath Gristede's grocery store. When we get inside we see that the surprise special guests are Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers. We decide that having dinner on a surface that was likely peed on recently--was totally worth it.

2008: Alisa and I are in an apartment decorated by old superman sheets and cartoon character lunchboxes. We've responded to an ad that said, "Puppet Band needs members: Will train." We sit on a couch watching two men introduce us to various alien puppets. An IV bag filled with red liquid hangs on the wall behind us.

2009: I'm eating quesadillas in a Moscow restaurant, sitting underneath a large wagon wheel. The only words the server and I have in common are, "hello" and "thank you." My heart is broken into a thousand tiny pieces that sit uncomfortably in my chest. I am numb with loss, but I look up on the wall and see a framed picture of Donald Duck, and it makes me laugh.

All in all, it's been a good decade. Sure, I've had some radiation, some heartache, and been sliced open two or three times, but all that pales in comparison to the amount of living, loving and laughing I did in the past ten years.

Some predictions for the next decade. At some point I will:
-Have poop on my hands and not care
-Paint a room red
-Buy a strobe light
-love someone so much I can't see straight
-meet a C-list celebrity
-eat a kiwi
-star in an infomercial