Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things I Wonder About

On my way to work tonight I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts as I usually do to buy my large coffee - or as I like to call it, my life-blood - and as I was sitting at the drive-through window waiting, I saw an interesting sign taped to the inside of the cold drink cabinet in the restaurant - you know, the big fridge with the glass front where you can buy milk or juice or whatever. This sign said something like, "Attention employees, Amp is now off-limits!"

If you're not familiar with it, Amp is one of those high-energy drinks that is so chock-full of caffeine that just thinking about drinking it makes my pulse race and my blood pressure skyrocket.

But here's the thing: Whenever I go to Dunkin's I always order the same thing - a large black coffee. Simple, right? I mean, really, what could be easier than pouring some coffee into a Styrofoam cup and handing it to the customer? But I can't tell you how many times I have ordered my large black coffee and driven off, happy and secure in the knowledge that I now have my life-blood to sustain me when I get to work, then opened it up and discovered my large black coffee has somehow morphed into a large regular coffee, which is fine if you like it that way but to me means only that I have once again wasted $2.15!

So, by my way of thinking, Dunkin's management should be making the employees drink at least one Amp when they come on duty, if only to get them to pay attention to my order. I mean it's not like I'm ordering a double-decaffeinated half-caf with a twist or something. It's a black coffee!

Anyway, that's something I wonder about. Here are a few other things:

- If those long, stringy things that connect muscle to bone in your body are called tendons, why in the world do they call it tendinitis when you irritate or rupture one of them? Shouldn't it be tendonitis? No wonder English is such a hard language to learn. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me.

- Doesn't it seem like the words "silent auction" are a contradiction in terms? I'm not sure why, but whenever I see those words, I instantly think of some kind of weird Monty Python skit, with an auctioneer gesticulating wildly over a product in front of an entire roomful of people, all of whom are jumping up and down trying to bid on it, but no one is making a sound.

And how would anyone ever know when the bidding is over? The auctioneer can't bang the gavel down, because he has to be silent. This is the sort of thing I wonder about.

- How is it possible for me to get a personalized rejection letter from one of the big New York literary agents - I mean, a biggie. I won't say who, but it's a biggie - that says stuff like "Your writing is smooth and commercial. Your descriptive turns of phrase easily set the mood and you consistently set up compelling conflicts in each chapter," and not be able to find a home for the novel I've been shopping around?

I'm conflicted. I am thrilled to read these encouraging words from - I know, I've said it already - one of the biggies in the agent world, but at the same time, encouraging words never got anyone a publishing contract. You know what I mean? I feel like the pitcher who strikes out everybody in the opposing lineup but the manager says, "Yeah, well, their star player wasn't in the lineup today."

There. I'm done complaining. I feel better now, I'm sure glad I got my large black coffee from the Amp-less people at Dunkin' Donuts a little while ago.

- How is it possible that I work in a federal government facility, built at taxpayer expense for something like forty million dollars, that opened less than five years ago, and when I go into the big, fancy kitchen to cook my lunch, if I use the toaster oven and the microwave at the same time, the circuit blows and I can't cook anything?

How is that possible? We're not talking a hundred and fifty year old building that was wired by Thomas Edison here. This is a state-of-the-art air traffic control facility housing equipment worth more money than you or I will make in our entire lives, and I can't cook a french bread pizza. Unbelievable.

Anyway, I'm done wondering about stuff for now. It's too stressful. Maybe if I had enjoyed a nice Amp tonight it would be one thing, but I didn't, so I'm done.

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