Monday, December 19, 2005


This morning it was one degree outside, which for all intents and purposes is zero. Zero is pretty cold, even if we’re talking Fahrenheit. I must say, people get a little confused when it’s this cold outside. I don’t mean to make excuses for myself, but it’s not easy giving your full attention to things when you’re battling hypothermia and frostbite with every step.

So it was a little hectic when I first stepped out of my car into the bitter chill of morning after a long, slow crawl into downtown on Interstate 90/94. I’d just found a “good” parking spot underneath the “El” tracks on Lake St., one block north of the office. I rifled through the things strewn about my passenger seat for anything I would need for work, as well as those things I didn’t want to freeze in the car over the course of the day. I unplugged my phone, found my work keys, grabbed a couple of DVD movies I had to return to Blockbuster via U.S. mail, tucked a can of soup into my armpit for lunch, squeezed into my gloves, zipped up my jacket and managed somehow to add a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks to my person before pushing the car door open into traffic.

I hurriedly stepped out, locked the door, and hustled to the corner of Lake and Peoria to drop off my DVDs in the mailbox on the corner. In doing so, I dropped my car keys. Dammit. I stooped to pick them up, then dropped my can of soup. DAMMIT. I stooped to pick the can up, pocketed my keys, and my cellphone slipped out of my coat pocket. Martha Focker. I stopped abruptly, collected myself, and slipped the phone back into my coat pocket. I glanced around quickly to see if anyone had noticed my Warren Moon impression and started hoofing it south. I was about a half a block away when I made the realization that I no longer had my Peppermint Mocha. I turned around and looked at the ground to see where I’d dropped it. Alas, it was no where to be seen.

I’m no expert in the paranormal, but in my experience, take-out coffee does not spontaneously evaporate into nothing – even in subzero windchills. It had to be somewhere, I thought. So I trotted back to the corner, looked all about on the ground, checked my person once again, then gave that mailbox a long, hard stare.

Oh no.

Oh yes.

Oh no you didn’t.

Oh yes I did.

I’d mailed off my morning coffee without proper postage. And without a return address it was sure to wind up in at the dead letter office.

And then I thought of all the letters and bills and Christmas cards in that mailbox – correspondence that would now have frozen coffee caked all over it. The folks at the post office would certainly chalk it up as an act of vandalism. But I knew better. It was an act of true mindlessness brought on by excessively cold weather. It was a brain freeze.

At that point there wasn’t a whole lot I could do except flee the scene. I inconspicuously ambled off down the street as nonchalantly as I could, taking what solace I could from the fact that at least everything would all smell like a chocolate-covered candy cane.

1 comment:

Peter N said...

Think of the mail guy who has to open the box and collect the coffee soaked debris. Oh, and I think I met MY Geri. More later Ter.