Sunday, June 19, 2011

Installment Six

No pity party today.

I staked out a Starbucks, a few chain coffee houses, and some intimate, independent ones while I was at it. Empty-handed, I walked out of all of them with neither coffee nor employment forms.

I simply must get over myself and grow up.

And sooner rather than later. Edna's deposit in my bank account was lovely (that she has even figured out on-line banking at her age is beyond my comprehension), but hell will have to freeze over before I accept her largesse again.

I keep forgetting hell actually does freeze over here. It's called winter.

I need to find a coffee house and it must be within walking distance of the tiny apartment. I don’t care if I am watching my pennies. I'm avoiding buses as long as I can.

My aversion to public transit dates back a long way. There was an iron clad 'no B & B' rule during my marriage with TBM. That meant, no playing bridge and no taking buses.

Don't get me wrong, please. I am a bus hugger. I just took enough of them when I was a kid, living in strange countries with even stranger local conveyances and a seatmate that could be a goat. Once, I sat beside a motorcycle.

I am not making that up, either. (Although I just realized I could say anything here. Okay, I'm really a tall, young, and beautiful babe. Forget what I said about being a menopausal woman. I've already forgotten.)

As for bridge, I watched my mother play enough of it to last a lifetime. She hated it too, but back in her day, she had no choice in the matter.

She was always perky though, probably thanks to the assistance of her chain-smoking, and drinking gin and tonics throughout the play. I wondered if she played wearing gloves.

If that truck hadn't killed her and Dad on Highway 401 outside of Toronto, the cigarettes and booze would surely have done her in prematurely. I still miss her, even though I barely knew her.

I skulked home after my coffee shop recon. Before I could spiral into the despair my cousin Julie called. She made me feel better almost immediately as she always does.

Brief explanation: I lived with Julie and her family after my parents were killed. A year older than me, we were in the same grade, thanks to all the achievement-driven international schools I had attended which pushed my grade level up by one.

Her parents, my beloved aunt and uncle (both gone now too), became my legal guardians; her younger siblings became more than first cousins to me as I was an only child.

"How did the coffee shop job hunting go?" Julie had asked me.

She managed to refrain from reminding me again that I happen to have a college degree in international development I could probably put to good use, even if it is over 30 years old.

The first time she brought up the idea of my working in foreign aid, I pointed out my degree is older than the people interviewing me.

"It went."

"Message received, loud and clear. How about we meet tomorrow at two o'clock? We'll discuss your future. Over coffee."

Can you hear a smirk on the phone?

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