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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cup o' Joe and a Good Book(mark)

The home dudes dash around the valley in their mighty war wagons all day every day. Sometimes they have a grueling schedule to keep in a place that is hard to move through efficiently. That's when business is good. Sometimes they have schedules with gaping holes, requiring them to kill time, clean their vehicles, restock supplies, visit fast food joints and convenience stores. That's when business is poor. To a man, they value their freedom to move about and the flexibility of their work hours.

I sit at Mission Control all day every day. To the extent that I have to get up every hour and use the weights and bands or the wobble board to move my body and keep it limber and stretched. To the extent that on the rare occasions that I'm out in the streets during daytime hours, I rubberneck like a tourist. I value the security of knowing my place, being in it at all times, and overseeing the whole operation at one time. I can see them all on GPS - whether the ignition is on, how fast they're moving, whether they're at a stoplight and for how long. I can talk to all of them at one time on a group call on the BlackBerry.

It's a nice balance and each of us is in our own comfort zone, but we're intrigued by the other's work landscape. They laugh on Monday when I bring in my grocery haul. "I'm here 11 hours or more a day, home dudes. I have to eat something sometimes." Oh. Yeah. I laugh to see them come into the office at the end of the day with as many as 5 different fast food bags. "Anybody want a Jack-in-the-Box taco?" I've got fries and a Monopoly ticket from McDonald's if anybody is interested."

A thoughtful little culture has grown up around food. Sometimes I see a home dude eyeballing my bananas on my desk or an avocado or a frozen meal in the freezer. I offer to share pretty often. The home dudes have taken to calling me if they have to come back to the office during the middle of any day. "Limes, we're on the way in. Would you like a Wendy's chili?" Or "Hey, Limes, you probably don't eat their stuff, but there's a Carl's Jr. between us and you." Sometimes they just bring something they know I do eat, without even asking. And not one of them has ever been known to accept a penny from me in payment for such offerings.

A word from our sponsor: I am going to finish that train of thought, but I need to establish something that will complete the story. I am a Starbucks fan. I go there often. I purchase brewed coffee, coffee beans, implements and appliances. I buy the music, the books and the giftcards. I sit in the "library" area enjoying the coffee and a good book or the New York Times. Recently I noticed that they'd put out little complimentary bookmarks for customers. Kind of oddly shaped: thin green plastic to put between the pages of the book, a little button or knob to ensure that the bookmark doesn't slip down in between the pages. I took a few of them and use them in the 2 or 3 books I have going at any one time.

Back to our feature story: Home dude Matt hit a home run the first time he called me to ask if I'd like Starbucks. The others, seeing my great pleasure, quickly followed suit and it's a fairly frequent treat I receive. None of them feels comfortable saying "grande skinny cinnamon dolce latte", "breve" or anything similar, so Matt developed a great way to place my order. The home dude of the hour drives up to the Starbucks speaker, waits for the barista to ask for the order and then has me place the order through the walkie-talkie feature of the BlackBerry. My voice, and then a man pulls up at the window. It gets a lot of chuckles and probably a few baristas have thought, "That's pretty sweet!"

The other day, it was Matt earning points again. Since the day was 107 degrees, that smart barista thought to ask "hot or cold?" Matt didn't know, so he called and I said "Hot!" "Got it, Limes. I'll be there in 5 minutes."
I saw him sweating up the stairs with that steaming cup of pleasure. He came in and placed it on my desk, with the napkin he'd taken care to get.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a bookmark in my coffee cup! That little object is inserted into the sippy hole of the cup cover to keep the drink hot if it's not going to be consumed immediately. I laughed until I cried. I couldn't wait to tell the story on myself. I tell it on myself to every barista in every Starbucks I enter. Finally I told it in the Starbucks where they holler out "Hey, Limes" when I enter. [You wanna go where everyone knows your name.] We all cackled. One favored barista asked, "Didn't you ever see one of us use it?" I: "No, and why in the hell weren't they at the pick-up window instead of over there by the books for sale?"

Cesar, Limes, Troy and Matt on Limes Appreciation Day

The reason for this story: You have to laugh every single day. Most importantly you have to laugh at yourself. And you have to be big enough to shine a light on your own "stupid" moments . . . because we all have them.

In my ears right now: Judy Collins, "Pretty Polly". It has always conjured up certain images in my head. This morning I read a piece of prose written by a talented man. It also took me to the Pretty Polly images, but with a twist on the details. Thanks, Tree!

Something that charmed me: Vicente has a new group of words in English in his bag of tricks. I said, "How are you, Vicente?" Said he: "Old, fat and ugly!" Big, glittering grin showing those gold-framed teeth.


  1. Lime, thanks for the tip of the hat.

  2. Aw, Tree, it was a tip of the hat until I realized that you were suffering when you wrote that. Now it's more bowing at the altar. You don't know how you fill my soul with your words and images. Although I use lots of words, I'm not always tremendously efficient. But you touch me in all sorts of ways and I am truly sorry you're hurting.

  3. You are a writer, Limes. This is what you do. This is what you were meant to do.

  4. oh . . ok . . thank you for telling me.