Some days you’d be better off not even getting out of bed — or in my case out of my sleeping bag

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It’s one of those mornings where I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown and if one more little thing goes wrong I might just snap and go berserk and go on a killing spree or just start screaming at the top of my lungs and never stop screaming. One of THOSE mornings..

The main stress is because the Post Office — because of their screw up — locked me out of my PO Box — a box I’ve had for 20 years and get very important mail at. And even though it was their screw up I’m locked in a buerocratic Catch-22 where I can’t get my box back.So now all of my mail is being sent back to sender. And I now I have to rent out a new PO Box which also entails all sorts of convoluted complications (starting with trying to prove I’m a Berkeley “resident” when I’m homeless — they refuse to take my feral cats word for it for one thing).

So I just got done with trying to reason with the Post Office supervisor (no luck). So I’m already tense and as high strung as an over-tuned guitar string that is about to snap.

So I go to this cafe to get a cup of coffee (I just woke up an hour ago). And there’s one person on line ahead of me. But the cashier isn’t at her station she’s running around taking care of other chores. So we’re just standing there for five minutes (which seemed like at least an Eternity from my perspective). Even worse the guy standing on line isn’t standing forward he’s standing backwards staring right at me (he’s actually watching his 3 year old daughter who is playing around right outside the cafe so he’s not really watching me but it SEEMS like he’s watching me since he’s staring right in my direction so I’m getting even MORE stressed.

FINALLY the cashier takes his order and of course it’s several complicated coffee drinks that takes another 5 minutes for her to mix up.

FINALLY she gets to me. But no. “I’ll be right with you sir. I have to do blah blah blah first.” She clears some of used plates off the counter, gets somebody else a refill of coffee and then disappears into the back room.

FINALLY she returns with a big smile on her face. “What can I do for you sir?”

“I’d like a large coffee to go” I said with a big smile that was more like gritting teeth.

She says something else to me but I can’t hear what she’s saying because she’s talking so softly and my hearing isn’t so great. FINALLY after much confusion I realize she’s saying “Would you like room for cream?” Which always annoys me. Just give me my damn cup of coffee. But I say “Yes just a little room.”

So finally she fetches my coffee. And I go to the condiments table. And you guessed it. THERES NO CREAM IN THE CREAM CONTAINER!!!!!

So I take the empty cream container back up to the counter. Wait another five minutes to get her attention. “There’s no cream,” I said. “Oh,” she said. She takes the empty cream container and then goes back to dealing with her other customers she’s dealing with. So now I’m standing there waiting for my cream.

And then this is the point where I almost snapped. This woman — this mild-mannered middle-aged lady¬† — steps in front of me and gestures towards the cashier. She has a black cup of to-go coffee in her hand so I can immediately tell what she wants. Like me she too wants cream for her coffee. But she doesn’t realize that I too am waiting for the cream. So it’s not like she purposely cut in front of me. So I can’t kill her. It wouldn’t be a justified homicide. So I just have to stand there staring daggers at the back of her head as the cashier gives HER the cream container so now I have to wait for HER to prepare her coffee before I can prepare mine. And if you had seen me standing there at that moment you would have seen a very tense person standing very rigidly, stiff as a board, my arms at my side, in the middle of the cafe with a very peculiar grimace on my face.

Now I’m sitting here with my coffee. So I lived happily ever after. The end.

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This is probably not breaking news to anyone here, but there are some people in this world of ours who are truly flaming assoles

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It’s another wonderful day at the Berkeley Public Library.

I just went to sit down at the cubicle where I’ve reserved a computer. But some genius is sitting there trying to log onto said computer. “You can’t log onto that computer because I have it reserved,” I said, helpfully.

“No you don’t,” he sneers. “This is MY computer.” He continues to try and log on.

“OK,” I said. “But you’re not going to be able to log on because I have it reserved.”

“No you don’t,” he says. “Get the FUCK out of my face!”

I back off and wait at the end of the aisle. While he feverishly, and pointlessly attempts to log onto my computer. Getting more frustrated with every attempt. I can literally see him grinding his teeth. He suddenly jumps up and comes rushing towards me with his fists clenched like he’s about to attack me. Apparently he assumes I’ve been “fucking with him” somehow. I back off with my hands up, saying, “That’s just how the system works.” (and uh duh) But he’s convinced that I’ve somehow wronged him and therefor must pay.

He goes rushing to the librarians at the front desk to angrily express his grievance at my terrible mistreatment of him.

I go to sit down at the computer, but realize he’s left all of his stuff all over the table, so he will no doubt be back, with further ugly scenes. So I rush up to the front desk to see if we can resolve this grievous misunderstanding. “Listen, ” I said. “if it’s REALLY that important for you to use that computer, I’ll log off so that you can log on.”

“Oh. OK,” he says, gruffly. (the librarians give me a sad but grateful smile that I’ve peacefully resolved a situation that often escalates into security guards and police being called)

I log off of that computer. And log onto another computer. The genius gives me one last sneer. And then we both live happily ever after.

Don’t get me wrong. I can be just as macho and confrontational as anyone. Especially when I’m in the right. And especially when I’m dealing with a flaming asshole. But generally, if possible, I’ll just take the path of least resistance. My credo: “It’s a big world. And the best solution is to occupy a part of it that doesn’t include the asshole.”

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