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Category Archives: morning drama

Barista Bellows: “ONE DECAF QUAD ESPRESSO …

Barista Bellows:  “ONE DECAF QUAD ESPRESSO …

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…FOR Zal,” “Sowl,” “Sagi,” “Shi”—

Barista, please get it right (write)!

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The Name on My Coffee Cup

By Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Photographs courtesy Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Starbucks announced earlier this week that, in the hope of sparking impromptu and much needed discussion concerning race relations in the United States, it will begin encouraging baristas to write the phrase “race together” on its coffee cups. As a frequent consumer of Starbucks, I have yet to encounter the slogan or the ensuing exchange of views, but the most contentious aspect for me when ordering coffee—until now, anyway—has been the perpetual misspelling of my name on the side of the cup. The mutations have been many, and they have often been egregious—“Zal,” “Sowl,” “Sagi,” “Shi”—and then once, incredibly, three years ago, at a branch in the financial district, “Saïd,” diaeresis added, prompting me to seek out the barista, whose hand I grasped with deep feeling but who, frankly, seemed perplexed that anyone would have difficulty spelling my name. He was Latino, I think, and he told me that he had a best friend named Saïd, spelled identically, which would explain his astuteness. Never mind the backstory, I was delighted by the outcome. I photographed the cup for posterity, and then, for good measure, tweeted it for the world to see.

Until that moment, I had always recoiled when asked for my name by a barista—an innocent question for a simple transaction, but one that harkens back to traumatic days growing up in Pittsburgh, where my name caused controversy and consternation for people who, if they were not black, were mostly descendants of Germany, Italy, and Ireland. When I was in sixth grade, there happened to be one other boy in my school of Middle Eastern extraction, whose name was Hassin but whom everyone called Hi-C, and who had the further misfortune of having an accent. The boy wanted to be friends with me, but I avoided him at all costs, lest his foreignness reflect back. My own apparent foreignness was misleading, considering that I had been born in Brooklyn, and I did my best to mitigate it when I could—that is to say, always—but there was no getting around the fact of my name, which, during school, was occasionally brought into the spotlight by substitute teachers, who mangled it aloud to the amusement of my white classmates, reminding them that there was someone of abnormal ancestry sitting in their midst. Thirty-five years later, I might have been able to endure the painful and momentary mispronunciations of my name shouted in Starbucks, but it was the misspellings, perhaps because they were written in harsh black ink, that seemed as if they would last forever.

But, after that wondrous occurrence at the Starbucks in the financial district, a profound shift took place inside of me, revelatory and liberating, and I began to openly acknowledge misspellings of my name, even to look forward to them, so that I could photograph and tweet the results—in essence, preserving them forever. For the record, there are several acceptable ways to spell Saïd—“Saeed,” “Sayid,” “Saeid”—but I accept only one, with the diaeresis included. A high standard, I suppose, but we should each have high standards when it comes to our name. As a rule, I never offer the barista assistance with the spelling unless it is requested, which it seldom is. There have been a few instances when my instructions for “two dots over the ‘i’ ” have been transcribed as three dots over the “i,” which is cute but wrong. When I was four years old, I would draw pictures where the “i” had three dots, and those three dots then became parts of a smiley face. That was back when my name was a playful thing for me and I marvelled at its unusualness, but that playfulness is long gone.

Several months ago, a Twitter follower, perhaps growing weary of seeing Starbucks misspellings from all over the United States, suggested that I could easily resolve the dilemma by providing the baristas with a different name. Bob, for instance. Strangely, this had not occurred to me. Nor had it occurred to me that even American names might be undergoing problematic interpretations at Starbucks. Henry, I have heard, becomes Avery. Amy becomes Jenny. The advice struck me as sound, but I had not hung onto my name all these years in order to now become someone named Bob, even for the sake of a momentary convenience. The time for being Bob was 1979, during the Iran hostage crisis, when having a name like mine was a badge of shame and criminality. But the name had been the single constant connection to my Iranian father, who had abandoned me when I was nine months old, leaving me alone with my Jewish-American mother, Martha Harris. If there was a time for transformation—or obfuscation—it was then.

But I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that there have been a few occasions when I did, in fact, change my name for the purposes of obfuscation—or obliteration. The first was when I was about thirteen, and had to deliver the afternoon paper to an elderly woman who lived behind one house in another, smaller house that resembled a shack. She had signed up for the paper as a new customer, but something kept going wrong with the correct address being conveyed to me —perhaps because it was a 1/2—so my dispatcher finally demanded that I make a special delivery and hand her the paper in person. It turned out that she was nice but lonely, and wanted to spend time talking with me, but I was frightened of her because of her age and the condition of her home, so when she asked me my name I told her it was Steve. I was amazed that she could not tell I was lying. After that, I was always Steve with her, which felt to me like a terrible betrayal of everyone involved, including my father—but there was, of course, no going back. When I collected the weekly payment, she would pay me with a handful of coins since she was poor, and she never tipped but she would always say, “Thank you, Steve.”

The second time I gave a false name was about fifteen years later, when I was living in New York City, hoping to become a professional actor and having no success. Apart from an occasional call to audition for the role of a taxi-driver or a deli owner, the phone never rang. At some point, I managed to arrange a meeting with a casting agent, and the first thing she asked me was whether I had ever considered changing my name. It was a fair question, I guess, but I felt insulted. “You’re sitting directly across from me,” I said, “and can see that I could easily pass for Italian American.” I was basing this on a moderately ambiguous ethnic quality in my face, which people had speculated over the years could be Italian or Greek or “anywhere in the Mediterranean.” But I had not formulated this concept as tactfully as I could have, and now it was the casting agent’s turn to be insulted. “Why would I call you for an Italian-American role,” she demanded, “when there are a hundred thousand Italian American actors?” To this, I had no response. “If I send you out for an Italian-American role,” she said, “that’s trouble . . . and I don’t want trouble.” She was earnest and annoyed. It was also clear that she had lost any interest in helping me. “Change your name to Joe Kelly,” she suggested, “and I can get you work.” And then she concluded with the powerhouse line: “Until then, I’ll call you when I need a terrorist.” At that, the meeting was effectively over.

She never did call me in need of a terrorist, a role that I most likely would have accepted. And after a few years had passed and my career had continued to stagnate, I finally took her advice and had five hundred head shots made with my face and the name Anthony March Harris, a clever amalgamation of names belonging to my mother, my cousin, and a childhood friend. I thought it had a nice ring to it, but unfortunately it also put me in competition with every other white American male actor, an even more daunting subset. The one audition I landed, a shaving-cream commercial, seemed exceptionally promising when the young female assistant director, before turning on the camera, remarked, “You look like my ex-boyfriend.” I had never heard this before at an audition, and I took it to mean that she found me mildly attractive, and that my odds were good. With the paranoia of my ethnic psyche running in the background, I assumed that my commonplace name was partly why she had managed to see a resemblance. Either way, I did not get the part. Not too long after that I gave up acting for good and threw away my several hundred head shots. Among other things, I had become dimly aware that much of my desire for stardom was fuelled by a wish for revenge, and the prospect of becoming famous on, say, a sitcom, even if that were remotely possible, did not hold much appeal if the classmates who had mocked me so vigorously years earlier would never know that it was I who had succeeded.

Lately, I have begun spending almost all of my afternoons—and sometimes evenings—reading in my favorite Starbucks, situated on the New York University campus. It’s by far the busiest Starbucks I’ve ever been in, with waits up to twenty minutes long, but I’m such a regular that the baristas frequently make my coffee before I’m even in line: decaf quad espresso ($3.21). They know me so well, in fact, that my name is always spelled correctly, which means, unfortunately, that I no longer tweet photos of the sides of coffee cups—but so be it. With its enormous windows facing Washington Square Park and its chestnut-brown armchairs, I sit there with my noise-cancelling headphones on, undisturbed. The other day, the eternal line of college students notwithstanding, one of the baristas took the time to deliver my cup of coffee to me. It was such a lovely gesture. The type of small-town fellowship that people lament the modern age for having eradicated.

Source: www thenewyorker.com

 
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Posted by on SunAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-12-09T10:06:57+00:00America/Los_Angeles12bAmerica/Los_AngelesSun, 09 Dec 2018 10:06:57 +0000 31, in coffee, morning drama

 

Morning Commute By Foot

Morning Commute By Foot

Featured image: http://www.imagedeli.deviantart.com

I drove 1.5 hours from Virginia to Maryland for work one day — a typical commute in the greater DC area.

When I was getting out of the car, I realized that I had no shoes on. I like to walk and drive with bare feet, and usually I have a pair of shoes in the car. But that day, I couldn’t find any shoes in the car.

I was working as a psychotherapist in a psychiatrist clinic and my first patient appointment was about to start. I had no choice but walked in to the packed waiting room. I pretended all was normal and called my first appointment patient’s name. I smiled and shook hands with her and led her to my office.

Throughout the whole day I talked with my patients, and walked around the office barefoot. My heart pounded nervously, but I gave no visible signs that I was utterly embarrassed. I acted as if all was normal and no one, not even my coworkers mentioned a word about me not having shoes on the whole day.

‘I had no shoes on’

http://www.flickr.com/photos/consumerist/

—Anderson, Virginia

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com

 
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Posted by on MonAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-12-03T13:40:05+00:00America/Los_Angeles12bAmerica/Los_AngelesMon, 03 Dec 2018 13:40:05 +0000 31, in entertainment, Monday Madness, morning drama

 

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Why I No Longer Commute to Work

Originally posted on: AmericaOnCoffee

Janey was always the one. She was. shapely, tall and pretty. She knew it because guys were always swooning her.

As every weekday morning, Janey would pick up five co-workers: Lorna, Lindsey, Amy, Dawn and Carmen in her spacious golden brown Audi. We head to our job at Crimwinkle and Snowden, a very prestigious marketing firm that distributed household supplies. We were all marketing representatives, and our jobs demanded the highest standards in our appearances and attitudes.

This was a good reason why the six of us were so lax and loose behavior on our way to work. We laughed and joked about the silliest of things.

But, at some point there was a guy quite handsome looking staring at Janey. He appeared quite irritated. Janey said “Wow” he was quite cute and took his behavior as a come on. We co-worker/ride sharers didn’t know what to make of it.

The guy beckoned Janey to pull over so he could talk with her.

She did and he gave her a hard punch in the face.

This was a morning of a Ravenous Rage! I may be telling it from a ride-sharer-onseer perspective, but it happened to me, Janey. My friends never commuted to work with me again. And, it was such an embarrassment that I quit my job Crimwinkle and Snowden

©David Dean (AmericaOnCoffee) All rights reserved2018

 
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Posted by on MonAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-12-03T12:25:34+00:00America/Los_Angeles12bAmerica/Los_AngelesMon, 03 Dec 2018 12:25:34 +0000 31, in morning drama, reflections

 

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Just One Of My Morning Train Journeys

Austin, Texas to Chicago, Illinois

A man gets on the train at 5AM.

He’s drunk.

He’s loud.

He can’t sleep. In fact, he hasn’t slept in days.

He looks down at my sleeping body and wakes me up to say, “Hey, Girl. What’s up?”

I mumble that I’m sleeping, and he takes the cue to leave me alone. For now.

As I drift in and out of sleep, I can hear him telling his buddy that he doesn’t trust anyone.

No one came to see him while he was in prison.

He has a gun, and he’s not afraid to use it.

My imagination runs wild as to what this drunk, beligerant passenger will do, but he mostly doses in and out of consciousness, occassionally saying a crude remark about a female who walks by his seat or telling his buddy that he loves him like a brother.

When his buddy gets off the train, he turns to me to share his slurred, drunken life.

He tells me that he’s traveling to Seattle to see the daughters he abandoned over 20 years ago. He tells me that the mother of his children is in an unhappy marriage, but he doesn’t want to get involved. He tells me that he had to shoot women and children in South America for the U.S. Army. He tells me that he works for Veteran’s Affairs, that he travels to different hospitals trying to uplift vets. He tells me that the men and women who fought for our country get no respect.

He cries and cries. When he wipes his tears away, he reveals a rubber bracelet with the phone number to the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

He doesn’t bring up about being in prison, and I think that maybe I misheard him when he was talking to his buddy.

Because he is so unbelievably inebriated, he repeats himself. A lot. He tells me that I have to share the story about the horrible things that the U.S. Government is doing, but he’s afraid I will be killed. Sometimes he whispers, making gestures towards the young soldier in uniform sitting two rows in front of us. Sometimes he just stares at me with wild, animal-like eyes, waiting for me to affirm everything he is saying.

When I mention that I would like to go to the observation car to get some work done, he asks if he can join me. And because I’m a pushover, I say yes.

I watch as he buys a beer in the train cafe at 9AM, and I make a gesture to the attendant that he’s drunk. She tells me to run.

I politely tell him that I will see him later, and since he sits right in front of me in coach, that is the truth.

Later, I overhear him in the observation car telling another person that he just met a journalist from New York and that he’s working on a big, important story with her. Though only 53, he looks 15 years older, and has a voice made of pure whiskey.

As he stumble-exits the train hours later, he reminds me to share the story of what the U.S. Government does to veterans, and that if I do, the story will be big.

I couldn’t promise him a groundbreaking article in the New York Times, but this is the best I can do. And though it’s not the expose he was hoping for, it is an example of what can often happen to the hard-working individuals who sacrifice so much for this country. That’s of course if what he told me is true. Alcohol can make all stories dubious.

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Lauren Modery
Medium member since Mar 2018

Freelance writer in Austin

Diary of a Train Traveler

For the past three years, I’ve only traveled long distance by train. Traveling by train has given me incalculable experiences and interactions, all in which I’m grateful for both as a human and as a
human and as a writer.

 
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Posted by on FriAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-11-30T10:35:30+00:00America/Los_Angeles11bAmerica/Los_AngelesFri, 30 Nov 2018 10:35:30 +0000 31, in morning drama

 

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Attitude Is Key To Your Morning Workout

Attitude Is Key To Your Morning Workout

“Should any frustration result from your excercise routines, you might even do THIS“….

One female’s personal share:

“I Stopped Working Out In The Morning, And Here’s The Shocking Thing That Happened To My Body”

By Los Angeles Correspondent via @meglewisschneider
For years, this is how I started every morning—with a buzzing cellphone alarm gently jostling me out of sleep, bright and early. You see, I’ve always been an early morning workout girl. Six a.m. boxing class? I’m down. Sunrise five-mile run? Yes, please. Pre-dawn Pilates workout? Don’t mind if I do.

It’s not that I was more of a morning person than anyone else. Nope, I always chose to do a morning workout because by the time I’d make it home at night, I felt so lazy that I’d inevitably skip my sweat session—despite my best intentions. So regardless of my work schedule, relationship status, or level of sleep deprivation, I’d always force myself to get my workout in before my day really started.

And then a few months ago, something shifted in me. Due to a few convergent events in my life, I was forced to slow down and take care of myself. And suddenly, waking up and dragging myself to a workout class didn’t seem fun—and because I was getting far less than eight hours of sleep per night, it definitely didn’t seem healthy. Before, I never skipped a workout, no matter how tired, sore, or unmotivated I was. But now that I was trying to be gentle with my body and spirit, I realized it might be better to sleep in and work out later … or even more extreme, skip my usual sweat session altogether.

So, I gave up my morning workouts cold turkey, and started listening to what my body wanted to do.

Sometimes that meant sleeping for a few more hours.

Sometimes, it meant 15 minutes of yoga-inspired stretches from bed.

Sometimes, it meant lacing up my sneakers and putting in a few miles in the afternoon.

Sometimes, it meant crushing a short BBG workout when I got home from work.

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Most of the time, it meant meditating every day and trying to walk as often as possible.

I’m not going to lie to you—I figured I’d probably gain weight. See, I’ve been a consistent runner for nearly two years and usually put in about 30-40 miles a week. That’s a lot of cardio, and it keeps me feeling pretty fit and toned. But over the past few months my body felt so tired that even running—an activity I truly love—seemed like a chore.

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So I resigned myself to the idea that I’d gain a little extra fluff while I gave my body a short break, and I was OK with it.

Imagine my surprise when the opposite happened. OK, blowing off my regular morning workouts didn’t give me the body of Kayla Itsines … But it did instantly help with my chronic-feeling fatigue. I also noticed that even though I lost a little muscle definition, I felt better than I had in a while. Instead of waking up sore and achy, I felt light and fresh.

Interestingly enough, my belly bloat diminished, too. Honestly, I’m not sure why—maybe it’s because I was eating less because I wasn’t as hungry as when I normally work out. But I have a feeling my constant bloating had more to do with sky-high stress levels (the stress hormone cortisol causes the body to store calories as belly fat) and chronic inflammation from working out too much.

I’m not quite back into my normal morning workout routine—although I still rise with the sun, I like to take a moment to enjoy my coffee and meditate a little before I get on with my day. Knowing what I know now, I think I’ll probably keep playing my workouts by ear and exercising at times that are convenient for me. After all, the point of exercising is to feel and look good—and I know that I feel my best (and look pretty great!) when I’m not stressed or over-taxing my body.

Source: body workout shocking thing

 
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Posted by on SunAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-11-04T09:20:36+00:00America/Los_Angeles11bAmerica/Los_AngelesSun, 04 Nov 2018 09:20:36 +0000 31, in morning drama

 

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When Morning Dreams Are Filled With Imagination

When Morning Dreams Are Filled With Imagination
featured image: Courtesy of Pinterest

When you are half asleep, it means you are not fully awake. It also means you are still in your comfort zone, a state of splendor and ecstasy. On this realm of relaxation, you might find yourself wearing pajamas, a gown or a nightie. Yes in this frame of mind, you can dream BIG and venture anywhere!…

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Just to fill your tummy with a plate of huge pancakes, you might find your way through a forest where an enchanted, happy tree directs you into the porous entries of his rooted trunk. When inside, the enchanted tree transforms into an exciting treehouse restaurant.

There you see lots of patrons. Oh, and there is an aroma of hot pancakes. They smell so good! It is so entertaining to watch jolly cooks batter and platter the fruited herb filled pancakes. Rhythmically they run to and fro mixing, flipping and serving them hot in tall stacks.

When a waitress walks over with a huge stack, you assume they are for you. With your arms stretched out reaching for the pancakes, you follow her. But then your eyes meet the patron who ordered that stack of pancakes. He gives you a daring look, to “Back off”!

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Some dreams are so connected that when one realm closes, the door to another opens up. You could find yourself peering upon a castle and then suddenly your inside.

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Breakfast is just what your heart desires. You are now inside of a castle restaurant with big bottles of syrups scattered about the tables. There seems to be so many flavors… Apricot, maple, assorted berry flavors and peach. It’s so weird, but everyone is dressed in sleepwear and eating huge pancakes. No problem, because you too are in your sleepwear. And, you are a perfect blend with this crowd because just like you, everyone appears to be half asleep or in their own world.

As soon as you sit down, a waitress comes over takes your order for pancakes. After ten minutes of anxiously waiting, the waitress serves you one, big… GIANT buttery, cinnamon-covered pancake in a plate. But, each time you reach for the tasty bread of love, the pancake, like a mirage, just keeps disappearing.

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The most unfortunate place to wander while not fully awake is to a haunted mansion.

It looks eerie on the outside but you believe you are smelling Buttermilk pancakes. So, you take your chances and head inside. The interior is dark and dreary, and there is no one in sight. But the kitchen looks as though “breakfast” is about to happen, because all about are the fixn’s for a huge breakfast. You call out “hello, hello! Is there anyone home”? You repeat this callout three, four and five times… and still you get no answer.

Who could imagine the many bottles of syrups, buckets of dripping butter and a huge pot of coffee percolating and yet, there is not a soul in sight? What is also strange is a rectangled table with plates and cups has been neatly set. But then you hear hissing, sizzling sounds.

Slowly, you follow the sounds into the cooking area of the kitchen. And there upon a grill, giant Buttermilk pancakes are being cooked. You don’t know who is doing the cooking, because, still, there is no one in sight.

Breakfast will be a waste if the pancakes burn. So you take on the job to rescue the pancakes and struggle to flip them. Incredible! You handle the huge pancakes and put them into a delicious stack on a plate. But then suddenly, out of nowhere, a transparent figure of a young lady appeared and grabbed the plate of pancakes and began eating them.

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(You are awakened by the musical sounds from your phone device. It is 7a.m.)

(you pickup and answer) Hello
(It is your cousin Allen)

Hi Allen!”

“Trace!” (he says) “–you won’t believe this, but I had the most crazy dream about you.

(he chuckles and continues) I dreamt you were stealing food from restaurants. Everything in the dream seemed so real.”

(there is a long pause and then he continues) “I hope everything is okay with you, Trace. How about us going out for a pancake breakfast?”

(there is a long span of dead silence. You observe that your feet and sleepwear are filthy dirty)

Story originally posted on: AmericaOnCoffee ©2018 Doro Dancer (AmericaOnCoffee/AOC)

 
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Posted by on FriAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-11-02T07:00:30+00:00America/Los_Angeles11bAmerica/Los_AngelesFri, 02 Nov 2018 07:00:30 +0000 31, in breakfast, brunch, coffee, morning drama, reflections

 

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Casual Fridays and Mondays…

 
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Posted by on MonAmerica/Los_Angeles2018-10-29T10:40:50+00:00America/Los_Angeles10bAmerica/Los_AngelesMon, 29 Oct 2018 10:40:50 +0000 31, in entertainment, morning drama

 

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