“What can I bring you to drink?” asked our waiter, Roberto.
“Coffee,” Jerry said without looking up from the menu.
As Roberto sped away, I said to Jerry, “You sound kind of grumpy.”
He said, “My back hurts. I didn’t mean to sound grumpy. I’ll feel better when I have coffee.”
We scooped the warm complimentary tortilla chips into the bean dip and munched as we waited. Roberto returned to our table empty-handed.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t have regular coffee. We have decaf. Would you like decaf?”
Jerry looks crestfallen at this news. Decaf, he likes to say, is like taking a shower with a raincoat on. Whenever he says this, I get the mental image of Jerry decked out in one of those bright school bus yellow raincoats with hat and standing under the water in the shower.
“Thanks, but we need to go somewhere else,” Jerry said, grabbing one last tortilla chip for the road.
In the parking lot, Jerry said, “What kind of restaurant doesn’t have coffee? What do they drink here in Arizona, anyway?”
“Peachy iced tea, pink lemonade, and margaritas,” I said.
“I don’t like peachy iced tea,” Jerry said, then gave me a choice of alternative Mexican restaurant options. He had his heart set on Mexican food and coffee.
“Whichever is closest,” I said.
“They’re each about the same distance from here,” Jerry told me as we hopped into our Ford Explorer. The Explorer’s AC stopped working a few weeks ago, so we rely on the old-fashioned AC method of open windows.
Hot wind blasted through the car windows as we hit the freeway. It felt like riding in a giant hair dryer. It seemed like we drove forever. But I didn’t complain. I read that you can never be happy while complaining, and I didn’t want to take a mini-vacation to unhappiness. Whenever I’m grateful to God for what I have, rather than what I don’t have, I take a trip to happiness.
Finally, we arrived. The name of this second Mexican restaurant, “On The Border,” seemed appropriate.
Our young server introduced herself as Danica. (The older I get, the younger everyone else gets. Danica, I’m sure, is 12 or 9.) She asked what we would like to drink. “I hope you have coffee,” I said.
“We do,” she answered with a confident smile and returned in a few minutes with hot coffee in mugs rattling atop saucers with spoons on the side. I thanked Danica and refrained from asking her if she had done her homework.
With the arrival of coffee, Jerry’s mood greatly improved. He said the cushioned seats made his back feel better. Of course, the caffeine helped even more.
It’s funny, the things we tell ourselves and believe to be true. I imagine Jerry told himself, “I need coffee and enchiladas and then I will feel better. I will drive to the ends of the earth in a hot hair dryer car to get it because my back hurts.”
This past week, I told myself something I believed to be true. (I thought it, rather than blurt it out loud. But I could have as no one thinks twice these days when people talk to themselves.) I believed a saleslady stole my birthday cards.
I bought the birthday cards at a gift shop in Prescott, Arizona. After leaving the store, I stopped at the consignment shop next door and tried on clothes. I bought a jacket, a turtleneck top, and a like-new Michael Kors purse. I didn’t need a new purse but when you see a regular $200 designer handbag for $25, then you need to buy it.”
Back at home (which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Prescott), I couldn’t find the birthday cards.
“I’m sure I left them at the shop in Prescott when I tried clothes on,” I told Jerry.
“Call them,” Jerry said. “I’ll bet they’ll mail them to you.”
I made the phone call and explained the situation.
“I clean the dressing rooms and I didn’t see birthday cards,” the saleslady snapped rather abruptly.
I hung up and said to Jerry, “She stole my birthday cards. She had no reason to be that rude unless she’s feeling guilty for what she did. I’m positive I left them there.”
I felt like calling the police and filing a report for birthday card theft. But I didn’t have tangible proof. Even so, I knew who the thief was. I imagined her sending my birthday cards to her friends, who wouldn’t know they were receiving stolen goods.
Two days later, the birthday cards appeared. They stood propped up in front of my computer.
“I found them in the car,” Jerry said, and then added, “Bronwyn, I’m reading about anger management and one of the triggers for anger is assuming something is true when it isn’t.”
What could I say to that? He’s right. I was ready to send the Prescott saleslady to the slammer.
I realize Jerry and I sometimes get certain beliefs into our heads and believe them to be reality without having all the facts.
It causes Jerry to drive a hundred miles for the healing therapy coffee provides for back pain. And causes me to have unkind thoughts about a lady who sold me a Michael Kors purse and threw in a scarf to go with it.
I’m working on not assuming things when I don’t have all the facts.
However, a mirror I carry in my purse is missing. I noticed this yesterday.
Now, … I need to contemplate how to deal with mirror theft by a certain Prescott saleslady. I bet she slyly lifted it out of my purse while I paid for the clothes and Michael Kors bag. She distracted me with the comment “this scarf goes with the purse.” That’s it! As I admired the scarf, her sticky fingers were in my purse!
I need coffee very badly.