California Drawer

I got used to making my own coffee in the morning – the comforting sound of the mumbling and hissing machine followed by the smell of fresh brew just gets me. However, every once in a while, I will get into my little car and journey to the nearest Starbucks or 7/11. I’ll go to Starbucks when I miss my mom especially (she always gets a Cappuccino if it’s morning or an Iced Chai Tea Latte if it’s afternoon). I’ll make a stop at 7/11 if I miss California especially (see https://lenafound.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/why-cinnamon/).

Two years ago, June 2015, everything was different. It doesn’t seem like it. It seems like it was yesterday. I was elated and settled in my single-life, going out every once in a while, riding my bike on weekends, but deep down, I was anxious. I needed certain things to work out, which in the end, hadn’t. I wanted to belong in a drawer, but didn’t know which one. Romantically, it was the best that could’ve happened since it (around three corners) led me to where I am now.

Work-wise, I was hoping that my first job at the translation office would improve. It didn’t, and there have been many changes to that workplace itself since. It would not have been healthy for me to hang on, so I let go. Selfishly.

I moved on to a job which was further away, but in the end, was not able to provide what I needed (or had hoped for) either. It was an office job which made me feel like I couldn’t be myself. It just wasn’t me. And if I’m not myself, I can’t give my all, my best, my everything, which made it a dead-end job instead of a career.

I quit, packed my bags, and crossed the country. I have always been a doer, but to be honest, I was glad when that trip was over and I had made it across safely. I cried a lot when I left Los Angeles at 5am just before rush hour. I cried until I reached Barstow, where I went to a Starbucks and had a Cappuccino. Then I became numb, and endured… for five days until I reached the East Coast.

Nothing has happened in two years, but everything has changed. Everything. Well, everything that needed change. That I wanted to change. So that everything can be better, the second time around. I have found back to my old shape. I’ve become clearer on what I want (although that may change quickly, but I anticipate that kind of change, so it’s all good). I’m overall more positive about the future and I most certainly know what I don’t want, which sometimes, is worth more than knowing what you do want.

As I jumped out of the Florida 7/11 that morning, French Vanilla coffee with Hazelnut creamer in hand (I have yet to I find a 7/11 down here which brews cinnamon coffee), and a lady opened the door for me as she walked in. She looked me up and down and said “Oh yeah, it’s you. You’re cute.” – “Excuse me?!” I responded, not bothering to take off my sunglasses again. “Oh no,” she continued, “I saw the car outside with the California license plate, and then I saw you in your little outfit, with your sunglasses, and it can only be you. You’re very California.”

She had no idea how much she had made my day. I smiled for the remainder of the way home and then some more. Yesterday, I received my renewal car registration sticker… for California… And I feel more complete.

As for me, my essence… has become Californian. I’ve found my drawer.

 

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 30: How have you changed in the past 2 years?

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Why Cinnamon?

The other day, I’ve had it once again. I was going to find a better paid-job, a funny, great, handsome man, and everything would change. I don’t have time to date and a job change was not looking too good either, so I hopped over to the next 7/11 and filled out a lottery ticket. It’s what you do, right?!

I believe everyone needs a 7/11 ritual even with the aforementioned job or person in sight. My ritual contains getting a lottery ticket and a cinnamon coffee with French vanilla creamer (2 shots). This evening, I was particularly upset since they had their whole selection – hazelnut coffee, Colombian coffee, blueberry coffee, decaf (yeah right)- nicely lined up… just no cinnamon. The Latina lady with the store’s iconic visor and T-shirt asked me if she could help me. I seriously doubted it, but gave it a try “Yeah, I’m looking for cinnamon”, “no cinnamon. Only morning”, she responded astutely. Ok. Figures. The guy next to her, a fellow customer, smirked at me, as if I had been upset that a dog had just peed on my Rolls Royce and he witnessed it. “Why cinnamon? That’s something I would never put together… coffee and cinnamon” he added while shaking his head. I’m sure he didn’t even want to strike up a conversation- he was visibly in his own world, stressed out after a long day, maybe he was a driver and had to deal with insubordinate customers all day long. Yet it’s still no reason to mock the cinnamon coffee.

I got to love cinnamon coffee when a friend of mine picked me up from a networking event one night in Culver City. He’s a driver and needs to stay awake in the wee hours sometimes, hence the caffeine. While I watched him as he poured cinnamon coffee into our cups at 7/11 and added vanilla creamer, it felt like a ritual. Rituals make me feel safe – like everything will be alright. With my cinnamon coffee in hand that night, I got into the car, happy that the networking was over (it really isn’t my cup of tea; yes, pun!), and I was comforted.

Today, I decided to let it go and opted for the second option with some kind of flavor (Hazelnut). It wasn’t the same.

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I paid for my coffee and my lottery ticket, and made my way over to my loyal little bike that I had just fastened to the meter outside the store. The sun would set in exactly 5 minutes, which is how long it takes me to walk the bike and the coffee safely over to Ocean Blvd. to watch the sun dip into the Pacific.

It was a busy evening on Wilshire Blvd. The homeless were pushing their carts to safety; the druggies just smiled at the world, the normal people drove cars. I didn’t, as you may have noticed from the bike description earlier. I can, but… you know, the job situation.

Then I noticed a man sitting on a fire hydrant. He was holding up a sign made of cardboard that said “coffee”. Not “will work for food” or “ I just want money for booze”, simply“coffee”. I took my headphones out and asked “Really?”, noticing that I had just used the same tone of voice that the 7/11 guy had used on me while he shook his head at my request for cinnamon. Without awaiting the hydrant guy’s answer, I passed him my coffee cup, and walked on over toward the beach.

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This is something that the 7/11 guy probably wouldn’t have done. Sometimes, you’re so lost in your own thoughts that other people’s preferences just throw you off. It’s nice to be pulled out of that loop every once in a while, stop for a second, give someone your coffee and call it a day.

That’s why cinnamon!

(#My500words)