Or, to correctly paraphrase most of my customers; CAFFEINEEEEE!
For some people, caffeine seems to be essential to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and things can get pretty ugly when they are denied, even for a few minutes, their precious cup of C8H10N4O2. (I’m really not sure if that’s right, if it’s wrong you’ll have to take it up with Wikipedia.)
One incredibly graceful elderly lady frequently visits the cafe in the evenings, carrying herself as if she is always on important business. As composed as she is, she has very exacting tastes, and often requests a ‘very hot latte’ along with some ice water. Dutifully, I make the latte, sort of scorching the milk in a way which I hope will make her coffee hot and not, you know, disgusting, and then find the ice, which is normally in igloo-standard blocks which I then have to break up by bashing the massive, unweildy bag of ice against the work top, (while trying to be subtle). We then normally have an extremely lengthy discussion about pastries and their varying freshness, during which time I have to watch, agonisingly, as the latte grows cold, on her tray, before my very eyes, melting the ice in its death throes. There is nothing quite so uniquely heartbreaking, let me tell you.
Recently, I was talking to someone who knows a guy who knows a guy who did the Dakar rally this year for Race2Recovery. The team, composed mainly of injured servicemen, race around the Peruvian desert in very very fast, extremely expensive souped up cars, raising money for Forces charities. It’s an amazing team and a pretty crazy, but effective idea. Also, stuff like this happens; (this is an anecdote told to me which I thought was brilliant. The events are completely true but obviously, the sequence of events is not exact!)
The man in question was driving the race car on this particular day (one of four cars, and, *spoiler* one of the three that didn’t finish!) along with his navigator; who was an ex-serviceman and also happened to be a double amputee.
Hitting a sand dune at the wrong angle at well over 100mph, the car took off and landed, nose down in the sand, on the crest of the next ridge, from where it rolled, twisted, rolled and finally settled, half buried in baking desert. The two guys inside were ratchet strapped to the roll cage, so apart from major impact to the spine, they were conscious and generally okay. The car, however, was now a very expensive v-shaped block of metal, completely crushed. As the medi-team ran over, they feared the worst, and were relieved to rip open the drivers side door and find the man behind the wheel very shaken up but alive. The navigator was also smiling as best he could at the paramedics on his side of the car, amazed and happy to be alive and safe. He couldn’t work out, however, why the paramedics still looked so horrified, so panicked. After almost a minute during which they talked hurriedly among themselves and fought to free him from the seatbelt, one of the medical team turned to him and said, very gravely,
“Sir, I don’t want you to panic, but, we can’t find your legs”.
Happy Birthday Edna!