“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
I wish I was so eloquent so as to share with you/anyone my feelings and belief about our country, our government and our predicament. If I had the patience and time I would comb through my books and other texts to provide many quotes, examples for why I “feel” and “believe” what I do. I lack the patience to wait and prepare such a draft because I fear that by the time I actually completed the draft it would be too late.
One truth, I believe there is a time, a parcel of the future where once we reach it that it will indeed be too late. At this moment I believe we are quite close to that parcel.
Second truth, I believe that our country has been the victim of deliberate actions meant to undermine and ruin what the country was meant to be. It began in the days of the nation’s founding but gained traction in the early 1800s and ever since has quietly and destructively rolled onto its goals – sabotage.
Third truth, our nation has been and is being sabotaged. Sabotaged as defined in the Random House dictionary “1. any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute. 2. any undermining of a cause.“
Fourth truth, the vast majority of our country’s citizens do not know enough about what America was suppose to be and founded as to be aware of the acts of sabotage that have occurred and are occurring.
Fifth truth, as I see it, the only way our country can be saved and restored to what it was founded as and meant to be is by revolution. Revolution as defined in the Random House dictionary “an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.”
The rest of our evening went well, actually it went terrific. We laughed with each other about stories, coincidences, and the grandpa who came in to order – and I quote, “a cup of coffee”. He got the typical blitz of questions and terms and when the girl was finished he looked at her and said, “Yeah, I want a cup of coffee.” Of course we were not laughing at him, we were laughing at the girl behind the counter who refused to understand and translate what he wanted into her language. She expected him, in his 70s at least to change his expectations and language at that moment. The guy at the cappuccino machine told her to “ring up a short coffee of the day” and he got the coffee and handed it to the gentleman who thanked him, paid him, and sat down next to us picking at the newspaper someone left on the table. He could be anyone’s grandpa or father and we each knew that and I think that is when we each recognized we (her and I) had a connection.
When I had chances I took them – just to look at her. To see – – her. As we talked and then later I get another chance, unobserved to see her, I began to see the real her. The beauty of her soul or spirit; I always get those two mixed up. I tried very hard to keep my feet out of my mouth or have coffee or anything else from dribbling out of my mouth. (Am I the only guy who worries about such things? Really – I have this whole list of things in my head that I keep check of: hands not too busy, not overly talking with my hands, nose clean, not spraying when talking, zipper zipped, hair without a cow-lick or worse, fingernails clean, where is my book bag, hands clean, focus on her eyes, notice her shoes and clothing, make sure no one is eavesdropping, don’t speak loudly, don’t mumble, don’t use non-words, and so on; but I digress…)
When it was time to call it an evening we got up and headed out. I offered to drive her home and she passed saying she would enjoy the quick walk. I looked at her not sure what to say and when I was about to say goodbye she said, “If you want you could walk me home.” I know for a brief couple seconds I had the deer in the headlight look on my face. I know it as sure as I know my name. “Sure” was all I could eek out of my mouth. I put my book bag in the trunk and made sure it was locked up tight and we proceeded to walk her home. The walk was pretty quick and we really didn’t speak much we just enjoyed the walk together. When we got to her place I stumbled and mumbled trying to say the perfect thing because this is one of “those” moments which is a test. “I had a great time tonight,” I said and shifted my weight to another foot.
“Me too” she said (she passed her test in my eyes).
“Would you like to get together another time soon for maybe dinner or coffee?”
“Yes to both questions. I work tomorrow till 6 so you could meet me here at 6:30.“
“Absolutely” I said and felt the need to flee before I made a mistake and ruined the evening.
“Okay, see you tomorrow” and she turned to walk away but then turned again toward me and gave me a peck on the cheek (The flee command was now aborted). I watched her walk up the steps and onto the porch and then we waved after she opened the door.
Settling down in our seats I got the wise idea to keep sipping my coffee thereby she would feel the need to start the conversation. Conniving? Not at all, actually I surprised I had such a thought in complete clearness and on-time. You know what I mean, AFTER you said something stupid you realize you just said something stupid. Example, “ah, when are you expecting? Is it your first?” These are two questions that a man should NEVER allow to leave his lips. Guilty? My hand is up – been there, done that. I was not trying to be a crushing instrument to one’s self-esteem. (I will never forget the look on her face.) See, now you know why me getting the “sipping idea” was such a break-through.
Ended up I did not need the sipping idea because we weren’t in our chairs thirty seconds when she looked over at me and said, “I love this song? You?”
I had not noticed it but I did not share that. I took another sip and this time tried to get my ears and mind to focus on the noise, I mean “music”. It sounded like something current. How do I know it was something current? Because I had never heard it before; current music fads were not something of interest to me. What came out of my mouth was, “Honestly, I have not heard it before. Is it new?” That question unleashed five minutes of information about what kind of music made Tess tick. She had to have named close to twenty bands and only one had I heard anything of – the Beatles. “What about you?” she said now putting me in the driver seat or better yet – you know the booth where the person sits waiting for someone to throw the ball and hit the target thereby dropping the chair sitter into the water? Chair sitter – me/ball – my answer.
“I like” (just be honest) “what some people consider classic rock as well as some of the 80s rock.” (Sip your coffee)
“Ok, so you like the Beatles then?” I nodded. “Would you name some of your favorite groups?”
“See, I really enjoy music and I think music can tell you a lot about a person.”
“Um” (Apparently coffee is just coffee; it is music that is not just music. What happened next I can only explain by saying I must really like Tess.) “Um, now I am intimidated,” I said with a bit of a chuckle. She laughed to which I guess that means I should be intimidated because she is analyzing my choices. “How about I show you my Zen and you can see the groups, because under all this pressure I am sure I will forget some groups that may impress you?” I took my Zen out of my pocket and handed it to her. (Gee that almost sounded like something TMI.)
She snatched it playfully (again with the innuendos) and scanned through the groups periodically saying things like “Oooh I love them”, “I have not heard anything by them” or “I have never heard of them”. I decided to play the analyzing game too by following up her audible clues with “what song, group are you referring to?”
Tess had never heard of groups like Thin Lizzy, Roger Waters, Triumph, or Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. CHA! She did exclaim “Freebird!” which made me laugh. I was surprised though because she seemed to have heard of a lot of my favorite groups’ names but just did not know the music. She passed the Zen back to me and said, “Ok my turn” (yet again with innuendos!).
This was horrifying because I was completely clueless. Most of the groups names sounded more like the title of a poem or short story. If it was not for the couple songs by the Beatles on her iPod I would not have known anything she was listening to. The whole time scanning I was “umming” and when I handed it back to her I said “Beatles!” She laughed. What was now going through my head was is there a huge age difference between us? I did not see how that was possible but I could not get my head around the huge disconnect on my part about the music end on my part (or her part – depending how you would look at it).
(You can calm yourself I know the adage that you never ask a woman how old she is.)
“So when did you graduate from high school?” is what I said. I know, I know.
She said, “2001, how about you?”
“1999 but it seems like so much longer. Did you graduate from around here?”
“Yes, Princeton – you?”
“Me too!” Finally I got a question right.
Let me get to the date. I will skip past the fretting, worry, stress, anxiety, and giddiness. What does that say about me – four negatives to one positive? Truth I guess.
I went to café and did not order anything. I found two squishy chairs where we could sit comfortably and plopped. What does that say about cafés – eighteen hard chairs to four squishy comfortable ones? They want customer turnover.
I sat and tried not to look anxious which always presents a problem. Fidgety and anxious, good companions like peanut butter and jelly and the vanilla filling with the chocolate cookies of an Oreo. What does that say about me – food descriptors? Or better yet, not thinking of the right word I wanted to use right there?
I did not have to wait long (thank God) after five minutes of fidgetiness she arrived. (Can you hear the angelic choir and feel the beam of light upon your face?) Instead of showing my keen awareness to her fashion sense and presence I will summarize it with one word; she looked – adorable. She saw me (waving like an Arnold Horseshack) and smiled and politely waved back. I put my jacket in my seat and my backpack in hers – should I do that the other way around?
“Did you order yet?
“No, I was waiting to place my order when you did. Um,” (brain don’t fail me now) “what are you going to have?” as we walked to the register.
“My favorite, Chai Tea Latte w/skim milk; you?”
“What can I get for you today?” said a caffeine hyped employee whose face was studded, pierced, tattooed, and dyed. I made the gentlemanly gesture of lady’s first and Tess told her what she wanted and then they both looked at me. Now this should have been the easiest question for me to answer this evening but my mind began analyzing my selection for faux pas.
Tall dark roast means – what? I like things strong? I think I will impress her with my strong coffee choice? She likes tea maybe I should order something tea? My eyes darting back and forth over the panels looking for tea – heck – even where her drink was listed. No, that will be like I am trying to imitate her so I should order the dark roast, but that is simple and she will think I am simple…
“Hey!” said another employee who is usually here when I order. “You in for your usual?” Sigh, “Yes” I said with relief, God had thrown me a life-line. The employee at the register looked at what he picked up and where he went and then rang in the tall dark roast. “That will be $4.50” I fumbled around inside my wallet trying to get my debit card.
“Here it is” I said as I handed it to the cashier; Tess had walked down to the end waiting for her drink. With the financial part of the transaction over I looked again at Tess and this time when I saw her my heart skipped a beat. She was standing watching the guy fix her drink and they were chatting, she of course had a smile on her face and once again Heaven’s light highlighted her presence for all to notice (or maybe just me). I was past anxious and past nervous, I was now in the panic zone. Just when I thought to myself what am I gonna do – she looked over at me and smiled and waved me over to her. I melted but at least I poured down the floor in her direction.
I laid in bed, my mind spinning, my eyes closed, and the world going on as it does not concerned in the least with me, my family, or peers. In my mind’s eye I kept seeing Tess which was not helping me go to sleep. My body as a whole was letting me know it needed to recharge if I expected to make it through tomorrow. [My ears/mind rings at night. No, actually it rings all the time but I am more aware of it at night when I lie down in bed for sleep. I think that is part of the reason why I sleep with a fan in the doorway. I am allowing the fans hum to drown out my ears ringing. But I digress…]
My mind decided this was the perfect time to replay each item of interest from the day. If it would do that while I slept at least I would get the sleep but my mind’s timing didn’t care.
“Well idiot how much coffee did you consume today?”
“More than usual.”
“That is an understatement. Let’s see if we can count the cups…”
“No, no, that is not necessary…”
“2 pots worth at IHOP…”
“Shut up! I need to sleep…”
“I am only processing because of the level of caffeine intake today – that is not my fault…”
“Ok, ok, I am sorry…”
“You should be – then you still had to stop for a venti size bold coffee at …”
“For the love of God please stop – I need sleep….”
“9:09 you filled up your mug at the break station…”
“I am not listening anymore, I need to sleep. Goodnight.”
“11:42 mug refill after your lunch…”
“What can I do? Peaceful thoughts, yeah, babbling brook…”
“I gotta go to the bathroom”
“Again, not my mind fault, how much did you drink today?”
So I got up, went to the bathroom and bypassed the bedroom and all of its noise and sat in the living room and turned on the television. I looked at the onscreen guide and found a NCIS repeat and turned it on. Now I had some friends in the room to outnumber my mind. (Why does boss always give Abbey a kiss on the cheek? Sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen or at least some probie will come in and now knowing how the team works report it to HR. You and I know you do not want to be involved with HR. But I digress…)
I watched and quietly sneaked off to sleep.
Sitting at a cast iron patio table, I placed my ice water on the napkin and lifted my bag up to lay it on the table as well. In front of me was a small pink envelope with my name neatly written on it. I picked it up and for the first time noticed that the contents were, well, firm. It didn’t want to bend but it was still very light. I summoned up the courage to open the envelope and while looking around to see if anyone was watching me I placed my fingers on the contents to slip them out.
Sitting at a place like a coffee shop or for the swanky – café – one can enjoy some interesting people watching. I must confess this is something I enjoy. Next to me was what appeared to be a mother and her adult daughter, very little of a generation gap seemed to exist among them. Both wearing jeans and patterned blouse, each with their cell phones sitting on the table in front of them. Both talking – not the typical parent-child dialogue, but [yes I eavesdrop too] about why each of them enjoyed the movie Ironman with Robert Downey Jr. But I digress…
Looking at the contents I saw a Starbucks card and a post it note. The card was for a complimentary tall brewed coffee and across the post-it note were the words:
Wed 6 p.m.?
I gulped, sweated, rubbed my eyes, looked around [for the camera], and nervously looked at the note again. Sigh, it was not an illusion. Okay, thinking, actually trying to think while screaming inside my head “Yeah!”; which of course makes it hard to think. Alright, think, yes – today is Tuesday. Oh my! So we meet tomorrow! I shifted in my seat again looking for the camera and now the TV show host to be approaching me – laughing. Nothing. Okay, okay, how do I say yes to her? Is it okay now to look her on Peoplefinder and show up at her door? Nah, maybe just being here tomorrow is supposed to be how I answer. That makes sense but I have to be sure. Epiphany! I got up quickly, jumped in my car and headed to the grocery store. I was fortunate to not get pulled over because I would have been a nervous babbling goof. I took a sheet of paper from pad in my pocket and wrote:
Not having envelopes I ran into the store and purchased a package of the small thank you cards and ran to the register. It was Lois and there was a couple people in front of me. She looked up, saw me, and smiled. I beamed back to her. I made use of the time in line, opening the package taking an envelope from the package, I wrote her name across the front and placed my note in side. Sealed it and was greeted by the words, “That was quick,” she smiled, “forget something?” I processed what she said and simply beamed back to her. She took my cash and I said, “Lois, would you?” Lois interrupted me with “Sure hon, I’ll make sure she gets it tomorrow morning or if she stops in tonight.” “Thanks” plus more beaming and I hurriedly fled the store.
Quarter after three in the afternoon, fifteen more minutes until I can leave work. My early morning activities have led me to this moment – crusty, nauseated, and heavy eyelids. I am not sure if it was the pancakes, the three pots of coffee consumed, my lunch of fried chicken tenders and French fries, or the Starbucks grande mocha frappuccino – but my insides were clearly unhappy with me and were debating just how much they were going to express their displeasure. Against my normal behavior I had decided to go directly to the grocery store and buy a few things thereby hopefully placing me in Tess’ checkout line.
I made it to the store in record time, walked in – scanning for her. I could not find her. Instead of panicking I grabbed a basket and picked up the three items I had determined to get. I did however make sure to pass each aisle and look for her. I traveled to the back aisle and walked it, insuring she was not standing stocking an end cap thus hidden. She wasn’t there (sigh). I went to the checkout area and one line was open, it was the woman I considered the “grandma” of the store; her name was Lois. She was what every kid wanted in a grandma; she was nice, called you sweetie, and had that warm and loving look that broadcasted to everyone near, that she indeed was a nice lady. When I walked up she greeted me by name and I said hi back. She looked a little different and that is when I noticed she had a different smile across her face and that she kept looking up at me as she scanned the items. I smiled back not sure what was what. She told me the total and put my three items in the bag. I gave her the cash and when she gave me the change she passed to me a small little envelope that had my name on it. She was almost giddy “Hon, Tess asked me to give this to you if you came in today.” “Uh, thanks” my heart sank.
I walked out of the store realizing which scenario was occurring – the “not interested note given by an innocent bystander”. No awkward words, looks – just cut and run. I could not open it. I debated what to do – go home or be somewhere out in public so as not to highlight the loneliness. It was beautiful outside so I decided to drive over to the plaza, grab a bottled water and sit outside among the people and pleasant weather and read my rejection note.