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Someday You'll Thank Me: Thanks a Latte


By Mary Zahran

How many times has this happened to you? You pull into a parking space at the grocery store, hoping to dash inside and buy the five things you keep
repeating to yourself so you don’t forget them. You open the door, put your left foot on the asphalt and immediately discover that your shoe is glued to the ground.

You slowly look down and to the left, already suspecting the cause for the predicament you find yourself in. Sure enough, some inconsiderate $#*&# decided just before driving off that the only logical place to dispose of a partially consumed extra-large mocha latte with double whipped cream was the very spot where every subsequent driver would have to put his or her feet in order to get out of the car. In all fairness to the latte artist, let us consider some of the reasons why someone would dispose of a gigantic quantity of a sticky liquid in a location guaranteed to ruin the shoes – not to mention the day – of anyone unlucky enough to step in that spot.

Perhaps this person is a professional athlete, balletic superstar, or Marvel Comics character who can defy gravity and assumes everyone else can as well.

Sadly, the world isn’t filled with people who can leap gazelle-like into the air in the style of Michael Jordan or Mikhail Baryshnikov. We also can’t channel our inner Spider-Man or Spider-Woman to climb on top of our vehicles and swoop from car to car until we sail into the grocery store. Most of us are earth-bound creatures who, when faced with the choice of jumping gracefully over a large sticky latte puddle or clumsily tip-toeing through it, choose the latter.

Perhaps this person is acting on a humanitarian impulse to leave something behind that makes the world a better place for others. Maybe the decision to create an oversized gooey obstacle course ought to be interpreted as a well-intentioned physical or psychological challenge for the next person who parks there. Instead of thinking of this person as a weasel, think of him or her as an altruistic soul, a Zen master trying to share a bit of wisdom with the unenlightened masses.

Maybe someone like me – a somewhat overweight woman of a certain age – will look at this disgusting bit of asphalt, summon her inner Ninja warrior and nimbly navigate her way to the outdoor cart return area where a crowd of shoppers, dazzled by her newly discovered athletic prowess, has gathered to hail the conquering heroine.

Having now achieved the grocery store parking lot equivalent of scaling Mount Everest, I firmly believe I can do anything. Perhaps I will become a marathon runner, a rock climber, or a race car driver. The possibilities are endless.

And to think I owe this new chapter of my life to this thoughtful person who inspired me to greater heights with a selfless act.

Then again, maybe this “thoughtful person” who dumped out a latte is neither Mikhail Baryshnikov nor the Dalai Lama. Maybe this person really is an inconsiderate $#*&# who doesn’t give a rat’s behind about anyone else.

If that’s the case – and it probably is – my hope is that, as our latte artist travels down the road of life, that road is paved exclusively with gallons and gallons of mocha lattes with double whipped cream.

I hope every day is a blistering hot, humid summer day that makes the asphalt that much stickier and that much harder to walk on. I hope this pilgrimage also includes the companionship of a million angry and persistent flies who have fallen in love with our traveler’s sweaty, sweet-smelling body.

My final wish is that, while making this journey, our latte artist is wearing his or her all-time favorite shoes and finds out later when trying to order another pair that the manufacturer has stopped making them.

Mary Zahran, who has never leaped or swooped once in her entire life and doesn’t plan to start now, can be reached at maryzahran@gmail.com.