[thirteen: i am joe - 2014.05.02]

What happened to that sweet guy
from the coffee shop?
Who are you, anyway?
And... what are you eating?

"Susan Parrish"
Meet Joe Black


now, i normally do not write anything when posting pictures.  that is because this is a photoblog and writing involves thinking and this is not a thinking place.

in fact, one of the lovely rejection letters i got from google said as much: we can't do that adsense stuff with you or your blog because there are not enough words in here.  when i was a kid, i remember complaining that books had too many words and not enough pictures; i never thought i'd see the day where someone would complain about having too many pictures and not enough words.  but then again, there are a lot of things i never thought i'd see, (like youtube videos of people popping other people's monster zits) so no surprises there, i suppose.


that rejection letter, along with all my other rejection letters from google, has been an ongoing thing for years now and is a story for another post.

the reason why i am making an exception and writing something for today's post is because today was different.  really, the story is all about how i got up at 5 am and somehow wound up with a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.

thursday night: my wife tells me she has an early morning meeting the next day, and so we summarily impose martial law and promptly stuff our son into his favorite pajamas despite his protests and better judgment.  we tuck ourselves in, out go the lights, and start counting sheep. 

yet, despite all sorts of pleas, stern glances, and threats; (and by the way, have you ever tried to threaten a toddler whose response to your raised voice is a crooked, toothy smile and a high-pitched squeal of sheer excitement? yeah, the threats end up having all the seriousness of a sudden giggle), despite all our tired and desperate entreatments, our son is wide awake and jumping on the bed like a monkey on speed.


after repeated failed attempts to get my son to sleep at a reasonable hour (read: before 12 midnight), he decides that finally, sweet, merciful jesus, he's done enough jumping about for the day.  so, he lies down and grabs his blankey and falls asleep. my wife has quietly passed out from exhaustion an hour prior and i, too, quickly follow suit. 

there is no justice nor any sense of fairness in the world, of course: the alarm blares harshly far too soon and we drag our miserable, sleep deprived selves out of bed, stealing envious glances at our son, who of course is blissfully asleep.

we pass the hour-long commute to work in bleary-eyed silence, with me reading and only half understanding the latest news on my phone and my wife nodding off in her seat.

sometime during the commute my wife mumbled semi-coherently, "i'm sleepy." 

"yes, it's a beautiful, morning.", i half agreed to an imagined cheerful observation.

"i'm going home early," sighed my wife.

"i'm not surprised," i nodded.

"i'm going to take a nap," she groaned. 

"absolutely. we should do this more often," clearly just playing this by rote and my addled brain picking the wrong canned response through the dim fog of what barely passes for consciousness. 

i learned today that sleep deprived people should not have a conversation.  clearly, stupor induced silence is a better option by far.

finally, somehow, we reached the interchange and my wife and i shambled our way to our respective offices with perfunctory goodbyes. lurching to the station's exit, i,  to my utter joy and disbelief, saw that there was no queue at this little coffee shop just outside the train station.


now, normally, this coffee shop would be teeming with people trying to get some breakfast to jump start their day, and the mere sight of the queue would be enough to discourage even the most intrepid patron, (except in singapore, where the sight of a long queue somehow has the opposite effect.)

today, however, was a different day: the coffee shop had just opened, with a mere handful of customers here and there, and no queue in sight.

oh joy.

oh happy day.

and i lurched a bit faster towards the coffee shop.

"good morning, peanut butter and black coffee please," i said, trying to sound equal parts cheerful and coherent.

"would you like some soft boiled eggs with that?"

"no, thank you, just peanut butter and coffee please," i replied slowly, trying not to forget the word for "black coffee" lest i end up ordering a glass of "sugared frothy dishwater, no milk", when i suddenly became aware of the queue slowly forming behind me.

there was a puff of smoke, a hiss, and the sound of a knife scratching freshly toasted bread, and the soft rustling sound of a gathering morning crowd. 

but i emerged unscathed: soon enough, i got my peanut butter and black coffee and i was out of that coffee shop in two minutes, an impossible feat had i arrived just a shade later than i did.

i got to my desk, and the sun golden and young, peeked through the windows; the office is otherwise silent and empty.  then i realise: wow!  today started out remarkably well.

there is always the quiet sense of pride that comes with being the first one in at the office.  the thought that hey, i'll get to work for a couple of hours without any interruption, was a welcome one as well.  for a while, i would have the universe to myself while the rest of the world slept and dreamt and snored. 

and finally, i knew that i have a delicious, hot cup of black coffee and a nice thick peanut butter toast, without having spent half my adult life in a queue.


indeed, life is good and the stars, in their proper places in the heavens, winked out slowly in anticipation of the coming dawn. 

we should do this more often.
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