The best part of waking up… is Folgers¹ in your cup!
¹or something just a smidge more upscale… sorry, Folgers.
I’ll never truly be able to relate to all of you coffee/latte/etc. drinkers… I’ve only had coffee once in my life. I do admire the ritual surrounding it for many people – the morning paper, pastries, art in the foam of one’s latte. I have foam envy. Is that a thing? DON’T JUDGE ME!
One thing I do understand about coffee is its caffeine delivery mechanism. I live deep in Dunkin’ Donuts country, and let me tell you, what America really runs on is caffeine.
My preferred caffeine delivery method is iced tea – all day long, all year round. I’ll drink it unsweetened with lemon, but my heart belongs to Diet Snapple. Mr. Seeking Ambition knows this; he enables our trysts by buying it in bulk for me.
When I can’t get my hands on the larger gallon-sized jugs of Diet Snapple – which is quite often – I have to resort to the local convenience store (name withheld to protect the sweet, innocent lambies that work there). It’s staffed with mostly bright-eyed, eager-beaver teenagers and disenchanted yet friendly young men in their very early twenties. I’ll often grab five or six bottles at a time; it usually lasts me two or three days. (I said I really liked it! DON’T JUDGE ME!)
Because I am in so frequently, I have the familiar and comforting routine of a recognized patron. There is checkout counter banter; I get double-bagged without having to ask; they’ll set aside pallets of Diet Snapple for me (!).
One day, however, my husband got a hold of a bumper crop of gallon bottles at the grocery store and we stocked up. Life was good.
When the well ran dry several weeks later, I returned to my old stomping grounds. One of my favorite people was working; she had a sweet, expressive face and big, blue eyes behind tortoiseshell glasses. She smiled as soon as she saw me. “You’re back!”
“I am!” Is it weird that I kind of wanted to explain my absence?
“We’ve all been wondering where the Snapple Lady was!” She must have noticed the look on my face change, as she cocked her head and continued, “Not that we, like, talk about you or anything. But we noticed you haven’t been here in a while!”
I laughed, genuinely. “I am the Snapple Lady!”
As I drove away, my backseat filled with those bottles of sweet nectar, it hit me: I FELT OLD(ER). These children probably had no idea that there actually WAS (is?!) a Snapple Lady… which made the nickname they gave me 10 times more hilarious. And the guileless way with which she announced the information made her seem younger than her years.
I get way more “ma’am”s than I do “miss”es these days, but that doesn’t really bother me. Aging itself doesn’t bother me. But in that moment, I became keenly aware that time is indeed passing… good thing I drink a lot of caffeine to keep up.