Me: So I bought some bathroom tissue.
Her: Do we need any?
Me: Well, no. But they were on sale – 48 rolls for $23.
Her: You bought 48 rolls!?
Me: Well, actually it’s looks like I bought two orders, so 96. (thinking) I could cancel one order.
Me: I’ll cancel one order.
It’s not a bad trade – I get to smell nice all the time, she gets bulk commodities.
Told her recently about how, during grade school, there was always this huge garbage bag fulla pretzels during lunch.
These were big, soft, doughy kinds you get on the street corner except they were cold and soggy.
For $0.25, you could get one after lunch. Usually didn’t have a quarter to buy one but one kid named Scott always bought one. Realized one day that he bought it in lieu of lunch altogether.
I think this is the first time I told any one that. Figured my family didn’t have any scratch either so why rat him out?
In any case, recall that my mom gave me a quarter once so I bought one. It was wet, soggy and dense. But I loved it. I felt rich.
There’s this scene in one of my favourite books where a mother is asked why she pours a cuppa joe for her kid if her kid never drinks it.
The mom replies that they don’t have much of anything. But she can afford to give her kid one cup of cheap coffee to dump down the sink.
Said once that I have more clothes than anyone else I know.
Just got another custom made suit. When I put it on, I immediately remembered the pretzel and laughed. Felt silly. Then I gave my mom a call.
Funny how the mind works, yeah?
“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day wore on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but Mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know that you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.
Neeley and Francie loved coffee but seldom drank it. Today, as usual, Neeley let his coffee stand black and ate his condensed milk spread on bread. He sipped a little of the black coffee for the sake of formality. Mama poured out Francie’s coffee and put the milk in it even though she knew that the child wouldn’t drink it.
Francie loved the smell of coffee and the way it was hot. As she ate her bread and meat, she kept one hand curved about the cup enjoying its warmth. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink.
Mama had two sisters, Sissy and Evy, who came to the flat often. Every time they saw the coffee thrown away, they gave Mama a lecture about wasting things.
Mama explained: ‘Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it away rather than to drink it, all right. I think it’s good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be to have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging.’
This queer point of view satisfied Mama and pleased Francie. It was one of the links between the ground-down poor and the wasteful rich. The girl felt that even if she had less than anybody in Williamsburg, somehow she had more. She was richer because she had something to waste. She ate her sugar bun slowly, reluctant to have done with its sweet taste, while the coffee got ice-cold. Regally, she poured it down the sink drain feeling casually extravagant.”
Location: downtown in just a bit
Music: waiting At the counter For the man To pour the coffee
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