This story is not about my coffee habits but it does begin with them.
I don’t need to tell you that when you decide you need an iced coffee or you’ll die it’s not being dramatic or hyperbolic. It’s simply realistic. Last April 14th and yes I remember the exact date, I found myself in Midtown East in that shaky pre-death phase of an iced coffee deficiency.
When in unfamiliar Manhattan territory, you can typically count on at least one Starbucks per block and a good corner deli on every street. For whatever reason on this particular day, though, I apparently found the one deity-forsaken neighborhood in all of New York City without either. Kindly also note that I was in evil, evil shoes which means I couldn’t walk four steps without stopping to cry. I made exactly three attempts in what appeared to be decent spots for coffee:
Spot number one was a cupcake store. No one eats cupcakes without iced coffee so I figured this had to be my best bet, but the line was longer than my large intestine so I left.
Spot number two was a Turkish diner. I’d heard rumors of thick, delicious Turkish coffee and imagined it in the iced-version. I ordered and gladly paid the obscene amount of $5 because nothing is more expensive than desperation. What I was handed, however, was a paper cup of watery, lukewarm coffee that had one — count that, one — ice cube in it. I glared at the demonic woman who’d just ripped me off and dumped the coffee in the first trashcan I found outside. (Sorry! I know that’s wasteful but I was in no place to make responsible decisions!)
Spot number three was a juice bar where I was out the door as fast as I had entered. “We don’t serve coffee here,” they told me.
I walked with angry, defiant stomps back to spot number one — the cupcake place — but found solace in a chalk-drawn sun on its cutesy blackboard wall. The sun was wearing sunglasses (LOL!) and had a bubble exiting its mouth that said, “Cold-brewed iced coffee!” Sweeter words had never been scribbled.
I ordered the largest glass of iced heaven they had and my request was met with a cheery, “Two seconds!” But two seconds turned into ten minutes and I was then greeted with a very bored looking manager who more or less “apologized” that they had actually run out.
This is when I found out that I am actually Larry David trapped inside a 25-year-old woman’s body. (Traces of Elaine from his Seinfeld days embody me too.)
“SERIOUSLY?!” I shouted. I was indignant. Repulsed. Mouth agape and horrified. “How does NO ONE in MANHATTAN have ICED COFFEE? You just take coffee, and add ice! Coffee, and ice! SERIOUSLY? Seriously. RIDICULOUS.” Picture a flaming maniac waving her arms around like a nutcase in cool shoes with Medusa hair. That was me.
I couldn’t believe it. For the rest of the day I wouldn’t shut up about it. Everyone ignored me but that didn’t stop my rant. Had this actually been a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, I would have then gone to a party where the manager from earlier was co-hosting and I’d get into an actual fight with her, only to later find out that she was my wife Cheryl’s sister I never knew about, or something.
But this moment got me thinking about all of the other times that I have displayed Larry David tendencies, like when I told a stranger on a bus that he was sitting too close to me, or the time I told my mom she was needlepointing too loud. Whenever someone cancels plans with me I’m absolutely elated at the prospect of spending an evening alone, and once, someone ate a weird-smelling salad and I told them it smelled like vomit.
What I found most alarming were all of the times I didn’t act on my emotions and tell a stranger he or she was annoying me. The thoughts that go through my head on a daily basis (He has strange elbows. Her voice sounds like Kermit. I hate the way that person just crossed the street. I can’t trust my therapist because he listens to Bon Jovi) suddenly made me realize that I am not your typical curmudgeon but rather have diagnosed RLDS: Repressed Larry David Syndrome. And the problem with repression, per my red-faced eruption at the stupid cupcake store, is that eventually you will say everything that has ever been on your mind. Ever. And that is a frightening thought.
So if you ever run into me at a bar, or bakery, and I’m blustering about like a disgruntled middle-aged man or I tell you that I hate the way you breathe, please excuse me. Try to understand where I’m coming from, because curbing my own enthusiasm is even harder than trying to find an iced coffee in Midtown East.