Friday, January 25, 2008

Day twenty-four...Tea for two...

I was in Florence yesterday to see my therapist.

I stopped at the coffee shop that I wrote about on day 2; the place where I learned to slow down. The place were I began to notice my surroundings rather than barrel ass into them. It was as relaxing as I had expected. I ordered a pot of Earl Grey and a sandwich. This time though, I was focused enough to notice that it was Earl Grey 'Cream' tea. It was as wonderful as my first cup four weeks prior. But I had a bit more information about it since then. I had also developed some expectations as a result of our first encounter. Not to mention, I had told a bunch of people about how wonderful it was. Kind of like a second date with someone you are excited about. Someone new and refreshing. We've made plans to see each other after I get out of rehab. She's cool with the whole thing.

Never thought I'd fall for a girl named Earl.

But I did get a chance to see my name in the paper again. In the Towns/Regions section this time rather than inside the front page. Guess what? They screwed it up again. It seems even the brightest editors in the only newspaper in town (The Springfield Republican doesn't count. All they seem to write about are a bunch of crooked politicians and baby shakers.) couldn't get my story right. They even left out the 'Alex' portion which is fine. Frederick Johnson is enough, and many people who know me as Alex might not bat an eye. No, they got the punishment wrong. They said I had lost my license for 2 years when in actuality, I lost it for 45 days. I think they are doing this just to mess with me. Just when my guard is down and I have made it past the main checkpoint on my road out of hell, they throw a sucker-punch and make me lose my balance. But they didn't put in that it was a second offense. That is information that they feel is unimportant. And that is fine with me. That can be a matter that I will hopefully only have to bring up at the Registry on March 7 when my license suspension is over. I'll be sure to mention all of that mess in upcoming installments.

I finished my roast beef sandwich on 'peasant' bread which was sublime. Fresh roasted beef with horseradish mayo, baby spinach, tomatoes, red onions, roasted reds, chips and a pickle. Oh yes, and Earl. I almost forgot about her. She stuck around till I was ready to go. Unadorned with sweetener or dairy. She's not vegan or diabetic. She's just simple, and simple turns me on. Dark complexion, pleasant aroma, smooth flavor, and just the right amount of energy. Not a manic professional, but not a lazy hippie either. It was nice.

There's a lot of different kinds of tea out there. Some have pretty packaging and maybe an exotic font adorning the label. They want you to believe they are made in Indonesia, when they're really from Indiana. Don't get me wrong, I love Indiana, it's just a hell of a long way from Asia. Go Hoosiers! But, as I was alluding to, until you get them out of their protective pouch, you can't be sure of much. Only after you combine their distinct personality with yours, by carefully adding hot water into the correct vessel and letting it steep, will you know. After you learn to use patience instead of rushing for that first sip and getting burned, can you begin to understand if you're compatible. And even then, one refreshing encounter and they have to be off. But the good thing is that you know what to look for. You know what turns you on. And that is so hard to pinpoint when there's a million brands of tea out there. Yes, I've been talking about tea. Sort of.

But now I know Earl's full name, and she told me I could call her anytime. And I plan to. In two and a half weeks.

The Gazette could learn a lot from slowing down. Because they had the chance to correct their mistake from a month ago when we had our first encounter. Instead, they made another one. Our second date and they weren't listening. They couldn't even remember my full name. They went for the salacious and wrong rather than the mundane and correct.

I'm just glad I saved the money by reading it at the cafe.

Earl appreciated the tip more, anyway.


Anonymous said...

It used to be that newspapers like the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Newburyport Daily News (my local paper) were breeding grounds for journalists who cut their teeth and then went on to bigger and better. Now it's just filler syndication and any news that is local becomes a big, albeit incorrectly researched, story.

I moved here to be the director of a small town library and was forced to resign shortly after. It's a long, ugly story. Meanwhile, since nothing ever happens in Newbury, I was front page news not one, but several times. I would just be ready to take on the quest of finding a new job and be pushed back under by the wave of bad journalism. It's been months now and my name still comes up every time they report on the new search for a new director. I'm tired of this.

And so I understand your chagrin with the Gazette. When I was living out there, anytime a reporter from the Gazette interviewed me, I was misquoted or there was some other error. Every single time.

The best you can do is just go forward. The ones who know you and truly care about you have the real story. The ones who don't know you have no idea of who Frederick is and probably turned the page.

Take a deep breath and listen to some good music. Earl is a-waiting. It doesn't matter where she's come from; it matters where she takes you.


Anonymous said...

Alex, sorry I couldn't stay and chat.. I had to run to catch the bus.. but it was great to see you and I like that you've been keeping up the entries. Peace - Eddie

Anonymous said...

I'm so suggestible.

I dated MissE Grey for a long time, not exclusively, but it was a very important relationship for me. Then I met a dark beauty named Sumatra who rocked my world. I didn't need anybody else. Recently though, I've realized that she may not bring out the best in me. And I've been looking around.

It had been a few years since I'd seen Earl when you mentioned her here. Then, I ran into her at Trader Joe's last weekend and brought her home with me. It was good to see her, but she was wearing a lot more perfume than she used to. I'm thinking if I visit her at Stop & Shop, she might be more like I remember her.

Speaking of suggestible, I've decided, in solidarity, to give up the internet for two weeks starting tomorrow. I know what you're doing is much harder and I don't mean to minimize it. I'm just inspired that you are making positive changes. And there are changes I need to make, too.