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Paris Narrative

Taken during my Eurotrip Summer, 2010.

August 16, 2010 Posted by | video | , , , | Leave a comment

What Happens When I Drink Coffee at Work?

I don’t drink coffee often.  I don’t drink it for fun, or for dessert, or because I get the shakes and a headache if I don’t.  I drink it for one reason: to stay awake and get energized.  I can count the number of times I’ve drank coffee this summer on two, or maybe one hand.

So, with the aforementioned preface in place, I found myself in the awkward position at work yesterday of feeling my eyelids droop, and my head slowly start to tilt backwards.  I assume it’s safe to say we’ve all been there at some point in time?

So, I get up, walk to the Keurig coffee machine, pick out a random packet from the eight boxes available, and start it up.

Returning to my desk, I take a sip, then another, then another.  Gradually, with sip after sip, I finish the cup.  Though I don’t drink coffee often, I do enjoy the aroma and taste.

A few minutes pass, and I become gradually aware of a strange, foreign feeling in my body.

Suddenly, I notice the God of Thunder demo (which is far faster paced than the regular version), by Kiss (courtesy of Derrick Pettelle), start pumping through my headphones.

All at once I can feel the power of the caffeine coursing through my veins and my heartbeat starting to race.  Checking to make sure no one is looking at me, I rock the air guitar along with Ace Frehley and stick out my tongue in imitation of Gene.  Rock on.

I don’t feel like I’m sitting at my desk in Lansing, Michigan anymore.  It feels like I’m racing a bright, cherry red Formula One Ferrari at the head of a pack through breakneck speeds in the Monaco, France race.

The office building suddenly begins to shake, and small pieces of wall in front of me start to peel away and fly past my head.  A particularly large chunk hits my monitor and bounces, smashing into the whiteboard behind me.  As I watch the deteriorating wall, I can see the oceanside on one side and the city buildings on the other through cracks and holes.  My keyboard starts to undergo a transformation, becoming a steering wheel with the black horse logo at the center.  My damaged monitor rolls down my desk and jumps onto my head, morphing into a red helmet with the Italian flag on the right side.  My office chair molds around me into the cockpit of the Formula One car.  The entire office quakes once more and then everything falls away, leaving me looking down the track of a real, live Formula One race.

Powerful engines whir and whine all around me.  Tires screech as cars scream around corners.  The scenes blur in my peripherals.  The smell of melting rubber, exhaust fumes, and sweat invade my nostrils, and the blanketing heat presses in on my suit.

My heart is in my throat, but I swallow and push it back down, grip the steering wheel with white knuckles, and jam the accelerator.

Right!  My head whips left and then to the right as I hit a successive right, then left turn.  Ted’s driving school never prepared me for this, but today I feel like a natural born racer.

Straightaway!  In my mirror I can see cars behind me fan out and start to creep up on my sides.  I glance back in front of me.

The finish line is up ahead!

The close second reaches my rear tire; I drift slightly left, then back to the right, edging him towards the wall.

500 feet!

A car on my left tries to make a break for the lead.

400 feet!

The car to my left reaches the center line of my car.  I can see the helmet of the driver and the reflection of the sun in his helmet shield.

300 feet!

I straighten the wheel and move back towards the center.  It’s no use attacking one and letting the other take the lead.

200 feet!

The car on the left noses forward ever so slightly.  The car on the right falls back.

100 feet!

If this were the Fast and the Furious, this would be the moment where I would hit the red nitrous button and secure the win, blue flames shooting from my tailpipe.

50 feet!

40 feet!

30 feet!

20 feet!

10 feet!!!

I drive a Ferrari; I don’t need nitrous.  I win the race by inches.  Cheers erupt into my helmet microphone.  I ease off the gas and raise my right fist in celebration.

My car presently sits, retired in the Ferrari store in Rome, Italy.

I don’t drink coffee often, but when I do, I prefer French Roast…

July 21, 2010 Posted by | writing | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Europe Memoire Excerpt – Paris

My first impression of Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport is intriguing, to say the least.

Soldiers dressed in camouflage fatigues stroll back and forth through the airport lobby in groups of threes, casually glancing from left, to center, to right, with nary an expression change from the blank poker face that easily disguises their true thoughts.  These men and women walk with machine guns at the ready, tips angled down, and I can’t help but imagine if this is so as to discourage accidental deaths in case someone’s index finger slips from its ‘at the ready’ poise and falls upon the trigger; I wonder whether these guns come equipped with safety switches.  I Sneak another glance and decide that they do not…

Later on, at the Eiffel Tower I pretended to snap a picture of my friend, zoomed past his head, and captured these guys; berets and guns do indeed make an intimidating combination when you’re two feet away.

Hopping onto a bus, I pay 12 Euros, we take off, merge onto the freeway, and I am Paris-bound.

Exhausted, I slouch back in my seat near the rear of the bus and gaze out the window.  The road is inhabited mostly by small cars, with the occasional small truck, all of which, I discover as I lean into the window and stare into the cabins of passing cars, are almost exclusively stick shifts.  There are also quite a few large busses, like the one I’m taking, whose mirrors remind me of antennae and make the busses themselves look like just like giant, wheeled caterpillars.  Motorcycles and scooters zoom and zip respectively between cars and busses, claiming the middle of the two freeway lanes as home.  I spot a blue 1970s style Ford Mustang going the opposite direction and smile.  I think back fondly on my years of owning two manual transmission Mustangs and my current possession: a Kawasaki motorcycle, and smile.  Paris looks to be just the place for me.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | writing | , , , | Leave a comment