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Caffeine and Eavesdropping This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I looked forward to spending my five dollars as efficiently as possible in order to get the coffee-fueled high I craved after three hours of sleep.

I reached Borders five minutes before happy hour ended and got myself a large hazelnut cafe latte (soon saturated with Splenda) at a discount price, and then later, a large iced coffee (also saturated with Splenda). I was not and am not truly awake, but any attempt to close my eyes and fall asleep ends with me doing some sort of exotic jig with an eye twitch here, a head jerk there, and some tingling sensation in my right leg.

However, if not for my caffeine-heightened sense of awareness, I perhaps would not have noticed some of the many things that made these last couple hours the most interesting of the day.

Somewhere between poring over books of successful essays and casting foreboding glances toward the giant book of SAT II practice tests that I will eventually bring myself to open, I found time to eavesdrop on a book club discussing, in hushed assertions, their various views of the world, and each member's belief that one surely trumped the rest.

The members were older but cosmopolitan-looking folk. One was dressed in an outfit that I would steal; her name was Kat. Another was wearing proper grandmother attire (not to stereotype grandmothers); her name was Dana. I didn't catch the name of the book, but apparently it had some controversial point about who has the ultimate control in life – or something too deep to handle.

Why is it so easy to figure out where people stand just by taking one look at them? I am no exception, I'm sure, but it's still surprising how simple it is to predict exactly how most people react to given situations based on appearance.

Dana was infuriated that Kat was egotistical enough to believe that her opinions about right and wrong superseded those of God's – not a specific deity's, she added, but those made clear in the recurring moral guidelines put forth by every religion. Kat, on the other hand, believed it egotistical of Dana to believe that she knew the inner machinations of God's mind. Jeffrey, a heavyset, upper-middle-aged man with graying hair and a formidable mustache, was an atheist and thought they were both utterly wrong and presumptuous, but eventually became silent and shot scathing glares.

Funny, I remember this same argument on bus rides freshman year. It's a bit discomforting to know that there are questions that will remain unanswered as I age, and will remain debatable forty-something years from now. I don't like discomforting things, so I stopped listening.

It was 8:11 when I had to use the restroom. I guess I was happy that nature told me I needed a break from the college application shenanigans. The creaky stall doors were made by a company that went by the name of Columbia. Dang.

(No joke – go see for yourself when you have to pee at Borders.)

I walked out only to find another reminder of my impending unknown fate. Some apathetic teenager had left a misplaced book standing on the foremost shelf. The subject was college majors. I looked away.

By the time I returned to my couch, the book club had departed. This left me nothing to creep upon, so I plugged in my dilapidated earphones and continued eye-gulping information that would be useful to me in the fall, while ignoring things that were more important at that moment, all with an Andrew Bird soundtrack to tie things together nicely.

“Carrying on with your conspiracies …”

I was in the middle of one of my favorites, “Effigy,” when my mother came to get me. Peeved that I had to pause it to gather my things and wrap up my iPod, I reluctantly got my stuff together.

“ … filling the room with a sense of unease.”

Borders was playing Bird's album “Noble Beast.” It was playing “Effigy.” It was within three seconds of being completely in sync with my iPod.

My heart literally fluttered.

I reveled in how low the chances of this happening were, only to be interrupted by my mother's obnoxious honking.

I suppose it wasn't that obnoxious since I had wandered outside and was dazedly staring at the car without realizing that it was in fact my car, the one that I was supposed to get into. Clearly, I had several more important things to muse over.

Of course, this fleeting bubble of harmony was poked sharply by my mother's shrill excitement that I had received an application from an unnamed prestigious university, which turned into a bitter argument about why I had no right to decide not to apply there. Whatever, of course I have the right. Hrrmph. (Seriously, do people even make that noise in real life? I totally would if I knew the proper way to execute such a sound.)

It turned into a squabble over my lack of responsibility and my misplacing of several coffee mugs (has anyone seen a navy-blue coffee mug lying around school?), but we eventually mutually surrendered. I became extremely conscious of the creeping silence, and my mind immediately set to filling it with lyrics of obscure songs.

“The decider says that I'm a fighter, but I can't feel my ---- legs …”

With time, the coffee began to wear off, and two hours later, I was back in the same computer chair that had taken on such a huge role this year.

And as my eyes slowly stopped jitterbugging, the coincidences were becoming less apparent.

It's amazing how comfortable this uncomfortably familiar chair is at a time like this.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 14 comments. Post your own now!

EyesWideShut This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 2:55 am

Randomness...and how awesome it is. :)

I'm in the same place right now, trying to decide college stuff, at the same time trying to figure out life itself...

Just by the by, were the book club discussing The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown? :P

 
abeatleschick94 said...
Dec. 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm

wonderful, i love the way you put random bits of info in like the bathroom doors in the boarders :)

love your name P.S.

 
lusis said...
Jul. 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm
I love the imagery you've created, coffee, book store, and those darn prep books. & I also like your use of parantheses here, and the insertion of lyrics between the paragraphs :D
 
laughter222 said...
Apr. 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm
I loved this and totally know and can feel what you're talking about with the coffee and the one desk chair that you seem to be living in.  Great Job!
 
Wellington This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 18, 2010 at 9:31 am
haha i love borders..and this story was great(:
 
BeatlesFreak This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm
Quite unfortunate that they went bankrupt.
 
--ramrams said...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm
Haha , beautiful & simultaneously hilarious ! It was beautiful , and made me feel refreshed . And y`know what ? I could use a coffee right about now , with a side of some evesdropping ! Haha , very nice . (:
 
lovelauren3 said...
Mar. 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm
So percise. I could picture this whole scene in my head. Good job! (:
 
thats right im cool said...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm
So, refreshing, loved it.
 
BeatlesFreak This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm
Thank you (:D)
 
notebookgirlThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm
loved your piece, also i think you say Hrrmph as hermmf in a grumbly way. try it some time and if people look at you funny im probably wrong
 
BeatlesFreak This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm
Haha, thanks for letting me know. I'll have to try that! (:D)
 
logo24 said...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm
I love this! It was so.... captivating, great work!
 
unearthlyhaphazard said...
Jul. 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm
Emotional, intense, and amazingly beautiful.
 
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