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Mosquito

Are there moments for you, too, when you accidentally order hot coffee when what you meant to say was iced, but you only realize this exactly after the talkative barista has delivered, by hand, all that lava into the cardstock cylinder, all just a little too late? And you haven’t the heart to say “shoot, I meant iced” out loud, but you’ve certainly said it quite a few times since, in your head, as if it could freeze the cup before your first sip. And the credit card reader feels like doomsday.

And so you’ve accidentally just dissatisfied yourself in a wildly unique way, because your iced coffee was supposed to be a ‘to: me, from: me’ kind of treat, since you scratched a somewhat annoying ‘to-do’ off the proverbial list earlier in the day, and it felt like swatting a particularly obnoxious gnat out of thick air, doing that thing you had to do.

And then you must have a quick chat with yourself about gratitude, because this problem is mostly a non-problem, even though ice cubes would’ve really done the trick.

And do you also feel guilty for ignoring the beggars, knowing full well that you could help, but also cannot help in the way that would be of permanent good use? And ignoring them is likely the best you could do, yet in your head you think, rationally, “it is not my fault, it is not my fault” etc. as you pass them, feeling lucky for putting your headphones in just before you left the coffee shop, if only to save yourself a little bit of that guilt.

And yet, at the same time, you wish you could sit down and chat, and listen to their story. This fantasy occurs to you every single time you pass them on the street. But you must talk yourself out of it because “what if they never leave me alone? what if they don’t stop talking? what if they recognize me next week and need to talk again, or worse, what if they’re actually psychologically batshit, you know, the muttering and spitting type?” and so you just keep the music on and concentrate very hard on looking forward. You realize it’s very hard to not look at something that you’re telling yourself not to look at.

You arrive home and by now the coffee is lukewarm. You lament the $2.00 that you threw away, but remind yourself of ‘gratitude and the man with bugs in his teeth,’ all those conversations you had in your head just now on the bus. So you drink the coffee, begrudgingly. And the only way to redeem the hot vs. iced fiasco from earlier is to browse the web for bedsheets, since, again, you owe it to yourself. And so you buy bedsheets, knowing they aren’t what you wanted, but it feels correct to press ‘purchase.’

And the high of spending money is quickly eradicated by another gnat in the room, which is the paralysis of knowing you cannot afford to spend any more money. But it feels somewhat serene, later, checking your email and seeing an order confirmation for full-size argyle, thread count: a thousand. And you marvel at the technology of the world! You marvel at ‘order tracking’ and ‘write a review’ and the idea of a postman, an honest, hardworking postman, dressed head to toe in uniform, wearing a tragically endearing hat, delivering the sheets to your doorstep, with a smile, as the cogs of this system whir, humming, locked in place, spinning in your favor.

And slowly, this too, feels like hot vs. iced.

And so you sit in this chokehold of needing things that bring you more gnats.

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