In search of a camouflage coffee cup



I own a camouflage coffee tumbler. I bought it several years ago when I was living in Tallahassee, Florida. I was in film school and had no reliable way to transport coffee from my apartment, down the creepy trail out back and to class, so I was in the market for a cheap, reliable tumbler that could also express my personality.

I found a camouflage one in the home goods aisle at Publix. It tickled my fancy because I found it so useless. Do hunters really think it necessary to have coffee cups camouflaged? Would a deer really be about to munch on some nuts or grass or twigs or whatever it is that deer eat but then perk up, the delightful aroma of roasted beans filling its nostrils, and scan the wilderness, its eyes locking onto a suspicious black mug with suspicious steam suspiciously wafting from its suspicious top, and then dash away?

Probably not.

It was ridiculous, but I supposed camouflage was more about selling you a lifestyle than anything actually prudent.

I bought the cup and was still using it on January first, two thousand and seventeen.

I had high hopes for the new year. I was three months into my new job and finally starting to figure things out. I didn’t have to work at Starbucks anymore, and I could afford the basic necessities that enabled me to be distinguished as a human being rather than one of our half simian ancestors: razors, shampoo, soap and groceries.

I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I firmly believe there is no time like the present to do what you want, to change your life. The only person stopping you from achieving that is you.

But I had also never worked a full time job that ate up most of my day and left me too tired to exercise or write or learn songs or trawl the internet looking for eligible women. These things were easy to do when I worked twenty hours a week. Working forty plus, however, made it quite a bit more difficult.

Resolutions happen when you aren’t happy with something in your life, usually a habit, and you want to fix it.

So I had decided to get back on the laptop and start writing again. It was a thrilling prospect.

So I sat at my desk, my camouflage cup steaming with turmeric tea beside me, and I wrote for about ten minutes, and then I didn’t know what to do next.

It wasn’t writer’s block. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. It was simply that the idea I was working on was so loose that I needed to give it a good back-of-the-mind think before I actually started putting keys to digital paper.

I decided to take a walk. I saw a graph one time that showed how much more active a brain is after a brisk stroll. The weather was perfect, fifty degrees and windy, but with a clear, blue sky and smogless air that promised a bright year indeed. It was also mid-afternoon, and the sun was beginning its descent. The sky was afire with beautiful colors. I walked outside and breathed in the chill. It was perfect.

I called my Mom. We chatted as I walked. I got home, invigorated and ready to tackle a new project. I grabbed my computer from my desk and went to the couch downstairs.

I realized I didn’t have my camouflage cup with me.

I checked my room.

There was no camouflage cup.

I checked the kitchen.

There was no camouflage cup.

Vanished.

I thought back and recalled that I had stopped at some point during my walk to take off my hood of or readjust my shoe. I remembered setting my cup down on a post, or a column, or maybe a low wall.

I also begrudgingly realized the humor in being unable to find a camouflage cup.

I must have left out in the neighborhood, cold and alone, waiting for me like an orphaned child in the quickly approaching Los Angeles night.

I had to go find it. I couldn’t get anything written, I couldn’t even scribble a single letter without my camouflage tumbler. It made it through film school, it survived the three-thousand-mile drive to California. It held beer and coffee and wine and tea and liquor and soda and just plain water. It’s seen it all, that weathered old cup, and it lived to tell the tale.

I rushed outside, grabbing only my keys, and power walked to the first street I walked down. My eyes were wide, taking in as much light as possible, trying desperately to spot my camouflaged, plastic friend.

The trouble with camouflaged cups resting on posts or low walls, I soon realized, was that they blended in perfectly with the local flora. I was taken aback with how difficult it was to differentiate a bushy outcropping from a possible camouflaged Tervis Tumbler. I had to walk up and inspect every bush to make sure I didn’t miss it.

My, what the neighbors must have thought as I rummaged through their shrubbery, cursing to myself and frowning.

I was feeling lightheaded too, but not in a bad way. It was more of a pleasant buzz from the antibiotics I was taking combined with the feeling of finally getting over my sinus infection. The shadows were long on the streets that afternoon, and there wasn’t another soul about. It felt like a dream, a terrible, beautiful nightmare in which I lost my favorite cup.

I turned down a new street and saw two people sitting on the roof of an old house. They looked like models and flashed perfect smiles at me as I passed. I waved. It reminded me of relaxing afternoons on Marco Island, drinking Jeff’s Mom’s rum punch and watching the world float by on white fishing boats.

The models seemed like they were the last two members of a formerly large New Years party, soaking up the last electric charges of two thousand and sixteen and looking forward to what was to come.

They soon lost interest in me, instead turning the unblemished visages toward the golden-pink evening horizon. I passed with no incident, stopping only at their mailbox to ensure I hadn’t left my cup on top of it.

Alas, it was as cupless as the day it was cobbled together, an inauspicious start to a new year.

A gaggle of school girls approached from further down the street. I could hear their shrieks and giggles from half a block away. I could tell from their demeanor that wouldn’t surrender even an inch of sidewalk, and so, as they drew near, I stepped aside into the grass.

The last time I did this I fell in a hole and sprained my ankle.

This time I just stepped in dog poop.

I judged from the consistency that it was old dog poop, which was a blessing, since I reckoned old dog poop would probably be less pungent than the fresh stuff.

I tried to scrape my shoe clean as I walked, causing me to have a bizarre, rocking gait as if I were auditioning to play the part of Igor in a Frankenstein reboot. I reached the end of the street, still relatively certain the poo remained, and I realized that I was done.

I had gone down all the streets I walked before.

My cup was on none of them.

Someone must have taken it or thrown it away.

I could see it now, a quaint family coming home from church to find a mysterious camouflaged Tervis Tumbler with something insidious and orange brewing inside of it. The terror they must have felt.

“How? What?” The Mother would ask.

“Don’t look at it, dear,” the Husband would say, shielding his families eyes as best he could, “It might be the work of ISIS.”

“Do you think?”

“Obama has left us defenseless, I’m afraid. Situations like strange coffee cups appearing on people’s posts are only going to become more common.”

“But what can we do?”

“We can be strong. For the children.”

“For the children.”

They probably called the bomb squad shortly thereafter, who disposed of it with a controlled detonation.

A shame. My cup deserved better.

There was one more street to my left. I was relatively certain I hadn’t walked it’s length earlier, but I would be remiss if I didn’t exhaust all of my options.

The cup wasn’t there, either, so I headed home.

A man walked a good dozen yards in front of me. He wore a dirty hat and was angrily talking on the phone.

He stopped and turned. I saw he had no phone.

Ah.

I kept my distance, walking slow enough that he gained a steady lead. He eventually stopped to talk at an older couple walking their dogs.

“But that’s the things about kids,” I heard him say as I passed. He sounded like Droopy from Looney Tunes. “The thing about kids is that they like anything you show them. Like Donald Trump.”

“The problem with Donald Trump,” the old man said, “is that he doesn’t mean anything he says, or that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

“But what’s the difference between him and now?”

“Him and now?” The old man asked. “I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Before now and now. What’s the difference?”

“The difference is that he’s the president, and he can make some very important decisions.”

“Kids like anything you show them,” Droopy agreed.

I left them to solve the world’s problems.

The walk home was cold. Perhaps this year wouldn’t be any different. Perhaps it’s promises were already disintegrating into lies. Perhaps I wouldn’t write more screenplays or finish two more novels. Perhaps I wouldn’t sell another story or monetize my finished book. Perhaps the new job wouldn’t last. Perhaps all my teeth would rot out.

I poop-shoed my way into the apartment and up the stairs.

My camouflage cup was on my desk.

Waiting for me.

I just hadn’t looked

I picked it up.

The tea was still warm.

Dear god, another one!


Well, dear and gentle readers, I must, first and foremost, apologize for not having posted anything in the past 3 or so months.  I was going to apologize for not having written anything, but as the most devout of you are surely aware, I am in a graduate screenwriting program, and have therefore written quite a few things, just not blog things.

I was doing pretty well with blog posts until we hit the production cycle last semester, which is when in a few short weeks every student directs his or her own movie, and also does every other film set position on other people’s movies.  It’s sort of like undercover bosses, except that all the people you may have pissed off while you were the boss know exactly who you are, and their turn is coming up soon.

The most exciting thing that happened to me during this whole period happened on the first day, when, in a dusty and dank warehouse, I dropped a $60,000 lens onto the cold, hard floor.  The concrete welcomed it greedily, and everyone else, the whole film crew and actors, watched it in slow motion as it tumbled from my clumsy paws.  There was really nothing I could do; my arms wouldn’t react fast enough.  It’s ironic, I thought, that the thing you are most often warned about not dropping is more often than not the thing that you drop.

And warned we had been.  Every class, every day, to hold the lens securely, and cradle it, much like one would baby Jesus, unless you were a Satanist or something, and make sure the party you are passing it too has secure hold of it before you release your grip.  This point was stressed again and again.

I honestly have no clue how I dropped it, I just sort of fumbled it.  One moment it was in my hands, and the next moment I was curly from the three stooges, clawing desperately at a 35mm lens that had seemed to have turned into a Mexican jumping bean, and refused to stay locked in my grasp.

As fate would have it, the trajectory at which I had launched my expensive missile led it to strike my friend Joel’s hip, and somehow, magically somehow, roll down his leg, like a wheel going down a hill, have a soft landing on his shoe, and then roll across the floor, where my friend John snatched it up before it could crash into a wall and shatter completely.

The room was dead silent.

“Gosh” was all I could manage to say.  The director nodded in agreement.  Gosh indeed.  As it turns out, the lens was somehow completely fine, a godsend, and I was merely charged a fee for having someone look at it, which I’m not entirely sure I ever actually got charged.

I was so warn out come winter break that writing was the farthest thing from my mind, and then, in Januare, I loaded up on an airplane and flew across the northern Atlantic to make my new home, at least for the next three months, in old London town.

It’s part of the writing program.  We get sent over here to work with British playwrights and other British people.  It’s supposed to help our writing, but it’s really been is an absolutely lovely way to write one’s first complete screen play, in a fabulous city, steeped in history and time, and rich in culture.

London, I’ve come to find, is nearly the antithesis of Tallahassee.  It feels safe where Tallahassee feel like there is death lurking around every corner.  It is clean, where Tallahassee is covered in litter.   It is classy, where as Tallahassee is full of bros.  Not that I don’t like Tallahassee.  Quite the contrary, it’s a fun place.  I just wouldn’t want to live there after I finished the program, but I wouldn’t mind living in London, even during the bitterly cold winter.

What’s gotten me back into blogging, you ask?  Well, the answer is twofold.  To put it simply, the first reason is that I’m supposed to be doing something else right now, yet another outline for my screenplay, but I’m meeting with my professor later to work out some kinks.  The kinks are only at the end, but it’s still an excellent excuse to not work on it.

The second reason is that the estimable Reverend Mother has nominated me for the Versatile blogger award, my third award if were counting, and we are, and I couldn’t bring myself to not write a lovely thank you.

So, thanks for the award.

Ok, so I’m reading this list of things I need to do in order to receive this award.  15 people.  I need to nominate 15 other people for the award…

1. http://seedofbilly.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/weekly-poem-2/#comment-51

2. http://stvaltheeccentric.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/still-writing/comment-page-1/#comment-12

3. http://vincentmars.com/

4. http://ahouseandagarden.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/oh-my-word-many-words/#comment-1472

5. http://narrellemharris.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/it-means-what-it-is/#comment-1727

6. http://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/five-sentence-fiction-challenge-empty/comment-page-1/#comment-6574

7. http://writenaked.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/5-ways-to-make-money-writing-as-you-travel/#comment-547

8. http://screenwrites.wordpress.com/

9. http://bonesmurphy.wordpress.com/

10. http://gameoverbooks.wordpress.com/

11. http://alyssalyssa.wordpress.com/

12. http://observingvessel.wordpress.com/

13. http://clareodea.wordpress.com/

14.http://markbirch33.wordpress.com/

15. http://kamikazehermit.wordpress.com/

Dear me that took a long time.  Now I have to write 7 facts about myself.

1. One time, upon leaving my house, I witnessed a possum eating another possum; on my very doorstep no less!  It’s one of those images you can’t ever unsee, and it haunts my dreams to this day.

2. I’m living in london right now.  The weathers been quite bad the past week, but it seems to be getting better.  I might even go to the farmer’s market!

3.I quite enjoy tea and coffee, but here in englan i’ve somehow been drinking more tea than coffee, I guess because it’s cheaper and easier.  It’ll be nice to get back to florida where coffee is a plentiful as fire ants and the rain.

4. I had never seen Tarentino’s from dusk till dawn until this weekend.  It’s quite good.  You should wach it.

5. I’m an aspiring screenwriter and I care more about sports than the academy awards.  Is that bad?

6. I fought a grizzly bear to the death one time.  With a knife.  I won’t say it was easy, but I’m still here.

7.I know how to sail a sailboat.

Cool, there we go! Thanks gain, http://lifeaswedontyetknowit.wordpress.com/ for the award!

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