Rob Taylor " Diner napkins, long showers, Sunday drives: where all worthy dreams are born
November 25, 2008
Somebody missed the memo: the one explaining that by now, at the dawn of midlife, my imaginary coffee shop – called “Coffee Snobs,” “Cuppajos” or some other pithy revelation – should be what I call “the office.” That right now, I should be drinking the profits, getting my fiber from fruity scones, completely disinterested in the bottom line.
After all, I’m 39, retired, swimming in assets, too financially sound to trifle with stock market mood swings.
The coffee shop thing is just a hobby. Just for show, for ambiance, for gratifying the senses, for inspiring those wanting more from life than a cup of Folgers. The coffee shop is where I crank out best-selling novels between sips of latte, not because I need the income, but because it’s what I do. At least I would be doing it if somebody got my “someday memo.”
Instead, even my fortune cookies take swipes at me.
“Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later,” last week’s Chinese nugget mocked.
The problem with patience, with someday, with having a dream, is that it gets its oxygen somewhere between anguish and hope. There is no slow and steady when it comes to dreams, no virtuous tortoise to latch onto. Someday is all or nothing.
Jaded? Perhaps. Sour grapes? Maybe. Do I need therapy? Depends on who you ask.
No denying that someday has cast a witch-like hex on me.
It’s not that I expect someday to just fall in my lap. Unfortunately, my someday depends on convincing others – others with money – of undeveloped opportunities.
For example, brilliant idea number one: Jelly Belly bubble gum – mixing and matching itty-bitty gum like cupboard spices. One piece of chocolate, one banana, one strawberry and presto: banana split bubble gum. As a formality, I phoned the Jelly Belly Candy Company with the idea – mostly to iron out how to divvy up the profits.
My dream died in someone’s voice mailbox – someone who was probably golfing, someone who never returned my call, someone else who didn’t get the memo.
Friends were dumbstruck that my gum epiphany didn’t have legs. Me? I think my
friends are too nice – too June Cleaver, too Fred Rogers – to label “stupid” when it springs from my mouth. If only American Idol’s Simon Cowell and I were tight. Simon would give it to me straight, saying something like (paraphrases from actual quotes):
“Your pursuing a dream you’ll never, ever realize. You think you’re great. Think again.”
“My advice would be if you want to pursue a career in the (insert name of industry), don’t.”
I can only imagine Simon’s take on my other idea: the sunflower seed “patch” … basically a wristwatch salt lick. Brilliant, according to strung out seed addicts. Simon says: don’t quit your day job.
Though we tell our children differently, pursuing dreams is a dangerous sport. My someday is already a decade behind schedule. Maybe by 50 I’ll be on your bookshelf next to Grisham. Maybe not.
The philosopher in me wonders what happens when someday dies: When the dream is extinguished. When all that remains is one day at a time. When life is a big to-do list, and the day’s highlights are restricted to morning coffee and 30 minutes before bed.
I can’t go there. Not yet. I’m still holding onto someday by my fingernails, just like Walt Disney, George Lucas, Howard Hughes and the rest of the crazies. Lots of somebodys scored someday. That’s enough for me … knowing that it is possible. So bring on the someday incubators: diner napkins and ballpoint pens, the long showers and the Sunday drives … where all worthy hallucinations are born.
If it doesn’t work out, there’s always Plan B: the lottery. At least my weekly losing ticket doesn’t dish out Simon Cowell-inspired fortune cookie insults.
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