Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Things That Bother Jeanne Marie

(Published with the permission of the John Hughes Estate, January 16, 2006)

Jeanne Marie scowled at the teenagers outside the coffee shop. She wanted to rap her knuckles on the window and shake an angry fist at the girl and the three boys.  “They’ll just give me the finger,” she said softly. “If they want to rough up that girl, so be it. And if she lets them do it—well, that’s too damn bad for her.”

She took a test sip of her nonfat triple-vanilla almond latte. “Too fucking hot,” she whispered. “And the goddamn milk’s burned. Great. Three dollars for scorched milk and inauthentic syrup from Italy. What kind of fool am I?” She cast an exaggerated expression of dissatisfaction in the direction of the young, redheaded barista busily pulling shots and frothing milk. “Is it really necessary that you offer so much cleavage?” she wondered. “Are you here to make great coffee drinks or peddle your flawless, alabaster bosom?” She sighed. “God, I hate red hair.”

Jeanne Marie opened her big, yellow leather bag and took out her Lamy Safari pen and her Moleskine.  “I feel like a fucking court stenographer today,” she hissed. “All I do is chronicle the endless cavalcade of poor behavior, reckless nonsense, and utter silliness. My hand cramps, my eyes burn, my brain throbs, and my spirit weeps. Why me? Why do I have to be the canary in the coal mine of social collapse? And why when I pay three dollars for a subpar coffee drink must I brush someone else’s muffin crumbs off the table?”  She let out a disgusted sigh and opened her Moleskine.  “Like I don’t have anything better to do.”

In the little book, as she did every afternoon, Jeanne Marie listed the things that bothered her that day. In careful hand, she wrote:

Dogs that look like they’re smiling

The smell of the morning’s bacon after nine a.m.

Beach sand

Bentley convertibles

Dirty looks from women who wear crosses and plaid

Dirty looks from babies

Any dirty looks from anybody but the 60 Minutes team

Bowlegged men in cargo shorts and Adidas slides

Cargo shorts

Nose hair

Urine spots on the lawn

People who don’t deadhead their annuals

Suicidal airline pilots

Women who call each other “dude”

The Whole Foods cereal aisle


Santa Claus

The woman who was married to Nirvana

Women with big, fat, floppy, flabby, dimpled bottoms

Faith Hill’s teeth

Oprah Winfrey’s feet

Pumpkin stems

Dried spit in a sink

Chinese acrobats

Women with frogmouths

Colorado (every square inch)

Flip-flops on elderly people (should be called “Scrape-flops”)

Wrong numbers in Spanish

Mustaches with more gray on one side than on the other

Pregnant weather persons

Thick bologna


Leather-covered eating utensils

People named Brad: especially Pitt, Paisley, and Penny

Oversize muffins

Gum with fluid centers

People who return from foreign lands and talk about funny toilets

High-gas-price jokes

Baby-boomers with deep tans

People who are not as smart as their phones

Legacy journalists

Jeanne Marie capped her pen and snapped the elastic band on her Moleskine.  “The streetlights have come on,” she muttered. “The jackasses at the bank across the street are leaving work bundled up in their oh-so-cool ski jackets.”  She put her pen and Moleskine in her yellow bag and wrapped her nubby wool-and-silk scarf around her neck. She cast another aggrieved glance at the barista.  “Now I get to go home and make dinner for the fat, brain-dead horse’s ass I lost my virginity to. Good old Dan, the father of my ungrateful children.”

Jeanne Marie put on her down car coat.  “I should just leave my fucking empty cup on the table. Let Miss Dublin with the big boobs and the white blouse that, duh, leaves nothing to the imagination take care of it.”  She dropped her empty cup in the trash receptacle and looked again at the barista.  “Bone-dry cappuccino,” the barista said cheerily.  “I should have saved those muffin crumbs and thrown them at her,” Jeanne Marie growled.

The barista gave her a smile.  “You wouldn’t be smiling, sweetheart,” Jeanne Marie snarled to herself, “if you had a handful of crumbs between those big, sassy boobies of yours. That’s really annoying. I know. I was young once. I was cute and sexy and bold as brass. That changes. You wait. You’ll get yours.”

Jeanne Marie left the humid warmth of the coffee shop for the raw, dry cold of the dark street.  “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” she sang as she unlocked her car.  “When will the world get over the fucking Beatles?” she asked herself.  “How about never?” she answered.  “Just wait until the next one dies. Twenty-four hours of nonstop ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’ Stop! I can’t take it!”

No comments:

Post a Comment