Thursday, July 05, 2007


Three Tuesdays ago, I gave up coffee. Not forever...that would only make me rebel against myself. For now. For a day, or a week or a month or however long it would take to get me away from the Give-me-coffee-or-give-me-death relationship I was having with my body.

I'll admit it. The prime reason I went off the stuff is so that my metabolism can kick in to maximum effect. I know that a number of the diet mavens have skirted the issue of caffeine, timidly suggesting that their adherents would be best served by keeping caffeine to a minumum because to boldly state that coffee is utterly off-limits to people already deprived of normal food would make them homicidal. But I know the truth and the truth is that when people stop guzzling coffee, they lose weight.

Anyway, I don't think it is coffee or tea per se, but simply the way Americans consume everything in excess. Several Venti-sized hits of java will absolutely mess up your body's chemistry. And by Americans I mean myself. If I could only be like a European in my coffee consumption, I'd be effortlessly thin.

So, three Tuesdays ago I gave up coffee and yes, have been drinking green tea like it has the secret of eternal youth, which it may well have. But I felt like a taste of coffee last Thursday. And I didn't want to get into an arm wrestle with my yetzer hara (evil inclination). So I drove to the Dunkin Donuts next to Master Sang's Tae Kwon Do place, where Little Babe takes classes.

First, however, I popped into Master Sang's to explain that Little Babe was absent this week because of the hairline fracture on his big toe, which he got from sprinting around the exercise room after class the previous week. Master Sang bowed in greeting and looked truly contrite to hear of Little Babe's injury. This brought out my most nurturing Bungalow Babe instincts. Of course, it didn't hurt that Master Sang is the hottest Asian man in the world. And that there is the word "Master" at the beginning of his name, which is kind of fun to say and even more fun to think about...

...but where was I???

Oh, yes, so after leaving Master Sang, I trotted into Dunkin Donuts and guiltily placed an order for a small cappuccino with an extra shot. If I was going to backslide, I was going to do it in style. Not extra-large, but extra strong.

Because they were cleaning the machine, it would be a bit of a wait, I was told. How long, I asked, suspiciously. Oh, about 3-4 minutes. I rolled my eyes discreetly and smiled my amenability.

The 3-4 minutes I waited at the side of the Dunkin Donuts counter gave me just enough time to hear the customer to my right giving a hard-sell to the clerk about some new enterprise that would net him "eighty thousand dollar" the first year, probably double or triple that the next. With his Walmart-issue clothes, close-cropped hair and unsavory complexion, the man was hardly the picture of financial success. Everything about him screamed sleazeball. His accent caught in my ear and perplexed me. It sounded at first Eastern European, then Hispanic, then Balkan...and finally I placed it as Arabic.

Which made me pay infinitely closer attention to the man...and conclude that he was Muslim.

There are loads of Satmar Hasidim and townies and mainstream goyish types and a proud showing of Conservative and Reform Jews but I had never seen an Arab/Muslim in Monroe before. Yes, he could have been Christian or Druze or escaped Bedouin, but in the script that was unfolding in my mind he was absolutely Muslim.
Whatever he was, the guy was a no-goodnik. This much was obvious. To his credit, the young Mexican dude at the counter yeah-yeahed him good-naturedly while his made his oily sales pitch. The coffee was brought. Change was given. And then he sauntered out of Dunkin Donuts, across the parking lot and towards a....JEEP CHEROKEE?????

My heart started hammering like mad. OMG!! Was this Jeep about to be plowed into the Dunkin Donuts??? Or driven north along 87 towards Stewart Airport? Or taken south along 87 to La Guardia??

I admit that I got close enough to the window to see the license plates of the Jeep and memorized them. I was too embarrassed to write them down. But I have them in my mind in case I can help a future police investigation.

Am I insane? Paranoid? Racist? Retarded?

And I'll admit something more. I intend to stalk the Dunkin Donuts next to Master Sang's, on the lookout for this guy...or others like him.

And keep my eyes peeled for Jeep Cherokees driving along Rt 17.

As for my resolve...let it be said that after three or four sips of the cappuccino, I tossed the entire thing away. However, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I drank a delicious Lavazza cappucinno at the rest stop along 87 while driving out to the Hamptons on Friday and had several gulps of Gevalia coffee at the 1880 house on Saturday morning and had a triple-shot cap at the Organic cafe on Sunday morning, right off of Main Street in Westhampton.

If we are under imminent terrorist threat, then it's kind of pointless to give up coffee, right?

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