October 25, 2000


My horoscope this morning says: "Today you find a replacement for a no-show. Lukewarm at first, your enthusiasm grows when you realize the replacement is better than the real thing."

I'm reading this, mind you, as I sit here glaring at my *replacement* cup of stoopid, anemic, lukewarm tea.

Bleccccch. Ptooey. TEA.

It never fails. The one morning I forego that second cup of Cafe Doppio at home, aprés shower  --  figuring I will finish caffeinating myself once I get to the office  -- there is nothing but fudking decaf left in the Totem Pole Company freezer. My co-workers and I have been milling about the office all morning, in varying states of caffeine withdrawal/homicidal agitation, waiting for the Peet's delivery guy to get here.

(We damn-near lynched poor little Yiko when she came in a few minutes ago, innocently carrying her Starbucks almond latte.)

I'm sorry, but there is simply no way that my "enthusiasm" is ever going to "grow" here. Not about tea. I am never ever going to "realize that that the replacement is better than the real thing" when it comes to caffeine intake.  Tea  -- e ven my beloved Fast Lane tea, which I still love, and which I still drink on weekend afternoons, and which is still difficult to find here in the Bay Area (more difficult than big Fritos and Reese's Puff Cereal, put together)  -- is still a piss-poor substitute for coffee. It doesn't fire my synapses, the way coffee does. It doesn't stimulate my *energy molecules.*

It doesn't make me type 165 wpm at 98.5% accuracy.

So until I have a hot black steaming cup of the *real thing* sitting in front of me ... I'm going to barricade myself here inside my little Isolation Booth with the door locked, nervously pretending to file Staff Utilization Reports, watching out the window for the Peet's delivery truck ...

... and waiting for The (Coffee) Man.

Speaking of horoscopes (or "horriblescopes," as my Dad used to call them) ...

... one of my very most favorite readers at the moment writes an incredibly groovy astrology column for the Boston Phoenix. (If you've never been there: go now.)  I suspect that she's using *FootNotes* as research material ... but that's OK. She can use me. *I* am using her to fill up white space on my website today, so we're even.

Recently she told me it was a good time for me to look for a better job. She gave me a big bunch of reasons why -- this planet was in that astrological house, this moon was at softer angles to that fire sign, the quick brown fox was jumping over the lazy dog -- but the bottom line was simple:

Start faxing that résumé again, Secra.

But I screwed up. I got distracted by Diarist Awards and divorce decrees and assorted Tot-related crises, and the next thing I knew my precious window of escape had slammed shut. So I wrote to her the other day, hoping she might be able to tell me when the next window might be opening.

I wrote:

"Question #1: OK. I blew the end-of-September/ beginning-of-October prime astrological jobsearching opportunity, obviously. Basically: I'm stuck where I am until at least the end of the year. Holidays are looming large, and I have three teenagers all expecting Santa to bring them ELECTRONICS.  When is my next good window of opportunity to look for a better job? Do you know?"

This morning she wrote back:

" ... Start talking about it at the start of December so you have interviews set up by the start of February. Mars transits sadge from mid-Feb through April. All v. good stuff -- forces change. And see whether you don't feel more *motivated* when moon exits fire sign."

Well ... OK.

I'm a little unclear on how some of this works.

"Start talking about it at the start of December" ... ? Start talking about it to whom? To David? To an employment counselor? To my Dear Readers? And does this mean I start faxing that résumé again at the start of December, or that I just start TALKING about faxing that résumé again at the start of December? Does it mean that I have to wait until February to start interviewing? Does it mean that my next good window technically doesn't open until next spring?

(Does it mean I'm gonna get another fudking jar of spaghetti sauce for National SecraTerri's Day?)


I then went on to ask her about the other burning issue: "... When is David gonna propose, anyway?? That's Question #2."

She replied:

"A question that preoccupied everyone from Jane Austen to, well, Barbara Cartland I guess. Without knowing his b-day I wouldn't venture a guess, but people usually choose *dramatic* astrological intervals rather than placid ones for this kind of thing. The two proposals I said yes to happened when Mars was transiting Capricorn (squaring my libra sun, and cancer mars). I'd be curious about other data from other females. Right now, Mars is in finicky infertile Virgo, so it's a *planning* detail time, vs. action time -- unless one is a mutable sign...."

Uh-oh. That doesn't sound good.

We are in a *planning* detail time right now? As opposed to an *action time?*

In other words ... it isn't strictly necessary for me to start worrying right now about how I'm going to squeeze those extra 25 relationship pounds into a tasteful, knee-length, off-white wedding dress?

Sigh again.

Anyway. Go visit my pal at the Boston Phoenix. She's very very good at what she does.

Tell her Secra sent you. Tell her Secra says howdy.

(Also, tell her Secra says "his birthdate is 5-9-56.")

Jen buzzes me from the kitchen shortly after 11 a.m. "I'm brewing a pot of the real stuff," she whispers conspiratorially. "Thought I'd let you know first, before I make a general announcement."

(God. I love Jen. Jen has just been promoted from Aplets & Cotlets to slipper-socks on my Christmas-shopping list.)

Fifteen seconds later I am standing in the kitchen, shoving my World's Cutest Nephew Mug directly under the stream of Peet's French Roast dribbling aromatically from the brew basket. I'm not even going to wait for the first carafe to fill. In fact if I could just lay my head down on the burner, face up, and allow the coffee to drip directly into my open mouth -- without setting my hair on fire -- I would.

Fifteen seconds after that, all of my synapses are firing happily once again.

Now that I am safely and happily recaffeinated, I will admit that the Constant Comment this morning wasn't all that bad. Especially with four extra sugars and a buttload of Hazelnut Coffeemate added to it. It was sweet and hot, and it filled up a little bit of the empty place inside me, and it gave me something to wash down my banana with, and it gave me something to do while I waited for that first phone call of the morning. (Which -- as of lunchtime -- still hasn't happened. God, I'm loving AUSTRALIA right now.)

But tea is no *replacement* for the real thing. I'm sorry. It just isn't.

I don't care what my horriblescope says.

two years ago: my mongolian weekend

throw a rock