Odds and Ends No. 62


Flu shot this morning was in and out.
I told her, “I made an appointment
for last week, but you guys ran out.”

“And we’re running out of the high
dose now; good on the low dose.
Which is your dominant arm?”

“My left. Completely so. The right
one just grew.” She didn’t laugh.
“Which dose will you give me?”

“High dose. Then we’ll go with the
right side,” she said as she stuck the
needle in my right shoulder. “You’re

all set. Have a great day.” “Thanks,
you, too.” I got in my car and looked
at the time. Time for coffee. I drove

a few buildings down from the
medical area to the shopping side of
the complex to one of my favorite

Starbucks. Why? They are cordial,
fast—and no drive-through. A small
but busy store. My turn. I ordered

a grande hot Carmel Macchiato and
paid with the app on my phone. All
five tables along the front window

were taken. I took a seat in one of
four chairs in a cluster at the far front
corner of the store next to the side

entrance. I could see the whole store
from here and both entrances. (That
old Vietnam habit still kicks in even

when I don’t think about it.) Tables
one and two: Oldsters on laptops. One
with Bluetooth in his ear. Table three

is a Joe College laptop. Table four has
an older couple. He is drinking hot;
she is drinking cold with a hard cover

book to her right. Her short pixie
hairdo is right out of Peter Pan. Nice
to see a husband and wife laughing,

talking, enjoying each other at any
age. I became aware of the store
music speakers. Bobby Darin singing

“Beyond the Sea.” I look around. I
think I’m the only one listening to
the musical background noise. Two

mature women chatting away at table
five get up and chat their way out the
side door. Dean Martin is singing

“Just in Time” from the Broadway
show comedy hit, “Bells are Ringing.”
Déjà vu. I heard this same song in

another Starbucks not too long ago.
But the show is ancient. I have the
soundtrack on vinyl. Here is some

more trivia. That song used to be
in my repertoire when I studied
acting in NYC ages ago. Part of me

wanted to get up and sing the rest
of it with Dino. The other part of
me had more sense. I took another

sip and stayed put. Isn’t it amazing?
You always remember the words
when someone else is singing them.

Store is getting crowed. About seven
more people in line. Only one high
table in the other corner with Jane

College and two laptops on that
little round table. Holy Smokes! The
Mills Brothers. Great harmony and

distinctive sound. Three of the four
counter stools are taken. To my far
left, two more Jane College on

laptops. Odd. Both blonds in pony
tails. Both dressed in black. And
best friends, no doubt. A noise.

An armored truck pulls up and stops
in the parking lot out front blocking
traffic. A uniformed gent dashes into

the store with a bag and goes behind
the counter and disappears. The
chairs next to me fill up. I think I

hear Nancy Wilson. Store is full. The
tables outside are starting to fill and
it is over one hundred degrees. The

truck is gone; I would normally see
him leave. Time for me to leave. Nice
break. Good coffee. I don’t know why

but sometimes I have to remind
myself that I’m not in Vietnam. It is
over. I smiled as I got up to leave

thinking to myself that I would
enjoy living in Vietnam if I could.
No Starbucks? I could do that. The

sights, smells, and sounds of Vietnam
flashed through my mind’s eye. Loved
Vietnam then; love Vietnam now.

I could do that. I got in the car and
pulled out into traffic leaving thoughts
of Vietnam at Starbucks. For now.

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