Debbie From Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin'_Donuts_Coffee_BoostI live on Cape Cod when I’m not traveling for business, which is at least half the month. I grew up coming to the Cape in the summers. My mom was raised here as were sixteen prior generations of our family, so it’s in my DNA. I feel connected to the earth here – really more like sand I guess – and when I’m on the Cape I’m calm and grounded. That said, my social life is more in New York City, so I might go a few days where I put my hair in a pony tail instead of taking a shower. They really are the same thing you know. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, each day, I load myself into the car first thing in the morning and go to Dunkin Donuts where I get a medium black coffee. This ritual ensures I do get dressed to go outside, and besides, I do love their coffee. I go to the Drive Thru where Debbie (I asked her what her name was a few years ago and then related it to my friend Debbie from Chicago so I would remember) hands me my cup of coffee and calls me ‘hon.’ She is the only one I will tolerate ‘hon’ from become I am a feminist and we don’t allow people to call us hon. I guess I allow it because she always looks a bit pained, or tired, or both, and I like that I know her name and she might be the only person I speak to that day who can actually see me, so I give her a hon allowance.

This morning I went at 4:00 a.m. to get my coffee. Long story, not worth going into.

She was there and handed me the coffee and I said, “Debbie, are you here alone? Not sure that’s a good idea.”

“I’ve been here alone since 2:30.”

“Why? You don’t open until 4:00.”

“We open the Drive Thru at 3:00 and so I have to be here, but the baker is in the back now so I’m not alone.” And then, for the first time in three years, she smiled at me.

Driving home I thought about Debbie going to work at 2:30 in the morning and handing me my coffee along with scores of other people, who maybe don’t know her name.

Then, because this is the way my ADD mind works, I thought about Peter Matthiessen’s book, Men’s Lives. The opening line says, “And it’s men’s lives we eat for breakfast.” I have thought about that line a lot over the years. I’ve pondered the enormity of how many lives go into me living mine easy, and here is Debbie, whose life I am eating (or drinking) for breakfast. And, I am not sure I really take the time to appreciate that her life is not as easy as mine, and I need to try even harder to make hers a bit more pleasant.

That’s it. A simple message from before I’ve finished my coffee.

Lost Friendship

I always knew she believed those things that she never said. There were signs. There was a dinner party for twelve at my apartment with H2 (husband #2) in the mid eighties and AIDS was just becoming a topic of dinner party talk. The left wing international set around our table were all talking about the horror of it, and about the long-term possibility of the annihilation of those we love. You have to have

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The Opinion of Strangers

We are funny ducks, we human beings.

We play games, thinking we are fooling the world. But the world couldn’t care less, and doesn’t even notice the lengths we go to in order to appear the way we wish we were but aren’t.

Examples abound:

I love Maltesers—those malted milk balls from England that melt in your mouth (don’t judge me). My cousin Louise, who is British, loves them as much as I do. When

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Bernie Sanders Supporters

Much depends on Sanders’ supporters putting their big-boy pants on and throwing all that energy behind the fairly elected nominee, Hillary Clinton. If they do, and if a bridge can be made between their agenda and Hillary’s, then I think she can beat Trump in November.

I remember Hillary’s tears during the 2008 New Hampshire primary, when the sure win she thought she had began to slip away. Her fear came to pass, and the

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Considering Hillary

A note to women in their twenties and thirties.

Hillary. I am not a fan. Never have been. But truth be told, I don’t have to be a fan to vote for someone. I have to believe that they are capable of doing the job … and doing it better than the next ‘guy.’

I have spoken with a lot of young women in their late twenties and early thirties and they are not for

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Memorial Day Responsibility

I love my country’s holidays. Memorial Day. Fourth of July. Bob Hope’s Troop Specials in the late 60s. I love crying with pride and sadness over the sacrifices made by my fellow countrymen for the safety of our country’s citizens. I love reminding friends and family to vote on Election Day. I love the episode of The West Wing in which Crosby, Stills, and Nash sing My Country ‘Tis of Thee. I love my country.

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Saying What We Mean

I saw this picture on Lena Dunham’s Instagram recently. Her comment: “Thank you to the woman who taught me how to say both Thank You and Fuck You.” I copied it. Thought about it. A lot.

Here is the thing: I have spent much of my life saying both. At the same time. To the same person. When I should have just said “Fuck You.” Let’s take a look and see who’s with me.

“I’m

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Shonda Rhimes & My Sister

I have been reading Shonda Rhimes’ new book, Year of Yes. You know Shonda Rhimes, the creator and writer of the great Grey’s Anatomy. Great book. Game changing book. Merely one chapter into it, I realized that my sister Leslie is Shonda’s twin sister.

We moved a lot while I was growing up. Fifteen times by the time I was sixteen, or sixteen times by the time I was fifteen; who can remember? I was

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Reality T.V. Comes to Politics

Everyone’s talking about it. How did Trump defeat a lineup of seasoned politicians and emerge as the frontrunner, the close-to-certain presidential nominee for the Republican Party of the United States of America? Really? Seriously?

Pundits are saying that a disenfranchised group of Americans is receptive to Trump’s message, which seems to be that America isn’t great, but it will become great if we get rid of much of our nation including immigrants and

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The Donald, Facebook, and Producing the News

Santana or the Donald? We the people decide which we will have, not by our vote, but through our Facebook posts.

I have an old friend I haven’t seen in twenty years whom I follow on Facebook. Upper West Side of Manhattan guy who is passionate about right and wrong and politics, and those who have “friended” him on Facebook generally agree with his point of view—or if they do not, they do not challenge

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