Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Sep 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Just Add Water: Episode I

This is the first weekly installment of Just Add Water, which chronicles the weekly happenings of Apollo and friends at the Santa Cruz coffeehouse Wholly Beans!

greg7-6-2010
I was pondering my 29 years of existence on the planet as I leaned against the wall of the office building on Soquel Avenue, fresh off my first therapy appointment—ever! Five minutes ago, my therapist suggested I was suffering from a kind of Peter Pan Syndrome. I was tempted to storm out of his office, but I thought that would make me look, well, childish. Jusdt then, my pal Sally gleefully pulled up and stopped at the nearby curb. She was in her plum-colored convertible BMW.

They both looked chic and fabulous, something that suddenly made me feel even  more depressed.

Sally tilted her head and shot me a look over her over-sized yet totally styling Calvin Kleins. “Congratulations Apollo—you’re no longer a therapy virgin! Tell me all about it. Did you give good couch?”

“Very funny,” I moaned, slamming the car door shut behind me. “I don’t know why I ever let you talk me into seeing a Jungian therapist.”

Her foot became all too happy on the gas pedal and soon we were zipping down the street toward Downtown Santa Cruz.

“There’s a very good reason why you should consider therapy, darling?”


“Do tell.”

“For starters, you’re depressed.”

Well, she had me there.

“But," Sally went on, "in your own defense … who wouldn’t be? I mean, really—after the humiliating way you got axed from your newspaper job in the city; and now, with everything that’s happened to your Aunt Xena …”

I held up a hand. “Please. Don’t dig the knife deeper.”

She turned onto Center Street, toying with a few curly ringlets in her thick, long haird. “Aunt Xena …” she trailed off.

Yes. Aunt Xena. I hate to blame the woman for my current predicament, but when your closest living relative, an eccentric 82-year-old defunct Polish restaurant maven from Chicago, decides to suddenly slip into a coma, you can’t just let her pee in the bedpan all alone.

Or can you?

It didn’t matter, really. Not now, anyway. Xena was sleeping soundly at Domican Hospital. Meanwhile, I had to tend to the disaster she left behind. Before my dear, eclectic aunt found super subconscious bliss, she had just opened a hip, new coffeehouse dubbed Wholly Beans! in Downtown Santa Cruz. Left without a captain to steer the ship, I reluctantly stepped in as skipper. The fact that I knew nothing about managing a coffeehouse or hiring the right employees was just another pressing issue to bring back to the shrink. If I even go back.

Sally parked in the three-hour lot behind Wholly Beans! about the same time a meter maid cruised by on one of those motorized buggies. The woman driving the vehicle took out a long stick with a piece of chalk attached to the end and quickly marked one of Sally’s back tires. This didn’t sit well with my friend. She huffed, stormed out of the coup, and, removing a moist towelette from her Gucci purse, proceeded to wipe off the yellow mark on her precious Michellin.

“The nerve!” Sally spat, vigorously wiping away. “Who gave those people permission to touch my property?”

I couldn’t be bothered by another one of Sally’s dramas. I had to get back to Wholly Beans! But neither of us made it 10 feet before we heard the meter maid’s buggy screech to a halt ahead of us. Amid of flurry of orange flashing lights, Sally was soon deep into a heated argument with the woman toting the stick of chalk who, seemingly intent on bringing Sally down for wiping off the chalk mark, proceeded to give my gal pal a ticket.

Sally immediately swiped it from her hand and tore it up right on the spot, faster than she could say, “double, nonfat, decaff, mocha chai light with extra whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles."

The meter maid climbed back into her buggy and stormed off.

“I’m going to sue,” Sally later told the crowd at the L-shaped coffeebar in Wholly Beans! “Those meter maids are defacing my personal possessions—and with a horrible shade of canary yellow! It’s like somebody taking spray-paint to my Vickie S push-up bra. Talk about boundary issues!”

Sally … she’s no stranger to melodrama. It wasn’t that long ago that her much younger Silicon Valley tech geek of a hubby bit the dust in a freakish surf accident. The town immortalized the man. But deep down, I never thought Sally recovered. Ever since, she’s taken to traveling to far away lands in between consulting gigs. Meanwhile, she still keeps her cozy mansion-like digs in the Aptos Hills. That was actually how we first met, nearly four years ago—I had been doing an interior design story for a luxury home magazine; a side gig from my regular TV column writing duties at the San Francisco Examiner.

I love Sally. But today, I could use a break. I’m still processing the fact that my therapist, Dr. Waverly, called me a Puer Aternus—a modern-day Peter Pan and all that.

I pulled back my shoulder-length blonde hair and quickly tied it into a knot. Just then, one of my employees, Peter, a young twentysomething with a buzz cut and protruding bicerps, slid Sally’s mocha chair across the bar and chatted the woman up, further fueling what was becoming a major project du jour: suing the meter maids.

“Sally,” I chimed in, wiping the countertop nearby. “This isn’t like Chicago. It’s Santa Cruz. You cannot sue a meter maid for chalking your tires!”

She shot me a look. “Watch me.” She leaned over the counter. “You may be new to this little hamlet, Apollo—and God knows, until you get some real therapy under your belt, you’ll be insufferable—but one thing you will learn, darling, is that we Santa Cruzans—both young and old—can be the most persistent souls on the planet.”

I was already walking away. “Whatever. I just want to know why I keep smelling patchouli everywhere I go.”

“Oh yeah …?” Sally shouted after me. “Well ... welcome to Santa Cruz, buddy!



Grab refills of Just Add Water next week.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.