Posted by: bullyforme | August 27, 2010

Summer Reflections, K-cups, and Fanny Packs.

Welcome back, reader. (Literally, I think I have, like, one reader). (Hi Kelly). It’s been a short but fairly traumatic and eventful summer for me. I spent three months in the worst pain of my life with a herniated cervical disk, underwent surgery on my spinal cord, took three weeks off from work to recover and had to withdraw from Percocet. My Dad, my one and only, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and just had life-threatening surgery. His recovery is ongoing, (but ongoing well, thank God). My brother would have celebrated his 35th birthday this month. Instead, my family celebrated it for him, at Fenway Park, where the Sox took a 16-2 loss to the Jays. At least it didn’t rain. And please, I’m a professional – don’t try any of this at home.

The brighter highlights of my summer include my 24 year old son getting his high school diploma, after many years of putting it off, avoiding the structure of school, and most importantly, overcoming his fear of failure. I have rarely been as proud of either of my children as I was watching him in his stately maroon cap and gown, finally being handed proof of his bravery and grit. I’ve taken in a few games at Fenway (one of which was a Dodgers game…one word – Manny!). Sis and my niece came to visit & help out on the homefront. I haven’t seen them in a year, it was great to catch up. Oh yes, and I was out of work for three weeks recovering. This allowed me to finally find what it is I want to do with my life – retire. I LOVED being at home for three weeks, pain or no. I find myself counting days like a recovering alcoholic until I can retire. (Only 5,830 to go!)

All this aside, however, I’m focusing on K-cups and fanny packs. (I know, right?)

First off – K-cups. I return to work to find my beloved coffeepot has been replaced with this…Keurig thing. I’m not an idiot, I know what a “K-cup” is in the way a man may know about tampax. I’ve seen them, heard about them, I know what it is, but I’ve never had one, or had the desire to have one. So my coworker announces to me, “We got a Keurig.” I look at her blankly, and displaying her bounteous people skills, she rolls her eyes. She says, “Keurig” again as though she were a politically incorrect person using the word “retard.” Some would be intimidated by this but I know her, and surprisingly like her anyway. I ask, “What is a Keurig?” She tells me it’s a coffee machine and I instantly know what she means. I also instantly see one of my happy routines swept from under my feet. I’m told that we all purchase our own K-cups. I am now hostage to the Keurig machine because I can no longer just expect a nice if perhaps stale pot of coffee when I walk in the door to work and amazingly, on this first day back to work, I don’t have any K-cups. So this first day back to work, I’m fucked, no coffee, and say as much. She brightens and says, “We were given free samples, so you have four.” Well, there’s that. But what about this machine? In case there’s anyone out there in space, bored with Chuck Berry and hungry for some news from earth, a Keurig is a machine that brews a cup of coffee at a time. Literally, a cup – a little plastic, foil covered cup of coffee that you insert into the machine. Our machine is hooked directly to a water line, so all we have to do is place our coffee mugs under the dispenser, press a button and about 16 seconds later there is a cup of coffee. My office is enchanted by this machine. The coffee is so fresh. It’s so convenient. No one has to drink stale coffee. Coffee is not wasted by the half-potful. It makes the coffee purchasing more fair, no one is stuck being the sucker who always buys the coffee. It’s like the pay-as-you-throw town trash policy! I should be thrilled by this.

I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, or a negativist, but I am not thrilled by this. I find the daily collection of numerous used plastic K-cups in the trash disconcerting. It makes me think of the environment. It makes me dwell on America’s obssession with convenience. It makes me angry that Americans are so obssessed with single serving products that they will ignore all that extra packaging. It makes me think of the days before people became environmentally conscious – the days when people tossed their 8 ounce Coke bottles in the trash (or on the ground) and recycling was what your washing machine did halfway through the load. It annoys me that now, I must purchase these little land-fillers. I’m nonplussed that my co-workers, as well as millions of others, are so bothered by the three to five minute act of actually putting a filter in a coffee basket, dumping four tablespoons of coffee into it and actually waiting 3 minutes for the coffee to brew. I’m embarrassed for myself that it’s bothering me. All these emotions, just because my office changed our coffee routine without me. WTF! Well, anyway, I went to work the next day armed with a 24 pack sampler of Green Mountain K-cups and damned be the landfills, I guess. My sampler K-cup pack came with Breakfast Blend, Vermont Country Blend, French Roast, and also, some blend called “Black Magic” which I just discovered is kind of disgusting. Stupid Americans.

Now on to the fanny pack. All the time I had during my recovery from surgery was nice, but I’m a busy person, and all this enforced leisure (a doctor-ordered static state) was frankly driving me nuts. I started rearranging knick knacks, changing pillowcases on the couch, sorting my enormous book collection, writing “desert-island” lists (you know, what five books, foods, items of clothing would you take to a desert island). Then the doc said I could walk around and do some neck exercises so I made a vow to start walking the dog every day. The poor thing had been neglected through the hustle and worry and commotion of my family’s dual surgeries (Dad had to go to Lebanon, NH, a two hour drive away). The first day we started out, I had to change my pants beforehand as the pair I was in had no pockets. Now, I don’t like to go out for a walk without at least my phone or ID, and my keys. I also wanted to pop into the convenient store during our walk. However I didn’t want to bring my purse, and my backpack hurt the scar on my neck. What I needed was a fanny pack. Of course there isn’t a fanny pack in my house. Fanny packs are hard to find even at the Goodwill. You will be more apt to find a back-pack for your dog than you will find a fanny pack at any store. Fanny packs have somehow become an anathema. Ben Folds, one of my idols, even has a song degrading fanny pack wearers. If we do see a fanny pack in action, it’s always on a tourist in Old Orchard Beach or somewhere similar. You know, a woman who is wearing the kind of shorts that ride up between the insides of her chubby legs, with the plastic visor and the dirty kids. When did this happen, and why?

Fanny packs were invented for a reason, and they truly were a pretty good invention. They were convenient. You could stash your money, your lipgloss, your keys, a small camera, your ID, all close to your waist and have your hands free to walk your dog, take a jog, or whatnot. They fit more than a pocket, but less than a purse. You could have the things you need perched on your fanny (or belly, however your personal style may be) without having to cling to a bag over your shoulder, or being paranoid someone’s going to snatch your purse (fanny pack snatchers have always been decidedly rare, especially for belly wearers). Even men could wear them and no one would think, ha ha, that dude has a purse. It was just a common sense fanny pack. That dude is jogging and he has a fanny pack. Smart guy!

Well, all this convenience has definitely gone out of vogue. For whatever reasons, perhaps too many fat ladies at Splashtown, or the insidiousness of fashion magazines convincing stylish girls they canNOT be without their designer handbags, no girl or guy will now be caught dead in a fanny pack. I think another reason is that manufacturers got carried away. Fanny packs were EVERYWHERE, and at the height of their popularity (late 80s and early 90s) fashion wasn’t exactly subtle. I remember fanny packs with neon lightning bolts and bright pink zippers, theme park logos. I remember fanny packs going the route of cheap, dollar store umbrellas or corporate seminar PR items. They became ubiquitous and cheesy. It’s too bad they never achieved their potential as the useful and practical items they are. Instead of becoming dollar-store disposable, they could have been sold at finer department stores, with classy brushed bronzed buckles and zippers, in distressed leather, with an extra hidden pocket or two. But no…they were mass-produced as so many really unique products are, to the point of scorn. Now, the only people who own them are those who never throw anything away, and still have one or two nylon blue, black-belted fanny packs with some corporate logo on it.

As I walked my dog, pockets bulging and elastic waistband sliding down my butt with the weight of my keys, phone and wallet, I surely did wish for a fanny pack. I would have even used one that was neon green with a hot pink buckle or had “Six Flags New Jersey” imprinted on the front. I would have even worn it from my belly side. Come back, fanny pack, I miss you.

So there you have it, 1,726 words of which at least 1,000 are completely useless. But, I have been pretty stagnant lately, and it feels as good to let off some rant steam as it would to be able to walk my dog with a nice-looking fanny pack…or drink a nice cup of coffee.

That reminds me. I have five “Black Magic” K-cups, and if anyone is interested in trading for a doggy back-pack, holla.

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Responses

  1. OMG – too funny girl… I own a u-hem…. a fanny pack, though I am not allowed to say fanny in this country. It is considered a cuss word. So, I have a, um,,,, money belt? no,,, Butt Purse? I have no idea what it is called, but I do have one for running. Someday, I will find out what it is really called!

    What was humorous was me trying to explain to the sales girl what I was looking for without swearing… 😀

    As for the K-cup. They do have them here, however, coffee is a very different thing as people tend to have a barista (cute guy who makes coffee at a cafe) make their coffee each day from their favourite cafe. Sorry, for the spelling, I have had to learn how to spell using the Queen’s English. I also had to learn coffee lingo – Long Black, Flat White etc.

    It is expensive to go this route, so I investigated how I could make my own coffee at home and have found a really awesome stovetop espresso percolator. It is beautiful and it requires me to make my coffee the old fashioned way,,, But, I love it…

    Bully – I would resist the K-Cup assimilation if you can… I miss you all the way down here in OZ-land… Be Well!


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