Under The Influence

We are all influenced by the things we hear and see and do. There’s no avoiding it, but it definitely changes you, and that’s okay. I’ve been getting super into modal jazz, and I’ve noticed myself using 50’s slang that I’ve heard in the music. I think it’s a part of growth; you expand your horizons, and adapt the things you like. If they stick, they become part of who you are, if they don’t, they fade away.

I’m not really keyed into the whole “woke” thing, so if I’m guilty of cultural appropriation, my bad, but I’m just blindly struggling through life, so I’m not really thinking too much about it. I think that your influences make you who you are, or at least who you want to be.

I’ve got to give credit to all the people who’ve influenced me, my parents, my friends, and all of the musicians who have sent me on musical K-holes that have introduced me to the things I hold dearest. Without all of my stoner friends, I wouldn’t have gotten into rap, and I wouldn’t have delved into the samples for more music, and I would probably still be listening to Disturbed and punching walls and shit.

I’ve also got to give it up to weed and whiskey, that combo has made me a lot more open-minded and gotten me to try things I never would’ve dreamed of doing sober, like listening to talk radio, or eating a bird’s nest (not a real one, a one made of potatoes and veggies and shit.)

To wrap it up, try things, you might like them, or if you don’t, you might get a funny story out of it, so it’s a win-win.

My Last Day

Today’s the day. It’s finally here. I’ve thought about this moment so many times that whatever happens, I know it won’t live up to the fantasy I’ve created. I’ve decided that instead of doing all the usual unnecessary shit that I do throughout my work day, I’m going to take stock and think about what I’ll miss about this place, and what I look forward to never doing again.

What I’ll Miss:

1. Free Coffee.

2. The few nice Customers.

3. Getting out at 7 on Sunday’s.

4. Fucking with rude people.

5. Locking the doors on people after we close.

6. Listening to music on the store speakers.

7. Trying new flavor combos in my coffee.

8. Hashbrowns.

9. Customers leaving nice reviews on Yelp.

10. Customers leaving ridiculous reviews on Yelp.

11. Giving stressed-out people free coffee, because we’ve all been there.

12. Listening to Raj yell at people for unreasonable things, like using the bathroom he just cleaned.

13. Listening to Raj act super nice when his boss is around.

14. Scaring new Dunks employees with customer horror stories.

15. Listening to full albums at work.

16. Introducing customers to music.

What I Won’t Miss Even A Little:

1. That On-The-Go ringtone that never shuts up.

2. Getting yelled at by entitled morons who think this is an upscale restaurant.

3. People throwing money at me like I’m a bad stripper.

4. Customers complaining because the prices aren’t the same as they were in 1976.

5. Coming home covered in greasy fat and coffee stains.

6. Customers assuming I speak perfect Spanish because I work at Dunks.

7. People placing $50+ orders, and not tipping after.

8. Customers taking money out of my tip jar to avoid breaking a bill.

9. People snapping their fingers while I make their food because they think it’ll speed things up.

10. Blatant heroin users coughing on their money and handing it to me.

11. Drunk people asking if I can add liquor to their drinks.

12. Customers making up flavors and expecting me to know what they are.

13. Parents who bring their crying kid in, and leave them at the counter.

14. Getting 4am calls from the District Manager, asking where the TV remote is.

15. Getting calls at 4:15am from said manager after she finds the remote.

16. Getting called in at 8:30am for a 12pm shift.

17. Having to work 3am-8pm because someone didn’t show up.

18. Coffee “connoisseurs” who can apparently tell the difference between 17 creams and 18 creams in their small iced coffee.

19. People who want their coffee “extra extra light”, then complain that their coffee is too light.

20. Having customers talk on their phone at the counter when they should be ordering.

21. Getting called racist because I ask someone to repeat themselves after they order in another language.

22. Getting cold brew thrown at me because “It’s not cold enough!”

23. Customers getting angry that we don’t have Pumpkin Spice in July.

24. Customers getting offended when I ask if they want their coffee iced or hot.

25. Old people telling me that “Hey Yeah” is The Devil’s Music™️.

26. People who try and order food 45 minutes after the ovens are off.

27. Customers who order small coffees in extra-large cups because they think they’re beating the system.

28. Getting yelled at because I didn’t finish the work that someone else was supposed to do.

29. Getting asked 6 times in a row if the decaf coffee they ordered is actually decaf.

30. Customers who don’t understand what “regular” means, and get mad when they order a regular and it’s not what they wanted.

31. Being told I got a raise, and making the same amount of money every week.

32. Having to do my boss’s paperwork because she wants to go home early.

33. Customers paying for big orders with change.

34. When I greet customers at the counter, and they look at me like I’m offending them.

35. Confused customers who try and get me to pump their gas because they don’t understand how 2 stores can share a building.

36. Customers who get mad that their coffee is on the counter, and not wherever they want to wait for it.

37. Parents who point at me and tell their kids “This is what happens when you don’t go to college!”

38. Overly-complicated sandwich orders that make no sense

39. Having to fix at least one piece of equipment every shift, none of which is ever replaced.

40. Always being out of something that multiple customers want

41. Getting yelled at because we’re out of something a customer wants.

42. Being treated like I’m less than a person because I work at Dunks.

43. Having to pee outside like an animal because the bathroom doesn’t work.

Goodbye, and good riddance

Productivity is a Pain in the Ass

Why do we have to do things? Why can’t I just give in to that little devil on my shoulder that wants me to drink whiskey and watch re-runs of Parts Unknown all day?

Every day, I make a checklist of what I have to do. Usually, most of those things don’t get done right away.

I go days without achieving anything, but when I get things done, I Get. Things. Done. Maybe it’s the ADHD, maybe it’s because I like to be efficient, maybe it’s because I only get a certain amount of energy per week, like some sort of terrible solar battery. For example, for one of my English classes, I’d slacked off all semester because I was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed to go to class, and as a result, I had a semester’s worth of homework to do. I banged out over a dozen papers in day, and aced all of them. I wish I could do that for everything else in my life.

I’m sure there are numerous internal factors that are responsible for my lack of productivity lately; I haven’t been to the gym in awhile, I’ve been eating like shit, and I haven’t been sleeping that much, in addition to school and work responsibilities.

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out and crush it like I always do, but there has to be a limit to how far I can push myself before everything comes crashing down.

I think those bursts of energy can be stretched out and lengthened, so I’m going to try and figure out what brings them on, and try to do that more and more, until it’s just second-nature, and that lazy demon is banished, or exorcised, or whatever you do to demons.

The Great Molasses Disaster

In this installment of weird historical events, I’ll touch on The Great Molasses Disaster, one of my favorite wacky accidents, that devastated the North End of Boston. On January 15th, 1919, a storage container holding 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, flooding the streets at 35mph and killing 21 people.

Now, let’s unpack this a little. First of all, let’s picture what 2.3 million gallons of anything coming at you like a soccer mom in a carpool lane. Not great. Now picture molasses: it’s gross, it’s sticky, it’s heavy, and the more you try and fight it, the quicker it’ll take you under, like some sweet-smelling version of quicksand. Now imagine you’re on your way home from one of the many amazing restaurants in the North End when you hear something that sounds like a freight train roaring down the street, enveloping you in some sticky bullshit that slowly drowns you.

Why did this happen? Simple physics is to blame. New England weather is wild, we can go from 60 degrees and sunny, to -5 and snowy, in the same day. That’s what happened ln January 15th. The molasses was previously warmed to make it easier to transport, but when the newly-delivered molasses met the previously-delivered cold molasses, the difference in heat caused the molasses to expand and puncture the container. Thankfully, storage regulations changed, and now there aren’t any more industrial accidents*.

After all the damage was done, and the flood of molasses was cleaned up, over $9.18 million dollars (adjusted for inflation) in damage was done. Locals say that on a hot day, you can still smell the molasses. I’ve been to the North End in the summer, and I don’t buy it, unless molasses smells like the combination of great Italian food, garbage, and stale beer.

Dumbasses at Dunkin: Part Two

In today’s issue of Dumbasses at Dunkin, I’d like to share with you one of the interesting customers who makes my day a little less shitty, by being a piece of shit themselves.

First thing’s first, I should give a little context. Our bathroom’s been acting up lately, and since it’s the only one in the store, we’ve had some unhappy customers complain. Usually, they understand that the absence of a bathroom is not a big deal for the 5 minutes they spend in out store. Not this man.

This gentleman comes into the store, and immediately demands a bathroom. When I informed him of the bathroom situation, he became quite enraged, insisting that it is illegal to keep him from the out-of-order bathroom, ( spoiler alert: it’s not) and insisted I provide him access. Now, usually people understand that our bathroom is broken because they know how terribly the general public treats bathrooms they don’t have to clean, but this man was different.

After 5 minutes of trying to communicate to the gentleman that the only bathroom in the store was out of order, he exploded. He proceeded to go on a racially-charged rant about how the owner of the gas station was discriminating against him because he was Pakastani, which has probably happened before, so I tried to stay composed. After another round of arguement, the man told me that he would be calling the State House, and that we’d be shut down. Lovely.

He called them up, and I could slowly see his face fall as they presumably told him not only was this the wrong place to call, but that he didn’t have a case. As he hung up the phone, he turned to me and called me “Another one of those racist Brazilians” which is a fucking ridiculous sentance, since I’m about as white as you can be, and I don’t speak Portuguese. As Mr. Grumpypants left, he shouted that he would “Shut this place down, and sue the shit out of you! Just you wait!” Well, tick tock, I don’t have all day.

4 Types of Customers Nobody Likes

I get a wide variety of customers at work, most of them are decent enough people, or harmless. There are always outliers though, people like…

4. The Barely-Awake Stoner

Look, there’s nothing wrong with hitting the ol’ electric lettuce, but c’mon people, get it together before you venture out in public. Sometimes these customers are awesome, they’re usually open to suggestions, they’re funny most of the time, and you might get a big tip if you joke about how baked they look. You can tell you’re in for a bad time when you can smell the reefer before you see the customer, this usually means you’re in for 5 minutes of silence while they figure out where they are, and what they might want to eat. Further signs someone might be catastrophically cooked are when they have trouble relaying their order to you, or if they get distracted in the middle of their sentence and stop talking so they can think. Please smoke responsibly people.

3. The Soccer Mom

I don’t know how common these are everywhere else, but in my pasty-white slice of suburbia they run rampant. This sub-genre of white person is identified by their superior attitude, their cropped haircut, and their complete inability to control their children, who usually have ridiculous names like Braedyn or Jaedon. These woman are about 2 cups of coffee and a Xanax away from total meltdown, so they don’t have time for things like manners or complete sentences. Soccer Moms usually hate the taste of coffee, but rely on the caffeine, so they order drinks that are 95% sugary garbage and 5% coffee, and they expect you to know how much of each of the 7 ingredients to put in without telling you. Jesus help you if it’s even a little off, they’ll make you redo it 4 or 5 times until they think it’s right, even if you make it the same way each time. God forbid, they bring their kids in, forcing you to deal with whatever future asshole they’ve raised to talk down to retail workers. These people have never worked a service job on their lives, so they don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong.

2. The Conspiracy Nut

There are different stages of conspiracy nuts: the first layer is my favorite, they just vomit out whatever clickbait headline they just skimmed so you think they know what they’re talking about. The layer below that is where I start to get annoyed. These people are usually a couple crayons short of a box, and lack the awareness to realize that I’m not interested in listening to them talk about how Obama was a lizard person, or how the government is secretly giving us Lyme Disease to keep us from getting insurance. Every time one of these Alex Jones- level nuts come by, I pray for someone else to come along so I have an excuse to stop listening to them.

1. The Asshole

These are way too common. I don’t know what these people are like outside of the store, but it seems like the second they get into the store they evolve into some sort of enraged nuclear bomb. For the most part, these people are miserable people who get shat on in their own lives so much that they feel the need to make someone else’s day miserable. I deal with this type of customer every day, and I’ve noticed there are more of them than ever, which provides great material, but I’m getting tired of old people yelling at me because I can’t read their minds. Today, I got yelledat because apparently I didn’t get that “Black Coffee” means small iced with extra cream and sugar. I guess I’ve gotta work on that. I’ve found that laughing at these assholes works like a charm, as does being overly nice to them. Both approaches fry their circuits and leave then speechless, which is alway nice after 5 continuous mintues of verbal abuse.

An Ode to Dive Bars

I like going to bars, it’s a nice way to get out of the house, it’s a great way to meet people around you, and it’s also my favorite way to experience music. The problem with bars is that too many of them suck. Clubs? The music’s too loud, the people dress like douchebags, and the drinks are overpriced and take too long to get. Cocktail bars? Also overpriced, but with a pretentious twist. The best bar experiences I’ve had have been at dive bars, and I’ll give you 5 reasons that you should go to them more._______________________________________

1. The Diverse Crowd

One of my favorite things about dive bars is that you never know who you’ll be sitting next to. One day you’ll be talking about sports with an off-duty cop, the next you’ll be arguing about politics with a financial planner, and I think that’s awesome. There are few places that bring people of all backgrounds together, and I think that’s causing a lot of problems for our country, we need to be able to separate politics from personality, or things are only going to get worse._______________________________________

2. So Many Cool Events

I have a soft-spot for live music, it’s just so much better than listening through headphones or speakers. Local bands playing at dives give you a more personal experience than any other venue. More bands should play at dive bars, they’d probably get more loyal fans. In addition to live music, my local dive does trivia nights on Wednesdays, and it’s the only time the place is ever packed, but that’s what makes it fun. Trivia night is also a great way to bring people together, I love debating the answers with the people on my team, especially if the answer is something ridiculous that nobody could know._______________________________________

3. They’re Great Community Builders

Building off the events aspect: communities come together at dive bars, I’ve seen co-workers meet for drinks, I’ve seen businessmen plan deals and I’ve seen people get jobs based off conversations with the right people. Being an active member of the community feels good, it feels good to walk into your favorite bar and feel welcomed. My favorite bartender has my drink waiting for me with a smile every time I go, and that feels good too. The longer you go to dive bars, the more people you recognize, and the more people you get to know. Some of the funniest people I know are wizened old construction workers downing Pabst by the pitcher and trash-talking everyone in the bar._______________________________________

4. They’re Much Cheaper

This one’s obvious, dive bars are cheap. Cheap is better than expensive. For ten dollars, I can go to my local dive and leave with a buzz and 2 dollars. You can’t beat that bargain._______________________________________

5. The Relaxed Environment

My local dive bar has been the backdrop for so many important moments in my life, it’s where my friends and I hung out when we just turned 21, it’s where one of my friends goes for advice when he doesn’t know what to do, it’s where I go to read and sip beer at 5 o’clock on a Tuesday, and I don’t regret any of it. Dive bars make people feel welcome, and the world needs more physical places where people interact. The dive has exposed me to groups of people I’d never be able to meet elsewhere, and that needs to be preserved. Dive bars are slowly dying off, which is a damn shame, so if you ever want to go somewhere new or try something else, go to your local dive bar, you won’t regret it.

Dumbasses at Dunkin: Part One

So, it’s super rainy and slow today, so I’ve got some time on my hands, and I know how many people enjoy my Dunkin disasters, so I figured I’d write another one while still at work.

Right out of the gate, we lost power, which, in addition to killing my tunes, killed the walk-in and our Point of Sale system. Fantastic. I called my district manager, and she came in to see what she could do, because apparantly resetting the router didn’t work. When she arrived, she asked what I had done, as if I had somehow killed the power myself. She then proceeded to reset the router, and when that didn’t work, she called my manager and yelled at her. Apparently she should’ve predicted that we’d lose power. After the yelling was complete, the district manager decided the best course of action was to hit buttons until something changed. After around 20 minutes of this madness, she had run out of ideas, and left.

Now, I figured that this would be my excitement for the day, but I was wrong. So, if you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that my Dunkin is attached to a gas station, and this is the source of much confusion, as people apparently can’t figure out why a coffee shop doesn’t sell gas. After informing a group of people that I couldn’t pump their gas, I look outside and I see it; a man trying to light a cigarette while pumping gas. Usually, I would let nature take its course, but I really didn’t want to have to clean up after he met his fiery demise. Luckily, a large construction worker beat me to it, smacking the cigarette out of his mouth and asking him “The fuck’s wrong with you? You tryna blow us all up?” Well put, Construction Guy.

It’s around 2:30 now, and things are still slow. A customer comes in and asks for a bagel, no big deal, but after I give him said bagel, he remains at the counter. Apparently, he has an issue being given a bag for his bagel. After looking at him for a second, I ask why he’s got a problem. He responds with a rant about how we could be recycling the bags, and using the bags more than once. Now, I do my best to recycle and go green and all that, but I’m not about to reuse bags that have had food in them. After informing the gentleman of our food safety guidelines, he stares at me for a second, and laughs to himself like he can’t comprehend how someone could think he was wrong. As he walks out, the girl behind him barely contains a laugh, confirming that I’m not just an asshole.

I thought that my fun was over for the day, but I was wrong again. Our bathroom is a bit of a wildcard: some days it works,some days it doesn’t flush, and some days it pushes water up. Today was a “push water up” type of day. Usually, people are understanding when I tell them that the bathroom’s broken, but every once in a while, we have some issues. Today, I was accosted by a woman who apparently decided that the water leaking out from under the bathroom door was insufficient evidence that it was broken. She then demanded to use the “employee bathroom” because apparently we have one, which is news to me. After informing her that I have been using a spot behind the dumpster, she flew into a rage, and demanded that we give her access to the broken bathroom. Seeing as this woman looks like she doesn’t have the healthiest diet and would further agitate the plumbing, I directed her to my spot behind the dumpster. As she stormed out, the woman informed us she would be leaving us a bad review on Yelp.

Other than that, my day has been pretty quiet, the network is down, so my workload has been cut in half for the day, leaving me ample time to make fun of morons who can’t behave in public. Hopefully, I’m not here much longer, these people are starting to get to me.

Why Going to the Gym is Great

When you hear people say they want to get into shape, where do they always say they’ll go? The gym. Where do those people never end up going? The gym. They’re missing out.

I have a lot of pent-up energy thanks to my ADHD, so I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to manage that energy. The most efficient way I’ve found is hitting the gym. The gym is the best place for me to burn off that pent-up aggression and anger and turn it into something productive. My gym routine is simple: I start off with a nice stretch, just to knock the dust off and limber up a bit. This is to make sure that my body doesn’t break more than it’s supposed to. After I’m good to go, I get on the bike and do 20 minutes of rigorous cardio while making fun of my friends on Twitter and checking the news. After burning a couple hundred calories, and losing faith in humanity, I move to weights. My weights routine is pretty simple: the first day I start with the lowest weight that provided resistance, do a set of 25, take a 30 second rest, add 10 pounds, rinse and repeat until my body decides that I should stop. This probably isn’t the most efficient workout, but it works for me. By the second day, my body usually isn’t too pleased with me, so I go a different route, quantity over quality. I start with my usual stretches, but instead of punching my muscles in the face, I take it nice and slow. I start around 60-70lbs and do 5 or 6 sets of 30. After working on all the various muscle groups and jamming out to some angry music, I grab a protein shake and go home.

The gym is very important to me, it keeps me balanced, and I definitely need to be balanced. Whenever I miss a day, not only does my body feel like it’s missing something, my mind does too. Whenever I get irrationally angry and grumpy, I can tell that I either need to hit the gym or write to make all that bad voodoo go away. The most important part of my gym experience is the music I bring with me. Usually, I like to fill my playlist with music that motivates me to go a little further, or that pisses me off enough to push through the pain. Recently, I’ve been putting a lot of Bobby Shmurda, Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, and All That Remains on my gym playlist. These all help put me into the mindset that I can do anything, and that anything that gets in my way will be destroyed. It’s easy to run 5 miles when ScHoolboy Q is (allegedly) shooting up the block over a DJ Dahi beat that sounds like the soundtrack to a home invasion.

In summary, for those of you who like to skim through articles, GO TO THE GYM. You won’t regret it, and you’ll feel better about yourself, and your physical ability.

I Had a Cliche Fall Day

I don’t know about you, but living in a small orchard town in Massachusetts, fall is a pretty big deal. It starts in September, with the Instagram pictures of girls going apple picking and drinking pumpkin lattes and pumpkin beer while eating pumpkin muffins.This goes on until the 3rd week of September.

Next, you start seeing Tweets about how people “Can’t wait for spooky season!” This is when you know you’re in too deep. By this point, stores start putting out Thanksgiving decorations and begin to spray cinnamon inside to spark the whole “Fall” experience off. Now, if you haven’t read my posts before, you should know that I’m not really a festive person, and all the corny fall things make me angry. Or so I thought.

Image result for apple picking
Look at all that Vitamin C

The transition started off with a wimper; one of my friends has been wanting to go apple picking for weeks, and since I already went for my annual trip with my mother, my quota for apple picking excursions was filled, but I figured it’d be nice to get out of the house, so I told her I’d go. We’re driving past, and it’s a madhouse, (on a holiday, no surprise), so we decide to meet some more of our friends at a nearby winery. This brings me to Basic Fall Activity #2: Wine Tastings.

Now, I like wine, but I’m not a connoisseur, I don’t understand where people get flavors like “burnt toffee and citrus” I just taste white wine. With that in mind, I went into this wine tasting with low expectations. Boy, was I wrong. We get there, and for 10 dollars, not only do I get 5 glasses of wine to try, I also get a fancy wine glass. Things are starting to click with me. I get why people like this now.

Image result for wine tasting
It’s not alcoholism, it’s a hobby

5 glasses of wine later, I’m starting to enjoy myself. I start to look around the winery, and I notice it’s got an amazing view of the changing leaves. I spent way too much time looking at the leaves, I have a new appreciation for foliage, and for malbecs.

After buying a bottle, we leave the winery, while debating on what to do next. I have a sudden craving for apple cider donuts, and by this point all the families at the orchard should be gone, so we swing back over to the orchard for some hot and ready donuts. Upon arrival, I find that the donut prices have gone down, and that I can get 6 donuts for a lot less than the 3 I had originally planned on devouring. There’s nothing like a hot, sugary donut 5 seconds off the donut machine. After consuming 3 donuts in half the time it probably took to make them, I decided that I needed to walk around and burn off some of these calories, because that’s something I care about sometimes.

My fall stroll was a lot nicer than I expected; the air was cool, but not cold, and there was a slight breeze that kept the bugs off me. I should’ve taken pictures, maybe I’ll upload some next time I’m in the mood for a stroll, because the orchard provided a spectacular view of the changing leaves. I totally understand why boring New York people drive hours at a time to come see them, they really are cool.

It started to get dark out, so naturally I ended my stroll. Conveniently, the apple orchard is within walking distance of my house, so I mosey on home and make myself some dinner. About an hour after I finish eating, another one of my friends texts me “Do you wanna drink beer and chop down trees for a fire?” Usually, the answer to that question would be “Hell no, I’m not messing with a chainsaw after a day of drinking.” Not today. Said friend, knowing my penchant for hating Fall activities, followed up with “The Packers game is on”, knowing that I love to see Aaron Rogers lose.

When I get to my buddy’s house, and the first thing I see is a veritable graveyard of Bud Lite cans and Skol Wintergreen laying on the deck. Shocker. In the distance, a voice rang out: “Caleb, you lil’ tit-fucker, grab my ax, I’ll show you howta split wood like you’ve still got some fuckin’ balls!” Well, that’s not what I imagined I’d walk into, but I dig it. I sit back and watch my two redneck friends argue about woodcutting techniques while I sit back and sip a beer. This whole “fall” thing isn’t actually that bad after all.