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My five cents worth on injustice before my morning coffee

My five cents worth on injustice before my morning coffee

It was a cold and peaceful morning. My alarm went off and gently beckoned me, ‘Rise and shine sweetheart! It’s 7am! Time to get up, turn on the morning news and drink some coffee.’ Sadly, in real life I was actually up until 2am the night before pinning DIY Christmas projects on my Pinterest account.

It was a cold and peaceful morning. My alarm went off and gently beckoned me, ‘Rise and shine sweetheart! It’s 7am! Time to get up, turn on the morning news and drink some coffee.’

Sadly, in real life I was actually up until 2am the night before pinning DIY Christmas projects on my Pinterest account. Yes like any other human with just 5 hours sleep I rolled over and hit the snooze button a good 6 or 7 times, fully embracing those final 30 minutes of blissful ignorant slumber.

Suddenly the loud crushing noise of the garbage truck mashing up trash on my street jolted me awake in a panicked frenzy. “Aw crap!” I shouted out. “Everybody get up we slept in again!” That is when the shock and awe campaign of pure adrenaline started coursing through my veins and the morning rush was on.

I rolled out of bed and into some clothes that were laying next to me on the floor. After I managed to drag the kids out of bed I ran downstairs to check the clock. It was 7:45. “Fifteen minutes,” I shouted out to the rest of the house!

Quickly I whipped open the fridge and grabbed whatever leftovers closely resembled a healthy lunch. Just for good measure, I tossed a pickle in a sandwich baggie and called it a vegetable. Done!

I checked the clock again: 7:50. As I’m furiously smearing some makeup over my face I happened to glance over at the coffee pot. The sad and cold coffee pot literally looked like it was frowning at me in disapproval. He briefly came to life, reminding me of what might-have-been. ‘We could’ve had a romantic morning, you and I,’ he whispered to me. I reached out to him, ‘I know,’ I whispered back and hung my head in shame.

This moment was interrupted by, “Mom! I can’t find any socks!” Socks – the final obstacle to getting out the door on time. I threw the lunches into the backpacks, blew my coffee maker an imaginary good bye kiss and in record time find enough clean (non-matching) socks for everyone to get us through the day. Success! We were out the door with five minutes to spare.

Now everybody who loves their morning coffee knows these five critical minutes will make or break the day because if you can manage to squeeze in a coffee to the morning rush you’re winning at life.

We roll up to the local coffee shop and I took my victory stroll inside. At this point I was feeling pretty good. I had two socks on, my kids had vegetables in their lunch and I just so happened to find a toonie in my pocket to get my coffee.

I strutted up to the counter all proud and said, “I’ll take a large double double please.” I notice the girl behind the counter looked all grouchy. She’s a little goth; about 16 with a lot of black eyeliner and piercings on her face.

“That will be $1.95,” she growled at me as she bit her lip ring.

‘Hmph…what a sourpuss.’ I thought to myself. ‘Oh well. Must’ve gotten up on the wrong side of the bed’ I supposed. But I was feeling successful, you know? I figured I had enough pleasantry in my morning to spare so I made direct eye contact with her, smiled, and handed her my toonie.

She rudely slid my coffee across the counter toward me, looked in my eyes glaringly and muttered out, “Have a good one.”

‘Holaaay!’ I thought. And as I sheepishly reached out for my nickel back the little goth cashier looked right back at me and threw my nickel into her tip cup! I stood there for a moment flabbergasted as she stuck her nose up in the air like a little snot, looked past me to the next guy in line and sweetly said, “Can I help you?”

Now picture me, large double double in hand, standing there frozen, still reaching for my nickel with my mouth gaping wide open. ‘Wha–? Did she just take my nickel? She did. She just took my nickel!’

It was only a nickel but it was my nickel! I was instantly faced with making a decision: fight for my nickel back or just let it go.

As the moment sunk in I realized that I’d become victim to the morning coffee power play executed by this teenager with a bad attitude. It was now her nickel and I was the underdog. She had the power because she had all the coffee and all the people in line behind me wanted the coffee. Battle staged, battle lost.

Stunned I sort of stepped backwards and looked at the other people in line. I was pointing at the goth cashier as if to say, ‘Did anybody else see that?’ But all the people in line behind me just wanted me to get the heck out of the way so they could get their coffee and get back on the road. There was no justice! I stood there, helpless, while I was robbed of my hard earned (alright, hard-found) nickel change.

I turned around and walked out the door, mouth still gaping wide open, got back in the car and said to my husband, “You will not believe what just happened to me.”

As I retold the story I started getting angrier and angrier as a major sense of injustice started to try to shift my morning and steal my joy. See that nickel robbery activated the chip on my shoulder and I started ranting to my husband all the way to work about how, ‘What, don’t you have enough? First you steal my land and now you steal my nickel?!’

Yeah –  I actually said that out loud.  And about two seconds after it came out of my mouth my husband and I started laughing hysterically at how irate I was getting. Okay, it was only a nickel but still. It’s the principle right? Right?!

What can I say? The struggle is real. At least I got my morning coffee.

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow is Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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