For the past three weeks (though it seems far, far longer) I have been trying to give up coffee, for health reasons. I haven't managed to wean myself off completely, but I am down to one cup a day. One precious, life-giving cup. In some ways I'm really an ideal candidate for a coffee moratorium; I'm so fatigue-ridden, headache-prone, and short-tempered on a daily basis that it's difficult even for me to tell whether I'm actually suffering from caffeine withdrawal. But this morning I had no doubt that I needed my single cup of coffee, and soon.
I'd thrown away all the coffee and tea I had in my house, to avoid temptation; since I had to go out for coffee, I thought I might as well have breakfast while I was at it. I stopped in at my favorite local breakfast spot, and nearly moaned with pleasure when my cup was filled. My waitress was approximately two hundred years old; when she staggered over with my order, she asked, in a croaky rasp: "Need anything else, hon?"
I was halfway through the cup of coffee. I wanted more. Just this once. Just once. What harm would it do? "A little more coffee, please," I said.
I sat reading my book (Kick Me, by Paul Feig, which I highly recommend for anyone who had a miserable time in school) and nibbling on a piece of unbuttered toast with marmalade, waiting for the refill. My waitress was fussing around by the cash register, arranging menus, polishing silverware. Finally, she picked up the coffee pot and started to make the rounds. She walked by my table, glancing at my nearly-empty cup. And she deliberately passed me by. I realized that she must have misheard me, due perhaps to her advanced age, or to the emotional trembling of my caffeine-deprived voice. She must have thought I'd said I didn't want any more coffee.
I suppose I could have called her over and asked for a refill, but for some reason I have a strange horror of being misunderstood on small matters, and didn't want her to think I'd changed my mind. I also didn't want to explain that she hadn't heard me correctly. This kind of thing causes me undue consternation. I eked out my remaining quarter-cup with miserly care, and decided that Fate had pushed me to keep my resolution.