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April 19, 2018

What that chip means

Everything about the world that I didn’t learn from reading I know about from the stretch of city block below our front windows which are usually open in the summer. Every few months, a couple breaks up while sitting on our garden wall, and other couples break up elsewhere but not before fighting on our curb in the middle of the night. I’ve learned so much from snippets of conversation from people passing by, from people riding by on their bikes screaming at someone on the phone, and from the disproportionate number of individuals who stand outside rapping, beat-boxing or singing acapella. We still wonder about the person who once breezed past on his skateboard while demanding of someone on the phone this curious question, “Who goes deep inside you?” Who indeed?

I don’t get out much. And can you blame me? I’ve got British crime dramas on Netflix, and plenty of books, and venturing outside would only mean engaging with all the weirdos outside my door. Next year I’m turning forty, I work from home, and I’m pretty ensconced in my bubble. I like my bubble. But the price of my bubble is that whenever I go outside of it, I’m tremendously uncomfortable. It is most likely that I’ve been more socially awkward in my life than I am right now, but I’ve never been so aware of it. It’s like walking around with a sign on my back, but I’m not wise enough to decipher it—so I imagine every possibility.

The other week I spent the afternoon in a coffee shop while waiting to pick up my daughter, and while the place had a certain charm and also wifi, it was kind of shitty. But crowded, so the only place available to sit was at this counter at a window where the sun was too bright even though it was overcast. Two hours on a stool made my back hurt, because I am old, and there was no place to rest my feet because the part of the wall that was under the counter was a part of the wall that was nearly falling off the wall. But the tea was good, and there was baked goods. I had work to do, so I sat at my laptop, feet dangling, and listened to curious conversations from young Bohemians, like about whether it was a good idea to apply for a job at Soulpepper (“because of all the drama” [ha ha, but it wasn’t a joke]); about “Savoury Scone Lady” who comes and clears them out of the cheddar thyme scones on most mornings and refuses to make a special order so that they never have any left for the rest of the day, “But it’s good for business,” and there’s the quandary; and about the differences between math metal and Dungeons and Dragons metal, which are both genres of nerd metal—who knew? What a think to imagine yourself as a central character, and then to receive these glimpses into worlds, cultures, stories, in which you do not remotely factor.

It was not a bad afternoon. It was just strange to think about how much of the world goes on without me, how much of the world manages not even to ride its bike past my house screaming obscenities. My angst was existential, but then it usually is. I’d posted a photo on Instagram of my tea cup, which was a chipped cup. And then someone posted a comment: “Oh, Kerry, I don’t even want to tell you what that chip means.” I didn’t know this person. I thought, “If you don’t want to tell me, then why even let me know the the chip has meaning?” I’d just assumed it was part of the wall-falling-off-the-wall aesthetic of the place. I’m pretty  accustomed to crockery chips—have you looked in my cupboards?  But it turns out that I had been had.

Because I am totally normal, I went for the logical conclusion regarding what that chip means. Naturally, it’s the mug they all ejaculate in. Obviously. All coffee shops keep such a mug in reserve, maybe having a ceremonial communal wank at closing time on Fridays. And everybody knows about this except me, and I’m such an idiot that I unwittingly took a photograph as evidence and posted it on Instagram.

I couldn’t think of any other possibility, and did what I always do it times of distress, which is, I called my husband. I said, “I think I drank from the jizz cup.” He said, “The jizz cup? What’s a jizz cup?” I said, “It’s the cup they keep at hipster coffee shops and all ejaculate into, and then they serve people with ugly winter coats their tea in it.” He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “I don’t know, but this person on Instagram doesn’t even want to tell me what that chip means, and what else could it mean?” He said, “I don’t know, but probably not the jizz cup.” He said, “There’s no such thing as the jizz cup.” And I said, “How do you know? As Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell once reported the Queen informed him, ‘There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge.’

We googled it. I am still not sure what the chipped cup means, to be honest, and maybe I am only underlining my humiliation, but the most we were able to discern was that chipped mugs are extremely unhygienic. Chips can harbour all kind of bacteria that cause disease…but honestly, who cares? It’s the reason I was born with an immune system. And if I seem particularly blasé about it, it’s only because it’s better than the jizz cup.

4 thoughts on “What that chip means”

  1. melanie says:

    I’m kind of dying over here about the jizz cup. Just to let you know, I worked in a coffee shop for years and there was never, ever, a communal wank. I have no idea what the chip means other than maybe the person was trying to sound smart and hip which leaves the rest of us cloistered introverts confused, over thinking things, and less likely to leave the house.

    1. Kerry says:

      You have brought me comfort. Thank you. xo

  2. Kathy says:

    A communal wank… Baaahahaha. That’s prob the same place “they say” the kitchen staff are horking in your new bowl of soup cause you sent the first one back cause it was cold. But great story…I pictured the whole thing… Employees standing in line dropping they’re black slacks… One after the other… Do you suppose they washed their hands afterwards. Hmmm was this before their shift started do you suppose… Or after???

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