For various reasons certain people should never be allowed to go on leave. They may feel better for the break, but they leave behind chaos and misery. Take the coffee lounge here at the retirement home for example. There is a long coffee and sandwich counter at one end where one goes to order a cuppa or something light to stave off hunger pangs, which are a common affliction among us seniors. The lady behind the counter is Ettie who is fast and accurate when it comes to serving up drinks and snacks. She is everyone’s friend, knows everyone by name and after a week of your custom, knows exactly how you like your coffee.
Well, last week was Ettie’s annual holiday. Early on Monday I went down for my morning wake-up cup and… no Ettie. I hung around, hoping she would show for the mid-morning cup. No such luck. By noon I had developed a small twitch at the side of my mouth and I finally resorted to going back to my own apartment and preparing myself a cup of some ghastly tasting mixture which bore no resemblance to Etty’s coffee. I will not describe the rest of the week but there was a circle of residents walking endlessly and aimlessly around the coffee bar which testified to growing withdrawal symptoms and shot nerves of the decaffeinated seniors.
Yesterday, all was forgiven. Ettie arrived wearing an innocent smile, unaware of the chaos her absence had caused and by 8:30 everyone had their favorite cup in front of them. Now at noon on Tuesday, all Ettie Coffee Addicts are back to normal and not one of us short memory challenged seniors remembers that last week actually happened.