Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/8/2008 (4810 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
We do not wish to appear overly paranoid, but it has become obvious to us that we are not alone.
Do not get us wrong: We are not trying to suggest we are receiving telepathic messages from alien beings from another universe. That hasn't been a problem since we started wearing our tin foil hat.
No, what we are trying to suggest is that we are at our local Tim Hortons outlet at an ungodly hour in the morning trying to get a cup of coffee and, after doing a quick head count, have determined that, at a bare minimum, 97 per cent of the city's population is standing in line with us.
You would think someone had just announced on the radio they are going to stop selling coffee FOREVER and if you want to get one last cup you have to drop whatever you are doing and race to your nearest Tims.
We thought briefly about going through the drive-thru window, but rejected this notion because, frankly, we felt it would be much quicker to go inside and stand in line.
Ha ha ha! We are an idiot! If you were to photograph this line from outer space it would look like the Great Wall of China, except much longer. Also, this line is not moving as quickly as the Great Wall of China. You know what it's like when you are at the airport waiting and waiting and waiting for your luggage as it meanders s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y along the baggage carousel? Well, this line is much slower.
Still, we are trying our best to observe the proper etiquette for standing in line at a Tims: we are staring at our feet, have a glazed look in our eyes, and a small chain of drool dangling from the corner of our mouths.
We are also quietly muttering to ourselves in an incoherent manner. If you were a Hollywood casting agent and needed someone to play "Angry Street Person" in a movie, you would love this line.
But we have a legitimate reason for being here -- we need coffee. I do not mean we want coffee or that we enjoy coffee; I mean we have a serious medical need to put coffee in our bodies so that we can begin our day as normal, rational members of a civilized society.
In our case, without first getting a cup of coffee (sensitive readers may wish to skip this paragraph because it contains explicit medical information) we could never go to the bathroom in a million years, not even if heavily armed terrorists were pointing loaded weapons at our heads.
So, we are serious about getting to the front of this line. Eventually, after about 30 minutes (roughly four hours of Standing In Line Time) we are almost there. There is only one woman in front of us.
And now she has walked over to the counter and is placing her order. No, wait, something is wrong! SHE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS!!! Gak! She has been standing in line for THIRTY MINUTES with the rest of us, staring at her shoes, drooling, babbling, but she is NOT READY TO ORDER!
"Hmmmm," she is saying to the frazzled clerk behind the counter. "Let me see... those apple fritters sure look good... but so do the chocolate dips... Hmmmm."
This begins to drag on -- "Hmmmm, how many calories in that low-fat cranberry muffin? No, wait..." -- and the rest of the line, its caffeine level now dangerously low, is growing restive.
This is a clear violation of the unwritten "get your (bad word) coffee and get out" policy, but the woman at the counter doesn't know, or worse, doesn't care.
"Maybe I should just have an old-fashioned plain doughnut," she is saying now as we look on in slack-jawed horror. Something has to be done before the situation gets ugly. With no thought for personal safety (and no longer referring to ourselves as "we"), I step forward and put myself in harm's way.
"You should have a cruller!" I boldly declare.
The woman gives me a puzzled look. "A cruller?" she asks.
"Yes, they are very good," I insist.
She turns, frowns at the clerk, and asks: "Well, are the crullers good?"
"Yes!" the clerk blurts, vigorously nodding her head in agreement, "they are very popular. Try one."
And, get ready to be amazed -- the indecisive woman buys a cruller! And a small coffee with two creams and enough sugar to put a five-year-old child into a coma. And then it's my turn.
I order promptly and walk out of the store, basking in adoring looks of gratitude from those left behind.
Seconds later, I'm in my car, driving to work, happy and carefree -- until I reach a railway crossing and get stuck behind a train longer than a damp Sunday in Moose Jaw.
But I can deal with this. I laugh at danger. I am a man of action. I am a hero. I have coffee.
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.