LII.

I was thinking about this, the reason why I started drinking cream in my coffee instead of milk, or lowfat milk. In college, I went to Berkeley for a day, I don’t remember why, probably for a folk concert, but I got there much earlier than necessary and had an afternoon to kill, pretty much zero money, and no idea of the town. I found myself in a square sitting cross-legged on a wall watching a drum circle.

A man approached me, older, a little grizzled, a bum of some degree. A little sketchy, a little harmless, definitely friendly. We chatted a bit because I am terrible at not getting into situations like these: I mean, I know I probably should avoid the conversations with strange men, but at the same time, why be rude just because of how someone looks or the fact that they’re talking to me when everybody knows you just don’t talk to people in public like that… I’m better now at shutting people out, ignoring them completely or making a joke and walking away. It’s harder when you’re sitting down and obviously engaged with something going on in front of you. Back then, I was very innocent and easily drawn-in.

Anyway, the man offered me tea. Again, one part of my brain said: do not drink something offered by a strange man. But I was right there in a crowded square surrounded by people, with no plans to disappear down any back alleys with the guy. He asked what I wanted in my tea, and I said milk. He told me to take cream, and said something about making life a little richer and stronger. And the tea was better with cream… it always is.

Later, he said flattering things about my feet and asked if we could go somewhere quieter where he could suck my toes. I declined.

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