Saturday, July 09, 2011

That New Street Drug, Antioxidants

So this is the scene: me, walking through an upper-class neighborhood with a Venti Starbucks iced green tea in hand. If the L.A.-ishness of the preceding sentence seems a bit much, don’t worry. It’s not that kind of story.

So I’m moseying along the sidewalk, exuding good citizenship in my every action, when I notice I cop walking cresting the hill and walking toward me. I get anxious. Even though there’s literally no way I’ve broken any law today, cops make me nervous in the same way I get when I notice a bee in the car. Eventually, we’re within reaching distance of each other. “Excuse me, sir,” says the cop on the easiest beat in the world. “What’s in the cup?”

I stop, and for a second I’m sure the cop cannot be speaking to me. I even point at myself, although no one else is using the sidewalk and he literally couldn’t be speaking to anyone but me. “This is… green tea?” I answer. It is green tea. I know this. But I respond in with an interrogative because I’m utterly baffled by why a police officer would care. His reply: “Excuse me?” I replay the exchange so far in my head. Could I have possibly answered “meth juice” and forgotten? Wait — am I too methed out to know? “It’s green tea. From Starbucks,” I answer. I can see myself in his sunglasses in a very film school sort of shot. He’s not particularly expressive.

“What’s in it?” he asks. Again, I’m at a loss. I mean, it’s green fucking tea — tea that is green. What the hell else is in it? And then I give what most cops would probably consider a smart-mouthed punk response: “Antioxidants.” I don’t know why I say this, but it’s true — aside from the ice cubes, I do know this Venti green tea has antioxidants in it. His reply, again: “Excuse me?” I’m not sure if he actually wants me to answer this, but I can’t because I don’t have a layman-friendly synonym for antioxidants. In fact, I don’t know what antioxidants are, aside from allegedly health-promoting, cancer-attacking particles. I wish now that I had looked into this before now — and, you know, before I began consuming them like crazy in a possibly misguided attempt to evade death. What if we find out in a year that antioxidants are actually poison?

It’s at this point — my antioxidant identity crisis — that I look down at my beverage. See, when you order iced green tea at Starbucks, the barista pours the already-brewed mix over ice and then shakes it. This action has given the tea a foamy head not unlike a beer that some crazy person might pour into a Starbucks cup and tote along on his walk. And the purportedly green tea, as viewed through my see-through plastic cup, actually looks yellow — light beer yellow, in fact. I get it now. “It’s just tea. Iced. And shaken. So the foam. Because it’s shaken. It’s not beer. You can have a look.” I offer it, and he regards it like it’s a urine sample, which foamy green tea also kind of looks like, I realize.

Did I mention he’s not especially expressive? After an inspection of my beverage — or, for all I know, a power nap, since I can’t see his eyes — he begins walking again. “You recycle that when you’re done,” he tell me. And then he walked past me, got into his parked car and drove away.

And you know what? I did recycle it.

But not because he told me to.


  1. That was all sorts of entertaining. I'm baffled ... but entertained.

  2. Funny... I get the feeling of being suspicious because you indulge or appreciate something that the world at large is either to dim to be aware of or think is an overblown myth.

    And yes, yes you did. You DID recycle because the officer told you to... power of suggestion works a lot like that!

  3. Megan: Me too.

    Mr. Mark 243: Huh?

  4. Funny story You're a great writer