Love & Coffee In The Time Of Covid

From six feet away I knew she was the one,
My heart spun after the amber in her eyes locked with mine,
An invisible dart pierced my left side as my body didn’t know where to start,
The cotton protecting her face donned dotted designs,
I couldn’t see her lips but I was sure they were divine,
Underneath my bandana I smiled the whites of my teeth,
But she didn’t notice,
She responded with the bouncing of her feet,
Our parading bodies drew closer,
Too close for comfort,
I wanted to wave, to blink, to grunt, to do anything for her to think,
That maybe I could be her man,
A guy with hand sanitizer, toilet paper, stimulus cash, and clean hands,
But in a flash the mood shifted as she hurried across the street,
My heart fell to pieces as her shoes clamored echoes of defeat,
Not even a glance in my direction as our futures became distant,
In sadness I turned around, already reminiscent,
Of the sparkle in her eyes,
The flow of her long hair,
The…hair on her legs?
The…uh..strong looking calves?
I quickly faced forward – my stride as fast as the wind,
Because my poor vision caught eyes not with a her but a him,
Oh shit I said to myself, I’d been had,
No more going outside without a cup of coffee beforehand.

California, Ideas, Life, Murcia, Random Thoughts, Sausalito, Teaching, Travel, United States

The Last Bag of Goldfish Crackers

When I was in first grade, my school’s Peruvian Spanish teacher Señora Buckley would sometimes reward us with Goldfish crackers whenever we did something correctly.

Did you count to six? Here are six Goldfish. Were you able to say “dog” in Spanish? Here’s one Goldfish…

Being only six years old, Spanish wasn’t necessarily a subject that I enjoyed. Power Rangers, GI Joes, and Ninja Turtles already took priority in my life so anything else would need to be crayoned into my seemingly occupied elementary school schedule.

I’m not sure if treat training was the best way of helping us learn, but it was a great way to introduce a delicious and baked snack into my diet.

Blinking my eyes, all of a sudden I’m not a six year old anymore. The memories of clamors of young learners trying to sputter Spanish have been replaced with the rhythm of some nearly forgotten 90’s pop song being softly circulated through aisle six of a Safeway grocery store.

Blinking again, I’m almost thirty-one years old and for some reason the plastic handle of a shopping basket is firmly gripped within the web of my right hand’s fingers.

The last blink induced a deep inhale, as I needed to recollect myself and bring my mind back to the present.

Standing in aisle six, I reach my free hand outward and grab a bag of Parmesan cheese flavored Goldfish crackers. Señora Buckley flashes in my consciousness as I hold a bag of savory vices and toss it in the basket. I want to take more, but one bag is all I can muster without feeling like a complete lush.

Part of the reason why I’m buying this bag is to feed my tastebuds. Another reason why I’m here is to say goodbye. I’ve come to Safeway to pay respects and bid farewell to some foods that I love, such as, well, Goldfish crackers, Siracha hot sauce, Tortilla Factory brand tortillas, and a handful of other items.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be leaving California and returning to Murcia, Spain to work as an English teacher for seven months. This will be my third school year in this part of the world, and it’s hard to believe that it’s happening yet again. I’m excited to be coming back to the place that feels like a second home, but the foods listed above won’t be available in Murcia. This is totally ok, as Spain has some great culinary staples that aren’t available in California either. It’s a fair trade, but saying bye to Goldfish is perhaps the toughest pill to swallow.

With my last bag of Goldfish safely guarded by the shopping basket, I feel grateful to be given another opportunity to work in Murcia. There are a lot of wonderful people who I can’t wait to see upon arrival into Spain, but there are a lot folks in California/Missoula/Bend who made this summer back home truly memorable. Between weddings, catching up with family, reconnecting with friends, and sharing some awesome memories, (and passing subtest one of the CSET), this summer was maybe the best I’ve ever had. There are a lot of people who I would like to thank for making this summer great and also for making this return to Spain possible, but making you read the full list would make you late for something more important.

I don’t know what will happen once I get back to Murcia, nor do I know if this is the best thing that I should be doing with my life. The only thing I know is that being in Murcia, like the bag of Goldfish that I’m about to barbarically tear open, is something that makes me feel happy.  This doesn’t mean that California or living in the US is something that makes me unhappy, I feel fortunate to say that I’m really happy there too. My heart likes being in different places, and right now it’s beating with a sound that says I need to be back in Spain. Maybe I should see a doctor about that…

Either way, I’m excited to see what happens.

I’ve been standing in front of the crackers for way too long now, and that combined with the fact that I haven’t brushed my teeth yet today is putting some protective Marin moms, shopping carts a safe distance away, on red alert.

It’s time to not say goodbye. It’s time to say “see you next summer.”

Friends and family in California and the United States, I love you a lot. Stay safe, wash your face before bed, and see you soon 🙂

Life, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Next Five Minutes

The next five minutes might be the only time in our lives when you and I ever share a single thing in common.

You’ve stumbled on this blog and I decided to take time to write a little bit of nonsense into it.

The next five minutes will go by quickly, and you will hardly know that they ever passed by. This happens to me a regular basis. Thinking that this will only take five minutes can happen twelve times in an hour and depending on your sleep schedule nearly three hundred times in a single day.

Where do all of those five minutes ago?

Sometimes we use them to have a quick meal, to go for a jog, to hide from our boss, to read the news, to listen to a song, or in many cases to think about what happened five minutes ago.

Looking back on thirty years of life, I know that I have wasted many five minutes. Perhaps I was too concerned about something that didn’t really matter or maybe I was too busy staring at birds on trees.

Five minutes really aren’t anything, but in some cases they can be everything that truly matters.

In the past five minutes, somewhere in the world, a person just kissed for the first time. Someone has gotten a promotion, been accepted to a university, dumped by their girlfriend, and finally told the guy next to her how much they care about them.

Five minutes ago a baby just saw light for the first time and in a hospital a terminally ill patient doesn’t know if he’ll experience a minute in this world ever again.

When I get old it might only take five minutes to reflect on what the hell this life was all about.

I don’t want to spend any of my five minutes regretting moments where I didn’t do what made me happy, or didn’t have the courage to do something I thought was right.

Five minutes are precious, and even though the past five minutes will never come back to us, I am thankful that they happened, and more importantly grateful that there are another five minutes of enjoying waiting around the corner.

I’m happy we got to share these past five minutes together, whatever you decide to do after this is purely up to you.

Go fly a kite, write a letter, or say something that rhymes just for the better. Whatever it is, live it the way you want to live it.

Enjoy the next five minutes, after sitting through this blog post you definitely have earned them. 😉

Thank you for reading, maybe the next post is coming in five minutes!


Welcome to my blog!

Why hello there, I didn’t see you come in! Make yourself at home and feel free to anything in the fridge…

My name is Danny Catena and welcome to So There I Was. This site is a personal directory of sporadic randomness that evolved from my former blog which was started back in 2012, originally with Blogspot.

Whether you are a friend, family member, or simply a person who has just come upon this page by coincidence, thank you for reading. I’ll do my best to not bore you with random thoughts like about a bowl of pasta I just ate (It was delicious). I don’t know what will be written after this post or the overall direction for this website, but that’s half the fun of it. Let’s see what happens!

Have a nice day/evening/afternoon/life. You look great, keep it up!